Composting: It can be a pain, so why should we do it?
By Carel Hedlund and Jane Harrison
Residents will soon have the opportunity to compost their food scraps. While details are sorted out regarding the best, most convenient place(s) for placement of compost collection barrels, it’s important to remember why we should make the effort to compost any food scraps we have.
The primary reason is that composting is a simple action we all can take to mitigate climate change.
By composting, we are preventing our food scraps from being dumped in the landfill. That dumping generates large amounts of greenhouse gases, including methane and carbon dioxide (CO2). Nationally, food waste makes up about 24% of landfill space. These landfills, in turn, release about 17% of total US human-generated methane emissions.
In contrast, well-managed composting, like that done by Veteran Compost, which has been collecting Broadmead Center’s food waste, produces very little methane or nitrous oxide. This compost also helps with holding carbon in the soil.
Broadmead’s kitchen has been composting all its food waste with Veteran Compost since late spring. According to Gina Mathias, VP for Sustainability, from late March through the end of September, Broadmead’s kitchen has diverted 15,680 gallons—or about 30 tons—of food waste. This food waste composting has saved about 26 tons of CO2. That’s the equivalent of saving 2,654 gallons of gasoline or growing 390 tree seedlings for 10 years: pretty impressive.
If all of us keep our personal food scraps out of the landfill by composting them, we can increase this savings of CO2 and methane emissions. Let’s do it!
As Rumi said, “The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty! Try to be more like the ground.”
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