Americans waste a staggering 40% of our food supply, which amounts to roughly 35 million tons every year, and food waste makes up of about 20% of the material in our landfills. Food and organic waste buried in landfills release methane, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Composting is one way to reduce the amount of methane released to the atmosphere Composting is the process in which organic materials such as food waste, yard waste, and compostable containers are decomposed and turned into enriched soil, which can be used as fertilizer. In addition to reducing the release of methane, other significant environmental and economic benefits of composting include:
- Diverting the volume of waste that goes to landfills
- Reducing the costs associated with trash hauling
- Making organic fertilizer, thereby reducing the need for chemical fertilizers
- Encouraging the production of beneficial micro-organisms
Composting can take place in one’s back yard or in a commercial setting. In a home setting, however, only plant-based organic matters — no meat, bone, fat, or compostable containers — should be composted.