It’s time to celebrate all the benefits of composting during International Compost Awareness Week, May 3-9, 2020. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Soil Loves Compost,” highlighting what it can mean for our gardens, community, and the health of our environment. In addition to these benefits, another important thing to celebrate about compost is the huge impact it can have on food waste diversion.
Food waste comprises roughly 22% of all landfill volume, making it the single largest category of Municipal Solid Waste in America (REFED, 2019). With an average national recycling rate of 5.3%, food waste is also one of the least recycled waste streams (EPA, 2015). It’s obvious that these percentage rates need to be switched and compost can help with that!
Many states, including our home state of Indiana, are studying their own solid waste streams and seeking ways to both reduce food waste and find ways to reuse or recycle it. Eco Partners Vice President, Gary Roe, has been active for several years on the Indiana Food Scrap Initiative (IFSI) and the development of a white paper by its Food Waste Composting Strategy Group. Sponsored by the Indiana Recycling Coalition, this group is focused on increasing the rate of food waste composting in the state of Indiana. The strategy group identified the following strategies to achieve this goal:
- Data Collection: to see where Indiana stands compared to adjacent states
- Education: resource creation & targeted outreach to the biggest sectors of food waste generators
- Infrastructure: investing in Indiana’s composting infrastructure
- Policy: informing regulatory policy creation
- Economic: driving end market demand for compost
The resulting white paper compares Indiana to adjacent states, Illinois and Ohio, against a set of four indicators selected based on data availability and communication power. IFSI hopes this snapshot serves as a starting point for conversation that leads to informed, local solutions that increase food waste composting activities across the state.
So, now back to celebrating compost as it comes to the rescue for diverting wasted food from the waste stream! If you are looking for tools to begin home composting, check out these sites: Planet Natural Resource Center for composting how-tos, IFSI’s Simple Steps for Backyard Composting, and IFSI’s Vermicomposting Inside Your Home.
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