Over twenty years ago, we saw a way to reduce our trash by recycling. Then we found out what everything still left in the trash was doing to our health and the planet. So began the idea of zero waste, because recycling alone will not empty our garbage cans.
Today, we are taking another step toward zero waste with composting. About one-quarter of what we put in our garbage is food scraps and other items like paper towels and egg cartons, which can be composted.
In incinerators and landfills, this material is destroyed and we lose the opportunity to make compost, which replaces the need for chemical fertilizers. With U.S. soil eroding at 17 times the rate at which it forms, we need nutrient-rich compost to rejuvenate our exhausted soils and grow healthier food!
In landfills, compostable materials generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that can only be partially captured for energy. Even the most technologically advanced incinerators release pollutants into the atmosphere, and although they can produce some energy, it is only a fraction of the energy that was used to create what was burned.
Recycling and composting are closed loop processes that can reuse that “embodied-energy” again and again.
Composting, instead of wasting, gets us closer to the things we all really want and need—healthy food, abundant resources, clean air and water, safe and reliable products, and healthy families and communities.
Visit Eureka Recycling's new composting website, www.makedirtnotwaste.org, to get information and opportunities about composting at home, to support restaurants, businesses, and events that are composting in the Twin Cities, and to advocate for more composting in our community.