Why Not Compost?

We live in a world where we are not only disconnected from our food, but also disconnected from our waste. If there wasn’t widespread coprophobia, or fear of poop, this post would be about how our solid waste is more valuable than gold. But for now, I’ll stick to compost.

  • In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions.
  • In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.

The amount of organic waste, or food we throw away, is astounding – especially in the face of world hunger and global warming. Not only is this food not being consumed, but it is contributing to global warming through the chemical processes which release methane that occur in landfills with the presence of organic waste. In order to solve this problem, many environmental and economic policies must change along with a drastic change in our habits. But to demand these structural changes, we must begin with changing the way we live on individual levels.

Some personal actions you can take to reduce food waste include:

-Rethink your grocery list to avoid overbuying and letting food go rotten

-Plan your meals, so you know exactly what you will eat and when

-Request smaller portions when not cooking for yourself

-Make good use of leftovers

Now even if you take all of these steps, there will be the unavoidable food scraps such as the ends of carrots, egg shells, orange peels, etc. We might still waste some food because we didn’t plan ahead, or those tomatoes were forgotten in the bottom drawer of the fridge. But it’s ok…

Because you can COMPOST it all!

The benefits of composting are abundant. For one, you are diverting waste from the landfill. Your trashcan will not smell as bad because most of the food waste will be in the compost pile. You are returning the nutrients you took from the earth back to the soil. You are converting waste into a useful product. You are bridging the gap between you and your waste, potentially leading to greater environmental consciousness.

So is there really any reason not to compost?

You may think it is difficult if you live in an apartment and don’t have access to space to make a compost pile. But we live in a great city with creative companies, like the EastSideCompostPedallers, who “do the dirty work so you don’t have to.” These guys will give you a bucket and pick up your food scraps, all on bikes! Or you can try any of these indoor composting methods. You can also take your food scraps to be composted at your local community garden! For some of you, this will be Concho Community Garden. If you email us at gardening@utenvironment.org, we will give you a free bucket for your food scraps! If you have the time and space to start your own outdoor compost pile, here is a helpful infographic:composting-final

So, why not compost?

-By Mijal Grosman, Assistant Coordinator of Concho Community Garden

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