Organics Recycling & Composting

Food waste has become a large contributor to climate change as nearly one third of all the food in the world is wasted. Composting allows us to eliminate some of that waste by returning the nutrients to the soil.

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 options back to our community.  YVSC works in partnership with Cowgirl Compost and Twin Enviro 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.


This article, written by YVSC’s Kate Bracato, discusses food waste in the Yampa Valley.

IRC expanded their composting program to include neighborhood drop-off options. Read the latest about IRC’s compost program here .

To learn more about the history of YVSC’s Earth Cubes, check out this article from 2018.