General

Keeping Organic Waste Out of Landfills

20%-30% of the waste that ends up in landfills should have been composted. To many people, this fact doesn’t sound too detrimental because they believe an overused fallacy that organic material just erodes away naturally and works it’s way back into the Earth, just via the landfill. While organic materials do deteriorate much quicker than processed materials like plastics, their place in landfills gives off a potent greenhouse gas called methane. Their improper placement also takes away the opportunity to put the organic waste to better use by recycling it.

By composting your food and other organic materials you use around the house, you can create an all-natural soil for your backyard or local farm. Composting benefits the Earth by averting the methane gas exposure that would have been given off if the organic materials were directed to a landfill instead. Composting also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which in itself creates a long chain of benefits. It also aids in the production of healthy bacteria to enrich the soil and help plants grow. Here is a list of materials that can and should be composted:

– Fruits & Vegetables
– Coffee grounds and filters
– Tea bags
– Yard trimmings
– Shredded newspaper
– Cardboard
– Paper
– Hay
– Sawdust
– Grass clippings
– House plants
– Wood chips
– Leaves
– Cotton
– Wool
– Dryer lint
– Hair
– Fur
– Meat and fish bones

An American company called Bio-Fuel Solutions is actually taking the composting idea to the next level. They are collecting organic materials like bread and other food by-products from grocery stores and restaurants, creating a brine, and adding sulfur. Because they are collecting their ingredients from places with high volume trash and it’s unwanted, the collection is being done cheaply. Of course, the entire process has expenses, but the fertilizer they’re creating is spread across crops and can last for up to eight years.

Composting isn’t for everyone due to the added everyday effort and occasional smell it may add to your home or backyard. If you choose not to compost, you can still lessen your contribution to organic materials ending up in landfills. One simple solution is donating food to the less fortunate if it’s still safe for human consumption. If you have food scraps from cooking, you can look into bringing it to a local farm for it to be used for feeding livestock. The farmers will process the scraps to rid them of harmful bacteria, and then feed it to their animals as a perfectly safe way of recycling food.

References

“Composting At Home.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 Mar. 2017. Web. 06 July 2017

How To: Keep Food Waste Out of the Garbage.” Rethink Recycling. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017

“Who We Are.” Biocycle Solutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017.

One Comment

  1. I agree wholeheartedly that not enough organic material is composted, whether in the backyard, or through a green waste recycling program. However, a couple of items on the list need to be clarified.
    Virtually all teabags now contain microplastics; the major companies refuse to say where in the bag. I simply rip the bags open, and tip the leaves into the compost bin, as well as the paper tags. You also have to be careful of the staples.
    Dryer lint: would it contain traces of polyesters from clothing?

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