Composting makes so much sense, it’s nuts to think it isn’t done everywhere already. Turns out the food you throw away doesn’t compost on its own in landfills. As it now stands, most food goes to landfills and mummifies or turns into methane, a key greenhouse gas. Remember how we sent out Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1977? Those spacecraft are now past the edges of our galaxy, telling us incredible things like how the Milky Way spins, but meanwhile on Earth we still haven’t addressed the horribly interrupted cycle of organic matter returning to the soil. Yeah, no.
We all know skeptical people who look at composting as though it’s some con to get them to change their lives and act like lemmings. The more we take the long view on it though, isn’t not composting the more lemming-like thing to do? We were also inspired by Burning Man’s magnificent approach to leaving no trace and their fabulous compost system.
When we reflect on why we weren’t doing this a long time ago, the sad answer is it just wasn’t on our radar. The facts of what was happening then were no different, but our thinking was – and woefully so.
In our office discussions, it turned out one of our employees lived in Austin when the city began its Zero Waste Ordinance. Restaurants were required to sort garbage into recyclables, compostables, and landfill-bound trash. Overnight at one restaurant, their 30 bags of daily trash morphed into about 23 bags for composting, 5 bags for recycling and 2 for landfills.
It helps when a city provides supporting infrastructure, but nonetheless there has to be a better way to live than sending perfectly compostable waste to a landfill to (not) rot for all eternity. One of our employees agreed, and is now the proud owner of an at-home composting bin. At the office we started using a bin which is picked up by a company every two weeks and composted on an industrial scale. We can’t get around the carbon footprint of their driving but are preparing a carbon offset in its place.
And one last tip – if you can only bring things to a composting site irregularly, try freezing them in a bag or tupperware to bring all at once, and keep things from getting smelly.
Also, Here’s Some Cool Stuff Worth Reading:
- Here’s an interesting piece about a town in Delaware which sends roughly 35% of its residents’ waste to landfills, and is able to compost just about everything besides the recyclables. *Includes the noteworthy quotes “I’m gonna tell you right now, I threw a whole deer in there once.” and “You’re taking garbage and turning it into money.”
- Ways to compost when you are in an apartment (or office, we won’t discriminate!)
- A remarkable throwback article from the NY Times in 1992, about an archaeology professor who has catalogued 25 tons of garbage. Hint: 40% of landfills is paper which can’t decay because of the same lack of oxygen which keeps food from rotting.
- The EPA’s super handy guide to understanding types of composting.
- This collective works all over the Los Angeles region to make composting easy and accessible for everyone. Their guides are easy to understand and frankly, inspiring!
We’re on this Responsible Impact journey together – join us!
-The MagicLinks Team
Cover photo courtesy Sippakorn Yamkasikorn