Composting Organic Waste
July 21, 2022 | #MyCarbonCyclePledge
– By Sarada Sangameswaran, Interpretive Educator
One of the most powerful actions we can each do to reduce our carbon footprint (the amount of carbon we generate through our actions) is to reduce the waste we send to landfills. Wastes in landfills decompose without oxygen, generating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide.
Much of this waste, including food waste and landscaping waste, can be deflected from landfills, and put to productive use. One powerful tool to handle organic waste is to compost it. Composting is the natural process of allowing organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, to break down in the presence of oxygen. This process turns waste into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. This process is a win-win, as it cuts methane emissions while improving the soil health of the garden.
Many organic materials can be composted. Our kitchens alone produce vast mountains of vegetable skins to eggshells, fruit that is past it’s prime and coffee filters are all compostable. In addition, newspaper, cardboard and even paper are eligible for the compost bin. Other items include yard waste, especially fallen leaves and grass clippings. Just be sure to leave out any weed seeds, as these may not be destroyed in a back yard compost bin.
Urban areas have adopted composting as part of their community wide waste collection have deflected a significant amount of waste from landfills. San Francisco, for example, has been diverting more than 80 percent of waste from landfills since 2012. That means more than 90,000 metric tons of carbon emissions are avoided each year—equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 20,000 passenger vehicles.
While having a composting program for our communities is ideal, we can individually compost much of our organic waste in our own backyards. Options can range from simple piles of fallen leaves to create leaf mold, to more elaborate rotating compost bins. There are many that are available commercially to chose from.
Here are some simple tips:
What are you prepared to do to create a habitable world? The solutions are in our hands. Join us on this journey. Take the #MyCarbonCyclePledge.