Composting is the next evolution of recycling. When you compost, you sort out organic materials (food waste, yard waste, household waste) at home that can be turned into a nutrient rich fertilizer.
The average American person throws away 30 pounds of garbage a week. Of that, at least 20% is organic waste that could be composted.
What’s more, when the organic materials find their way into a landfill and attempt to break down naturally, they cannot. Instead they release methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas approximately 20 times more powerful that carbon dioxide.
By composting and re-directing, that organic material is breaking down naturally and can be applied back onto land, helping enhance soil quality, prevent erosion and increase water retention.
The amount of trash we create here in the US is a growing issue, as we top the world in trash by producing close to 250 million TONS each year. This equates to approximately 4.4 pounds per person, per day. Tackling an issue that enormous seems impossible, but taking organic materials out of your trash is a great place to start.
Food scraps and other organic materials make up the single largest group of items filling up our landfills today. (Source: EPA) Since it is estimated that somewhere around 20-30% of our waste could be composted, composting is a crucial first step in reducing waste & recycling the nutrients from our food scraps.
Most people assume that food in the landfill still biodegrades, when unfortunately that is not the case. In a landfill environment, organic materials are sealed into the ground, depriving them of oxygen & water needed to biodegrade. Thus, materials breakdown anaerobically, releasing methane gas, which is roughly 21 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Redirecting waste from landfills will help save room in landfills & create less methane, while also capturing the nutrients from our food scraps and returning them to the soil through compost application to the land. This creates a circular waste cycle and can help us ensure the protection of our soils and plants in the years to come.