Are cakes biodegradable? (5 sustainable practices of cake baking)
The article will discuss the biodegradability of cake while also shedding light on factors such as:
- Is cake dressing biodegradable?
- How to be more sustainable with cake baking?
- Can you compost cake leftovers?
Are cakes biodegradable?
Cakes are most certainly biodegradable because it is made from natural and organic materials that can easily be degraded by the action of microbes.
Biodegradation may be introduced as the breakdown that is rendered by microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and other decomposers.
However, there are certain prerequisites that must be met before biodegradation can happen. These prerequisites include naturality, organic inside, and being eco-friendly.
All of us must have eaten cake because cakes have become the eminent norm be it a birthday celebration or an anniversary. It has become a trend to have specially-decorated cakes to suit various types of events such as anniversaries or grad parties.
However, have you ever wondered about the cake that I am eating? Is it eco-friendly and biodegradable? Above all, what category does cake belong to?
Cake belongs to the category of food and is made from many ingredients such as eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, and a source of fats like oil or butter.
All these ingredients are natural and completely biodegradable and there is no hazard posed to the environment as such.
Is cake dressing eco-friendly too?
The demands of modern-day society are such that cakes are decorated and dressed in unique and innovative ways to match the grandeur of the function or event.
However, this also compels and fosters an important question which is the eco-friendliness of cake dressing.
When it comes to that, the exact answer varies. If the cake dressing is done from natural, food-related material then cake dressing does no harm to the environment.
However, if cake dressing relies more on non-natural materials such as plastics then cake dressing will cause harm to the environment as plastics are non-biodegradable and sourced from non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.
How to be more sustainable when it comes to cake baking? (5 practices)
Many people believe that baking cake does not relate to the environment at all. However, this is far from the truth.
There is a direct and rather blunt relationship between baking cake and the environment because cakes are baked from materials that are grown at the expense of environmental resources such as water, land, minerals et cetera.
Therefore, it needs to be addressed on how to be more sustainable or rather conservative with the natural resources when it comes to the baking cake so that environmental alleviation is ensured right from the kitchen slab!
- Shifting to green packaging
- Reducing food waste
- Donation or reusing of leftovers
- Sourcing from organic sources rather than inorganic
- Be conservative about the ingredients and raw materials
Let us delve into the details of all these factors:
Shifting to green and sustainable packaging
One of the things you can change drastically is how the food material including cake is packaged or packed. As it turns out, there are two polarities that are seen.
One is the use of biodegradable materials such as cardboard or paper-based packaging. The edge here is that this packaging is green and sustainable and will not contribute to problems such as waste production and consumption of non-renewable resources.
However, the other polarity is the use of biodegradable materials such as plastic. The downside here is that such material will remain in the environment for many years leading to environmental anomalies such as waste production, pollution, and global warming.
Therefore, when it comes to the packaging of food materials such as cakes, you need to prefer natural and biodegradable materials so that the carbon footprint may be reduced as much as possible.
Reducing food waste
Another factor that needs to be considered and deliberated is reducing food waste. This includes the right use and application of food including cakes.
This also includes that the leftover from cakes is used wisely. This includes that leftovers from cake must be donated to needy people who are unable to afford basic luxuries such as cake.
Another factor that is bracketed in the reduction of food waste is that only the required amount of food such as cake is made. For example, if there are less people to eat, it is better to make the appropriate quantity of cake so that there is no food waste.
However, if there is, then you must prefer alternatives such as saving for a second shift or donation.
Preferring organic ingredients
It is also advised when it comes to baking cakes that the cakes must be made from ingredients that are rather organic as compared to inorganic.
When it comes to the environment, organic materials are way better as compared to inorganic because, in the case of organic materials, there will be no use of fertilisers and other chemical materials such as pesticides.
Chemical fertilisers and pesticides are known to cause a lot of harm to the environment because these chemicals leach into the soil wherein they may alter chemistry and biology.
Can you compost cake leftovers?
Let us say for instance that the cake you made got dirty or is not in the condition of being eaten either by you or anyone else. What else can you do other than throwing in the landfill?
One option that remains is the composting of cake leftovers because a cake can act as a good source of organic material which can be used to improve the quality of soil and offer other advantages too such as better yield, better plant growth et cetera. Cake leftovers will act as a source of nitrogen.
Now, the question that remains is how to compost cake. When it comes to that, there are two options that could be explored. One is in composting facilities and the other is at home.
Let us explore ways by which you can compost cake leftovers at home. The steps include:
- Find a suitable location in your home that is distant from your indoors but decently accessible
- You can compost either openly (compost piles) or in a compost bin. Both are fine.
- To initiate the process, make a heap made from compostable material (including cake leftovers)
- Make sure to place the heap in a cool and dry place. Be sure to continuously and regularly mix it.
- Make sure that there is a decent ratio of brown and green matter. The brown matter will be the source of carbon whereas the green matter will be the source of nitrogen. Many suggest making the ratio 4:1.
- It is clear that dog hair will work as a nitrogen source whereas, you will need to add something as a carbon source
- Wait and let external conditions and microbes do the work
- The compost must be ready in 4-8 months
- Once the compost is ready, be sure to utilise it well and improve the soil conditions, produce, and fertility of your backyard or field.
It is concluded that cake is biodegradable because it is made from natural and organic materials that can be ingested by microbes.
The article also discussed the eco-friendliness and biodegradability of cake dressing. Also, ways in which cake baking can be made more eco-friendly were discussed that included reduction of food waste, shifting to green and sustainable packaging, and preference for organic ingredients over inorganic ingredients.
Lastly, the composting of cake leftovers was discussed and various ways by which cake leftovers could be composted were also shed light.
- (July 05, 2022). Bakery Sustainability Guide: Ideas on How To Make Your Bakery Eco-Friendly. Retrieved from: https://greenbusinessbureau.com/business-function/facilities/food-service/bakery-sustainability/
- Calgary. What goes where. Retrieved from: https://www.calgary.ca/waste/what-goes-where/cakes-muffins-pastries.html