Organic waste going to landfills is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. When organic material decomposes anaerobically, it releases methane gas, which is 25 times more potent than CO2. Composting avoids this by breaking down waste aerobically, with oxygen. According to an EPA study, 56% of non-industrial food waste in the USA went to landfills while just 4% was composted. This means that at least 30.6 million tons of food waste per year is becoming greenhouse gases instead of being converted back into usable organic material for farming, landscaping, and growing.
Commercial composters play a crucial role in keeping leftover organic materials from becoming greenhouse gases in landfills. They turn waste into something environmentally beneficial. Even if individuals or families don’t have space or time to compost, municipal composting solutions provide a food waste solution through ease of access to facilities making “black gold” for our planet.
The resulting humus is able to rehabilitate depleted soil, neutralize its pH levels, and replenish it with carbon nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. It also creates a solid soil surface to prevent soil erosion. This means improved workability of tricky soil types, which then also means it becomes especially useful to reforestation and environmental restoration.
Humus can also regulate soil temperature, which extends the growing season, and increases moisture retention, so you save money, time, and water. When we look at this through a wider agricultural lens, it promotes higher farm crop yields. Industrial composting provides soil that is a natural pesticide, natural fertilizer, and even helps clean up toxic spills in the environment through something called bioremediation.
Currently, approximately 8.5% of America’s biowaste is composted thanks to commercial composters. Some cities, like Seattle, now even mandate composting. However, this is still the minority; most cities offer no composting service. As of 2015, municipal composting programs served a mere 4 million U.S. households, and other countries around the world continue to develop their composting programs. There is a lot of room for growth when it comes to proliferation of the municipal composting business.