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

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