Will it Break Down in a Landfill? Compost and Zero Waste in Boston
This is Matt Messer, Save That Stuff’s Account Manager. I’m a research junkie and I’ve had a question that’s been bothering me. My research and my findings are something I feel you may be interested in.
If compost can break down on its own, why shouldn’t we just send it to a landfill via our trash?
A friend of mine, working for Harvest Power, recently answered this question.
First off, let’s make sure we know the key terms. Aerobic digestion involves a breakdown in the presence of oxygen and anaerobic digestion simply means without oxygen.
When our organic waste goes into landfills (via our trash bins), it sits under piles of trash indefinitely. This effectively creates a vacuum and the organic waste breaks down without oxygen. When food breaks down like this (anaerobically) , it creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23x more environmentally damaging than CO2!
Big picture fact: America throws away more than 30 million tons of food waste per year. That food waste is responsible for 34% of ALL methane emissions in the US.
When your organic waste is hauled by Save That Stuff to one of our partner farms like Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, it is broken down aerobically into compost. This way, the food does not rot and methane is not released.
In a future blog post, I delve into the second reason composting makes you or your business an environmental superstar. As always, this information is new to me and I value your comments. Please let me know if I’ve missed something or misstated and I’ll make the appropriate corrections!
Matt Messer, Account Manager
LEED Green Associate