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Students for Climate Action: Reduce More Than Half Your Waste by Composting

2009 June 16

In 2007, 245.1 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in the United States. Of that waste, organic materials—yard trimmings, food scraps, and paper products—made up more than two-thirds of our solid waste stream. Even though organic waste makes up most of our waste stream, it is something that we can reduce. Composting can turn our organic wastes into valuable compost which can be used for landscaping and gardening purposes. By composting we can also reduce methane, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the heating potential of carbon dioxide which is largely produced from the organic wastes in our landfills.

There are many types of composting options to choose from. At the end of the composting process you will end up with a great, free product for greening lawns and producing strong, healthy garden plants.

So here’s how you can start. Look at your options. Some include vermicomposting, compost bins, or installing a composter in the sink like a garbage disposal. Discuss with your caregiver or principal which option works easiest and best for your home or school. Then work on making successful compost by watching what you put into the composter. EPA’s web site has great information for creating a compost pile right in your own backyard.

So take action against producing so much waste and reduce green house gas emissions. By composting you can eliminate the threats to climate change, water quality and pollution by transforming your waste into a product that will benefit your lawn and garden. Talk to your friends and family about how they can start a composting project at home. You can also become a climate ambassador by starting a composting program at your school. You will find that it can be fun, especially if you like to garden! Be sure to tell us your composting plans. Let us know which option works best for you, how much waste you will be reducing and what you plan to do with your compost.

About the Author: Michelle Gugger graduated from Rutgers University in 2008. She is currently spending a year of service at EPA’s Region 3 Office in Philadelphia, PA as an AmeriCorps VISTA

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Johnny R. permalink
    June 17, 2009

    Even if everyone in the World composted all their organic waste, the growing population produces more every year. Thus, only by peacefully reducing the human population can composting and recycling have any decisive effect.

  2. Daniel S. permalink
    June 18, 2009

    Between recycling and composting we rarely have more than a small grocery store plastic bag for trash every week. I could probably do even better if we recycled all of the little bits of paper, I’ll keep trying. One added benefit to composting is that we never have any smelly wet garbage so if we miss a week of collection it’s not a problem, and contrary to what some may think the compost pile never smells bad, just don’t put animal matter in it. Compost away.

  3. Michelle permalink
    June 19, 2009

    Yes, organic wastes can make up more than three quarters of our waste at home. By composting your organic waste we reduce so much of our waste and help the environment a lot.

  4. Mornay permalink
    August 29, 2009

    If we take global warming in concideration, every little bit that we can do to help prevent it,is good.After all it is us who have a finger in the pie with global warming.

    Start composting,you do not need to have an eyesore compost pile in your garden,there are many recycled composters on the market for you.Think of our future.

    It is better being bad at doing something,than being good at doing nothing. Compost away!

  5. BeWaterWise Rep permalink
    October 16, 2009

    Composting is a great way to save our planet. Green waste can be used for composting. It helps to maintain the garden as it reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and keeps the pests away. Also plan for a water-wise garden.

  6. Donald Burnett permalink
    March 17, 2010

    How early do you start your composter in Pa.

  7. Composting Toilet permalink
    September 4, 2010

    Composting waste is definitely a great way to go, We recently published a review on a composting toilet for your home. This process should be implemented in many parts of the World.

  8. July 4, 2012

    Vennar Organic Branches are in Chennai, Bangalore. We will arrange to take up the operation and will interact with the residents for source segregation and the segregated waste will be transferred to OWC room by the housekeeping staff.

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