Keep Food Waste Out of the Garbage

Going green — By Stephanie on September 12, 2010 at 6:23 am
Composting 5 2010 300x236 Keep Food Waste Out of the Garbage

Don't throw food waste away!

When it comes to living green and having a positive impact on the environment, perhaps one of the most important things we can do is to keep food waste out of the garbage.

Currently in Oregon, organic items make up 15-25% of all garbage collected and deposited in the landfills (about 477,000 tons each year!)  And its not just the space that these otherwise “recyclable” materials take up that causes problems.

When organic matter decomposes in landfills, methane – a significant greenhouse gas – is emitted.  Not only that, but the liquid from organic materials combines with chemicals and additional water in a landfill (from precipitation) creating leachate, a toxic byproduct.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a new campaign to keep food waste out of the garbage.  Instead of trashing your coffee grounds and pizza crusts, put them to beneficial use.  We’re talking compost!

Paul Yamamoto, regional manager for compost facilities in California and Oregon for Recology, recently discussed the benefits of taking organic waste and creating compost:

“Its great because it’s true recycling. You’re taking that material and returning it to the soil.  Its a great sustainable cycle.”

Food waste can be mixed with other organic products, like grass clippings.  Using a process called negative-forced aeration, odors from composting facilities are reduced, while decomposition is speeded up.  After just a few months, usable compost is created which can be used for landscaping or sold to organic farmers and vineyards.

compost Keep Food Waste Out of the Garbage

From food waste to compost in a few short months

Here in Oregon, some garbage collecting services are now offering curb-side pick up of compostable organics which includes yard debris, as well as food waste.  Doing so, allows for less frequent pick-up of other waste, and saves money and the environment all around.

All the work separating out items that can be reused and recycled should be good practice for us anyway – word is that within 10-20 years, renewable energy could be created from food waste with new technology.

Just imagine using your leftovers to power your home!  That will help you keep food waste out of the garbage…

Tags: , , , ,

1 Comment

    Leave a Comment