There are many ways we can take a stance and make an impact when it comes to our waste. While I could go on and on all day about the value in recycling, it’s important to do things that we have a bit more direct control over. This is where I believe composting has some major value.
Don’t get me wrong, recycling is important, but there a lot of ways you can do everything right and your perfect recycling still ends up in a landfill. Simple mistakes from others like putting plastic bags in the recycling can result in your precious recyclables getting caught up in the bags. This is where compost shines.
Compost is the perfect opportunity to turn all your precious food scraps and food waste into brown gold. Here in the United States we are producing over 63 million tons of food waste annually according the most recent numbers from the EPA. That amounts to 21.6% of all our waste. Now that’s a lot of trash!
A large majority of our food waste is currently going to landfills. Once in landfills, the bulk of it doesn’t even breakdown. A lot of people fixate on the amount of time it will take things like plastic products to breakdown in the landfill, but the reality is near nothing breaks down because it creates an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) environment. In this environment, important bacteria that breakdown things like food can’t survive.
All of our food waste doesn’t need to be sent to the landfill though. One of the easiest things we all can do is compost. The idea is simple; we collect all our organic materials that can easily decompose into one place. This collection of materials degrades over time until you are left with fertile soil. Then this soil can be reused for gardening and agriculture. We are essentially saving the valuable resources still left in our spoiling foods and reusing them to grow more food in the future.
Now this is obviously an oversimplification, but it gives you a rough idea. A lot of people are turning to backyard composting as a great way to reduce their waste and create soil for their gardens. However, that’s not the only option for a lot of people today. Across the US composting facilities are popping up in a variety of formats. Right here in Reno we are able to use Down To Earth Composting to reduce our waste.
Composting isn’t kept to just food waste either. It also can include things like all your yard clippings or even paper and cardboard. Considering that yard trimmings make up another 12% of our total waste and paper makes up another 23% waste annually, we are left with a lot of compostable material. In fact, between food waste, yard waste, and paper, we are able to compost close to 57% of our total waste! Can you imagine if we all were able to cut our waste production in half by composting ? That would be huge!
Don’t take my word for it and do some research of your own. See if you are able to find a composting facility near you. They will have much more information about what exactly you can keep out of landfills by composting.