Ready for an easy way to do impactful good in the world? Today, we’re taking a look at your food—more specifically, how food waste can be a limitless resource! And you don’t need a big backyard or to live in the countryside to get started. Services like this one are popping up everywhere to help us keep dangerous food waste out of our landfills!
Ingenious pick-up services are stepping up and making “being greener” easier and easier for us all, even in mega-cities like New York and Los Angeles!
Let’s take a look at how these sorts of systems work, the benefits you get, and the overall impact on the planet!
Last summer, June 2020, the state of Vermont made food scraps in trash headed to the landfill illegal. There was a multitude of reasons for this, but the main one was that it takes almost 20 years for food to break down in a landfill, producing methane—a gas 80 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide—as it does.
Why can’t food just decompose naturally in a landfill?
Our landfills are structures that lack oxygen, which is the perfect environment for methane-producing microbes, but not the perfect conditions for organic materials to break down as they should. In contrast, composting our food scraps doesn’t produce methane. With the presence of oxygen in our compost piles, those microbes can’t survive! 1 This means that our food and yard waste can break down as it’s meant to, giving us beautiful, nutrient-rich soil in just a matter of months that we can use to feed our own new crops of food.
Food scraps and other organic materials like leaves and sticks from the yard make up about 30% of a typical Vermont family’s waste. For restaurants and cafeterias in the state, food scraps can account for half of their waste! 2
Vermont is a small state, but across the United States it’s estimated that more food reached landfills and combustion facilities than any other single material in our everyday trash. 3
Food wastage from producers, suppliers, and consumers accounts for 6% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—that’s about 3x of what aviation produces! 4
When it comes to composting, a lot of people don’t have the green space or the time and energy to do it themselves. So now, folks in cities all over the country are making it easier than ever to compost and get all the benefits—by picking it up for you!
Here’s one of these services, Compostable LA, demonstrating their extremely simple yet effective system to help us all do this one easy thing.
There are tons of people picking up buckets of compost all over the country. To find one of these services near you, visit Litterless.com! Not one in your area? Well, maybe it’s time to get one started! (If you’re in LA, definitely check out Compostable LA for all your compost pick up needs!)
If you’re interested in building a compost pile in your own backyard, this resource will help.
Small thing, big impact
We don’t have to perform some huge act to make a positive impact in the world. Simply separating your food scraps from your trash bin can make a big difference! And to have people come by and pick it up for you for a cost less than a Netflix subscription—that’s a win-win for you and for our planet!
For more small life-hacks that truly add up to make a difference on a personal and environmental level, check out these articles next!
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As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities!
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- “Composting to Avoid Methane Production | Agriculture and Food.” Wa.gov.au, 2018, www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-change/composting-avoid-methane-production#:~:text=Decomposing%20organic%20material%20in%20anaerobic,releases%20methane%20into%20the%20atmosphere.&text=However%2C%20the%20aerobic%20process%20of,in%20the%20presence%20of%20oxygen. Accessed 13 May 2021. ↩
- “Food Scraps | Department of Environmental Conservation.” Vermont.gov, 2020, dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/solid/materials-mgmt/organic-materials. Accessed 13 May 2021. ↩
- US EPA,OLEM. “Sustainable Management of Food Basics | US EPA.” US EPA, 11 Aug. 2015, www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/sustainable-management-food-basics. Accessed 13 May 2021. ↩
- “Food Waste Is Responsible for 6% of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Our World in Data, 2020, ourworldindata.org/food-waste-emissions#:~:text=The%20other%209%25%20comes%20from,total%20global%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions. Accessed 13 May 2021. ↩
- Goodful. “This Food Waste Pick up Service Should Be Everywhere.” YouTube, 20 Apr. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwMV48MGobM. Accessed 13 May 2021. ↩