Why it matters:
Humans waste about 1.3 billion tons of food per year, which is about one third of all the food in the world. Wasted food is a massive contributor to climate change. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. Composting offers an opportunity to recycle organics and food waste and return the nutrients to the soil, where they are needed to grow more food. This circular system is vital to protecting our soils and helps keep organics out of landfills, where they generate methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. But composting goes beyond just avoiding emissions – adding compost to soils has been shown to actually sequester carbon. Compost decomposes in soils providing a slow release fertilizer that increases plant production and carbon storage as much as 70%.
What we’re doing:
YVSC’s Organics Recycling Task Force was formed to increase organics recycling in the Yampa Valley. This team of local volunteers helped bring a compost option back to our community. Innovative Regeneration Colorado’s (IRC’s) Feed for Seed compost pilot program kicked off in June of 2020 as a direct result of the efforts of these volunteers. YVSC works in partnership with IRC to help reduce food waste, increase compost participation, and provide community education. Other areas of focus for the task force include efforts to tidy up downtown Steamboat Springs alleys by removing food waste from the trash, helping local schools and nonprofits compost using YVSC’s Earth Cubes, and holding a Pumpkin for Piggies event to turn Halloween pumpkins into feed for pigs or compost.
What you can do:
Wasting less food and composting the discards is a tangible way to both decrease our carbon footprints and help regenerate soils. You can help by:
- reducing your food waste
- composting at home
- encouraging others to waste less and compost the rest
Check out the resources to the right for information on how to do these things.