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Is Composting Better Than Landfill?

Waste is gathered and dumped at landfills. They are designed to trap trash and lessen the quantity that escapes into the environment. They store rubbish underground and are lined with plastic or clay before being covered with dirt once they are full.

On the other side, composting effectively breaks down organic materials. Composting is not intended to manage garbage, but rather to produce compost that will be useful.

We would much rather produce useful compost than bury waste underground since composting is significantly better for the environment than landfilling.

But how significant are the distinctions between composting and landfilling? Let's deconstruct it:

What Are The Effects Of Landfill On The Environment?

  • Landfills take up valuable space.

  • Landfills are not designed to break down organic waste.

  • Landfills release dangerous emissions into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and methane.

  • Landfills have a negative impact on the health of nearby communities. These effects are disproportionately felt by marginalized communities.

Significant amounts of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are released when organic materials are in a landfill environment. Methane is 84 times more powerful at absorbing solar energy than carbon dioxide, which accounts for the majority of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (79% in 2020).

292.4 million tonnes of municipal solid trash were produced overall in 2018. (4.9 pounds per person per day). Of this garbage, 146 million tonnes (about 50%) were dumped in landfills. The third-largest source of methane emissions from humans in the United States comes from landfills (14.5 percent of methane emissions in 2020)

“At least 25% of today’s global warming is driven by methane from human actions.”

- Methane: A crucial opportunity in the climate fight, Environmental Defense Fund

Although there is no complete database of landfills in the United States, it is believed that there are currently more than 1250 open landfills, with an average size of 600 acres. Instead, natural habitats, habitations, or food production might occupy this area.

Does Composting Reduce Emissions?

The manufacturing process known as composting converts organic input into products that can be put to beneficial use. When organic matter is composted, it is diverted from landfills and allowed to decompose more quickly, where it can then be used to improve the quality of the soil.

The process of decomposition does, on its own, result in the production of some pollutants. Composting, due to the presence of oxygen, results in the production of more carbon dioxide than methane. Emissions from composting have a substantially lower Global Warming Potential than emissions from landfills due to the fact that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas with a lower overall warming potential.

Even researchers from North Carolina State University have looked into the possibility of using compost as a cover for landfills in order to reduce the amount of methane that is released. Even while this is not the best application of compost (we'd much rather use it to enrich the soil! ), composting still has a number of potential advantages.

Composting yard waste results in fewer emissions of greenhouse gases than landfill disposal, but it also offers other environmental advantages. Composting results in the production of an end product that can be utilised to improve both the soil that already exists and the soil that has been harmed as a result of climate change. Through an increase in the soil's capacity to store carbon, the application of compost brings about a general reduction in the levels of greenhouse gases.

It is absolutely necessary to expand access to composting facilities and lower emissions produced by landfills as part of the fight against the effects of climate change. Having access to composting on a larger scale can help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, cut down on trash, and produce compost that can nourish the soil.

You can make a difference by switching to compostable packaging and educating your customers about the numerous positive aspects of this type of packaging.

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