Composting Food Waste is Better for the Environment

published Jan 12, 2016
1 min read


Many people’s compost work consists on composting their food scraps and yard waste as well, partially because they believe it is the right thing to do and partially because smart yard work requires you to take advantage of whatever biomass you can use for composting. The University of Washington performed a study that confirms the statement from an environmental point of view, working on calculating the environmental benefits of using organic materials outside of landfills.

The biggest takeaway for such locations such as Seattle, San Francisco and other locations is that curbside compost pickup is to take advantage of the service. Even if you decide to do a clearance of most of the areas around your home using a clearance company, you would still need to handle food waste and to find a useful alternative to throwing it away if possible.

Food waste tends to create methane gas when buried in landfills, but not when it is composted, which makes it a much better solution for dealing with it. US cities and countries that deal with composting will prevent the decomposition of food scraps into landfills, generating methane in the process. Composting will really help get carbon emissions lowered as the process moves on.


The study, which will appear in Compost Science & Utilization in January 2016, helps analyze new changes to the Environmental Protection Agency model in the US that helps solid waste planning, estimating the greenhouse gas emissions and their reductions on whether the materials are composted, burned or recycled in the process. When it comes to composting, the model works on calculating the methane produced over the course of time inside landfills as the organic materials decay. It also considers the amount of methane captured in collection systems compared to the one released in the atmosphere. Putting the food waste in a compost bin will help reduce the methane emission coming from landfills, so it will be an easy thing to do that would have a really big impact.

In the US alone about 95% of food scraps are still tossed as garbage and end up in landfills. The scenario is better used in yard waste removal, such as grass clippings, branches and leaves with more than half of it being diverted to compost facilities instead of landfills.

The analysis found that the benefits of using composting and yard trimmings are less obvious on paper due to the speed of decomposition depending on season and locations. A good example of that is the yard waste breaking down faster in moist and hot environments, unlike how things would be in a colder and dry environment.

Food scraps also decay and produce methane at about a uniform rate in all the regions out there. The content of food waste is fairly consistent around all locations and seasons, and the same can be said about landfill locations. Composting food scraps and wood material together makes for a great set of conditions since dryer and high carbon trimmings together with soggy food scraps for ideal conditions for composting. Instead of doing waste clearance around the garden or using a clearance company, one can simply make use of the scraps in such a productive manner.