Composting Comes to Powell

In this Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 photo, visitors watch as a truck dumps compost materials inside a receiving area at the Cedar Grove processing facility in Everett, Wash. The city of Seattle began requiring residents in 2009 to recycle their food scraps along with weekly yard waste pickup and the results have been impressive: in 2010, the city’s contractor kept 90,000 tons of Seattleites’ banana peels, chicken bones and weeds out of landfills and converted that waste into rich compost prized in gardens. But the company processing that green waste has come under fire by citizens and others who complain of a pungent stench emanating from its two facilities located outside of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 photo, visitors watch as a truck dumps compost materials inside a receiving area at the Cedar Grove processing facility in Everett, Wash. The city of Seattle began requiring residents in 2009 to recycle their food scraps along with weekly yard waste pickup and the results have been impressive: in 2010, the city’s contractor kept 90,000 tons of Seattleites’ banana peels, chicken bones and weeds out of landfills and converted that waste into rich compost prized in gardens. But the company processing that green waste has come under fire by citizens and others who complain of a pungent stench emanating from its two facilities located outside of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Paige Oatney, Writer

Every year in the world, over 1.3 billion tonnes of food, amounting to a total of $680 billion dollars in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, they state “in industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.” Food waste makes up 22 percent of trash in landfills, or 50 million tons, but what’s even worse is that there is a way to prevent these scraps from piling up. The only problem is that many people don’t know what actions to take even though there is a solution right in front of their eyes.

Composting is a process of taking food scraps and paper products and turning it into decomposed organic materials, or very nutrient rich soil. It saves this nutrient dense waste from staying in landfills since over 95 percent is left to rot and release methane, a greenhouse gas over 72 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. Composting reduces this methane production and cultivates food’s conversion into organic minerals and microorganisms.

Composting is a process that everyone can do, yet so many people decide not to since they simply don’t have the time or the resources in order to do it. Over 72 percent of Americans don’t take the chance to compost, but National Waste & Recycling Association reported that if these families had the opportunity in their community or a more convenient way then 68 percent of them would convert and begin to compost and help out the cause. So why then aren’t more communities hearing the calling to cut back on this extra trash?

Luckily, many communities are taking action. One of the largest movements was taken by San Francisco who implemented the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, a law that requires residents to separate their recyclables, compostables and landfill trash as well as participating in recycling and composting programs. According to U.S. PIRG, they’ve “reduced the amount of trash it sends to landfills by 80 percent and composts 255,500 tons of organic material each year.”

Many other cities around the country are taking action now too, including Powell. With the help from The Compost Exchange, an organization that helps communities all around Columbus begin their journey with composting, they are making it all the more simple to not waste food. Households can sign up on their website (https://www.thecompostexchange.com/curbside-composting) where they will receive a 5-gallon bucket with a plant based compostable liner and a lid to keep out critters or any scent. This bucket will be filled with any food scraps and then placed on a curbside where the bucket will be collected and a new one will be distributed. No need to learn how to compost, just giving your materials to the experts so they can do it for you! Their price for a singular household is $16, but if more households sign up for it and the group becomes larger than five, the price reduces to $8.50. In other words, the more people that join, the less the cost is. 

This program is only the start of what they hope is a nation-wide movement to not only reduce where our waste goes, but to also help our planet. Recycling food scraps not only improves our air and our water, but it cultivates more nutrient dense soil. For more information, check out www.thecompostexchange.com and get started on helping our Earth!