By Kathleen Turk, Organics Solutions Associate
In some places in the United States, including San Francisco, Seattle and ‒ as of this month ‒ the state of Vermont, composting food waste is mandatory. Closer to home, in the DMV people make a choice to start composting their food scraps.
If you’re not required to do it, why do people choose to compost? Here are a few good reasons:
One, it’s good for the environment. Food scraps that go into the landfill break down without oxygen, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By contrast, when composted, food scraps turn into a valuable soil amendment that sequesters carbon and helps reduce erosion.
Two, composting reduces the amount of waste from your home that goes to the landfill, which can save money if you pay for trash services at your home. Many customers tell us they’ve seen a dramatic drop in garbage — from 20% to upwards of 50% — after starting composting with us, allowing them to reduce the frequency of trash pickups and to purchase fewer Hefty bags.
Three, it’s a cleaner system. Food scraps like melon rinds, shrimp shells, old meat and banana peels to name a few, can be very aromatic. Without them, your trash can will attract fewer flies and other pests, and the trash won’t smell. That means you won’t have to take out a half-full trash bag because something’s rotting in there. This will further reduce your waste. Our compost bins, with their secure tops, are designed to keep the bugs out.
Four, you get compost back. If you have a vegetable or flower garden, you know that finished compost provides valuable nutrients to your garden. Compost is used by local farms, community gardens and landscapers to improve soil health in our area, which according to Montgomery Soil Conservation District maintains our “vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans.” Compost is much better for the earth than synthetic fertilizers.
With a convenient pick-up service like ours, composting food scraps is also easy to do. With all of these great reasons to get started, it’s no wonder that more and more people in the DMV are starting to compost! Have other reasons that you compost? Please leave them in the comments.