One way you can significantly impact the effects of food waste is by turning your biodegradable, compostable waste into nutrient-packed compost. According to this publication put out by some smart folks at Purdue, the "ideal" size pile only takes up about 9 square feet of footprint space.
The long and the short of composting is dependent on how much work and time you want to put into your compost, and how fast you want to get finished compost out. For most people looking for a low-maintenance way to feed their gardens, cool composting will probably be the answer. This is a three-moth-minimum project during which the plant materials are slowly broken down.
If you want compost in two weeks, you're going to want to do hot composting, which literally raises the internal temperature of the compost pile by getting extra air in there. These piles have to be turned frequently and require much more checking and regulation. But you also get usable compost really quickly, if you need to pump up your fall beds for peas and root veggies.
Compostable materials break down into two categories: those that add nitrogen and those that add carbon. Depending on whether you're doing hot or cold composting, there will be an ideal mix of the two for that cocktail.
To read up on the rest of the composting process, check out this PDF from Purdue with everything you could ever want to know about composting at home. [pdf-1]
Don't have a yard? Get composting pickup
It doesn't get much easier than Earth Mama Compost with a pickup service that takes your household food waste and turns it into the nutritious soil our urban gardens need. This is also a great solution for those of you living in high rises. Check out how to sign up at earthmamacompost.com.