Food for thought: Americans send more than 36 million tons of food waste to landfills each year, where it decays and releases methane – a potent global warming gas. But we can all be part of the solution by composting our food scraps instead.


Composting is more climate-friendly because it does not generate methane.

There are two ways to compost – a traditional backyard compost pile, or a commercial facility. Both methods have the same basic requirements – the right mix of greens and browns, or food scraps and yard waste. And oxygen – that’s added by either manually turning the pile, or aerating it with fans. When the conditions are just right, microbes break everything down.

Greg Gelewski
Greg Gelewski

Greg Gelewski, a manager with OCRRA, a solid waste management and recycling facility in New York, says commercial composting offers some advantages.

GELEWSKI: “At home you can’t do fats, oils, grease, meats because you don’t get to those temperatures and don’t have enough carbon and yard waste mix to really absorb that moisture and then break those products down.”

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But whether you compost at home or use a commercial service, it’s a great way to reduce your climate impact.

Reporting credit: Jason Jackson/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Landfill photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency
New York state’s largest food scrap compost pile is in Onondaga County (video)
Waste Less Living quiz
Start composting in your backyard
Why Composting can help mitigate climate change

Bridgett Ennis is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media, an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. ChavoBart Digital Media contributes original reporting, audio...