This year, there's been a lot of talk about the importance of beating plastic pollution so it doesn't end up in our oceans. And it’s about time. But there’s another complex waste stream we interact with every day that deserves our attention: organic waste.
The term organic waste refers to all of our food waste, yard clippings, and un-recyclable paper products like used tissues, paper towels, paper plates, and cardboard scraps. Many of us toss these things without even thinking about it: We wipe the scraps off our plates, trash our spoiled fruit, and throw out mounds of many paper towels used to clean up messes.
Long thought to naturally break down when thrown in the trash, we now know that these organics not only linger in landfills but release greenhouse gases that contaminate the environment as they (very slowly) break down. Composting steers materials away from this wasteful fate and turns them into something valuable: nutrient-rich soil conditioner that can fortify planters, gardens, and farms.
As an individual looking for new ways to offset your carbon footprint, composting is one of the best things you can do for the environment—and you don’t need to have a backyard to do it.