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Tomatoes beginning to decay on a pile of compost


#Compost #Gardening and Agriculture #Sustainability at School and Work


Doug Fogelson

One of the most impactful ways to reduce emissions is to compost food waste. It is estimated that close to 1/3 of all food grown and purchased does not get consumed. Rather it ends up in landfills and becomes methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The good news is food and garden waste can be repurposed to help keep topsoil healthy, create new soil, and eliminate the need for store-bought fertilizers. Composting is a productive way to keep decomposing items out of the landfills and make them useful again in a circular ecology/economy.

Composting is actually easy, and despite what you may have heard, a properly-managed compost heap doesn’t smell bad. You can buy or build a small compost turner to keep everything contained while materials break down. To take it to the next level, you could explore vermicomposting, a process that uses earthworms to break down composting materials quicker. Some items should not be composted, so be sure to check the “Definition” link below for more information.

If you don’t want or need compost for your own soil, you can still put it to good use in your community. Urban composting services provide an airtight bucket to keep unused scraps in, and they retrieve the bucket weekly with curbside or door-to-door service. It’s not always cheap, but an urban composting service shows how much organic waste is coming out of the kitchen and how much emissions are saved by tracking the weight of the buckets. Imagine if all homes were composting, it can really make a difference. Check out the “Action” link below to find a composter in your area.

Schools and businesses can also implement composting and other key zero-waste practices, for the benefit of all. You can take the lead in encouraging your school and/or workplace to adopt composting practices. The first step is to start the conversation, highlighting the environmental benefits of composting and how composting can save money on waste disposal. It’s important to educate others about the process, including debunking myths about unpleasant odors. You can even offer to take the lead by setting up a small-scale composting system or partnering with a local composting service. By demonstrating the value and feasibility of composting, you’ll be inspiring your organization to contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

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