AdkAction’s Compost for Good project is joining environmental and recycling businesses, organizations, community groups and individuals around the globe in celebrating International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) during the first week of May. The theme of this year’s Compost Awareness Week is “Grow, Eat… COMPOST… Repeat.”
Every year, a large amount of food goes to waste during the holiday season. According to the EPA, food waste accounts for about 24 percent of the municipal solid waste across the country. Without mindful planning, this number can only get worse.
Food is an important part of holiday celebrations, so that means we buy more, cook more and, on average, waste more during this time of year. The spoiled produce, expired products, and uneaten leftovers contribute to this waste which, most often, ends up in landfills. Food waste makes landfills the third largest human-related methane emission source in the country. The process of growing, processing and transporting food, and eventual hauling of the food waste also consumes a large amount of energy and generates emissions, polluting the air.
Soon, large-scale producers of food waste in NYS will be required to either compost or donate their food waste to food pantries. Like many other states, my guess is that it’s just a matter of time before all landfilling of food wastes will be banned in New York State. Vermont banned residential food waste from landfills this year.
Is it possible to compost everything that comes out of commercial and residential kitchens? Absolutely. Some of you in the Adirondacks have been doing this successfully for decades. However, incorporating meat and dairy into compost systems can be tricky. Until recently.
Composting Reduces Trash and Provides Healthy Organic Matter for Your Garden
America’s Municipal Solid Waste – By the Numbers
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in this country in 2017 (the most recent information available) was 267.8-million tons. That’s the equivalent of just over 4.5-pounds of waste per person per day. Paper and paperboard products made up the largest percentage of total MSW-generated materials; 25-percent or 67-million tons. Food waste made up the second-largest percentage; 15.2-percent or 40.7-million tons. At 35.2-million tons, or 13.1-percent of total generation, yard waste (grass, leaves, tree and brush trimmings) was the fourth largest material category (just behind plastic at 13.2-percent). Wood accounted for 6.7-percent or 17.94-million tons.
About 139.6-million tons (roughly 52-percent) of America’s MSW ended up in landfills. The largest component of landfilled waste; just under 22-percent or approximately 30.7-million tons; was food. Paper and paperboard made up just over 13-percent, while wood accounted for 8.7-percent and yard waste; 6.2-percent.
If global food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, according to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Currently, community-level composting options are limited in the Adirondack region, but a new project is aimed at changing that.
AdkAction is delighted to announce its newest project: “Adirondack Compost for Good.” This new project builds on the work that has been done by three local residents with a passion for turning waste into “black gold.” The project will promote food waste composting within the Adirondacks, and help communities meet the upcoming 2022 NYS ban on landfilling food wastes of a certain volume throughout New York State. The goal of the project is to help Adirondack communities turn food and other organic “wastes” into a soil amendment, which is the material added to soil to improve its physical or chemical properties. This composting process builds local resilience, heals soils, and helps reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
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