Most of us know that composting is good for the environment. After all, compost helps plants grow! But sometimes you’re not sure why it’s good for the environment. To discover that, we have to look at landfills.

Landfilling starts when a hole is dug in the ground. Then, a community’s trash is collected and packed into the hole. This is where the term for it comes from: we are literally filling the land with trash. Then, once a landfill reaches capacity after an average of 30 to 50 years, the landfill is covered and compressed. After that, it can be converted to space for building.

While that may seem fine, the problems come when we talk about decomposition. The trash in landfills breaks down very slowly, and in some cases doesn’t break down at all. Instead, it becomes a problem for future generations. Not only that, but landfills release greenhouse gases, toxins, and leachate. Leachate is what is produced when water moves through a substance and absorbs some of the components. This pollutes the water.

A large percentage of American landfills is food waste. The EPA estimates that 35.3 million tons of food went to landfills in 2018! This contributes to the pollution landfills cause. And it’s easily preventable!

Composting is a much better alternative to dealing with food waste. Instead of allowing water contaminated by landfills to pollute our rivers and ocean, compost stores water. After this, it seeps down into the soil. There, it is filtered and distributed back into local water sources! While it’s doing that, it helps plants grow, prevents erosion, and grows healthier foods.

So, consider composting or giving your food waste to local food waste disposal locations. That way, it stays out of landfills and stays in our soil!

August 13, 2021
By Ezra Brown

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