Why You Really, Really Should Start Composting. Like, Now.

I used to throw my food scraps in the garbage, thinking that I was “basically composting.” I mean, those scraps break down into soil eventually, even if they’re in a landfill, right?

Wrong. So, so wrong.

In a landfill, your food turns evil. “Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide” at warming the planet.”

This is a huge problem because Americans throw away a shit ton of food. According to the EPA, food is the “single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills.” We’re talking about approximately 133 billion pounds of food per year. That makes a lot of methane, y’all.

But this article is not about doom or shame. It’s about how easy it is to turn evil into good.

not the author | cool haircut, tho | credit: Anathea Utley, Flickr Creative Commons

Composting is the process of turning organic material like food scraps into rich fertilizer. Goodbye, methane. Hello, black gold. By composting your food scraps, you can slay the devil and replace him with a fertility goddess.

If you’ve got a single DIY bone in your body, you can do it yourself. Here’s a friendly guide from NPR’s “Life Kit.”

On the other hand, if you’re anything like me — the least handy man on the planet — you can look up a curbside compost collection service. Not only will a truck swing by your place on the regular to pick up your buckets, but they’ll also usually accept items you can’t compost at home, like chicken bones and dairy products.

If you’re in Indiana, check out this interactive map to find an “organics collection service” near you. (I use Earth Mama myself. 12/10, would recommend.)

It seems like there are a million things we’re supposed to be doing for the planet, I know. It can be hard to decide what to do when all those things are presented as equally impactful options. But they aren’t equally impactful. Turning off the lights when you leave the room, for example, is nothing compared to giving up your car.

The problem is that most of the super-impactful options are hard because they feel like a sacrifice. See, for instance, giving up driving, flying, and eating meat.

You know what doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, though? Composting. It’s an “easy thing to do that can have a big impact,” according to Sally Brown, a professor of environmental and forest sciences at the University of Washington, because you’re subtracting methane and adding rich soil.

Small effort, big returns. Why not start today?

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