Did you ever wonder what happens to the waste that we throw away into our trash can? According to Ground Cycle, over one-third of NYC’s residential waste ends up in landfills. That waste in the landfill will break down without oxygen known as anaerobically and produce methane gas. That means it produces a greenhouse gas 25 times more harmful than CO2 (carbon dioxide). Just thinking how this is just one city in New York that can have that much waste go into landfills, is just insane! Could you even imagine what the overall waste is like globally?
Could this also be one of the causes of global warming? It absolutely is. To learn more about global warming you can read here. A simple way to start to reduce our carbon footprint is how sorting our trash/waste, from recycling plastics, metals, paper, and glass be repurposed to other usable materials to sorting foods and garden waste for composting.
What is composting?
According to NRDC.org, “Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. Anything that grows decomposes eventually; composting simply speeds up the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms (such as worms, sowbugs, and nematodes) to do their work. The resulting decomposed matter, which often ends up looking like fertile garden soil, is called compost. Fondly referred to by farmers as “black gold,” compost is rich in nutrients and can be used for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.”
- Browns for carbon: dead leaves, branches, and twigs
- Greens for nitrogen: grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds
- Water & Oxygen: the exact amount of water with oxygen, greens, and browns is important for compost development.
What can I compost?
Note: If you are composting at home, it is recommended not to compost meat as the smell can attract pests and rodents that we don’t need in our lives.
Benefits of Composting
- It can enrich the soil by helping retain moisture and prevent plant diseases and pests.
- Encourage the production of good bacteria and fungi that breaks down organic matter to create rich nutrient-filled material known as humus.
- Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowering our carbon footprint on the earth.
- Reducing the need for chemical fertilizers since compost is all-natural.
If you love gardening as much as my mom and I, You will surely not want to put these to waste! The perks of reusing or repurposing food to create compost to grow your own fruits and vegetables is amazing. The first step to eating better is also knowing how your food is grown. There is no better way to do that than with your own hands with a bit of elbow grease and patience.
Where can I compost?
As of May 2020, the department of sanitation in NYC had stopped their organic collection program due to Covid-19 and was looking to resume in July 2021. What is happening to the organic collection, if it’s not being picked up weekly by the city? No worries! If you started to take an interest and wanted to know more about where you can have your organics collected or dropped off, here are a few in NYC I recommend:
- NYC GroundCycle – Located in Brooklyn, New York, NYC GroundCycle offers door-to-door service where you can order farm-fresh produced and they will swap it out for compost scrap. All compost collected is reused for their farm-fresh produce. Learn more.
- GrowNYC – Their mission is to improve New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs. GrowNYC was originally established in 1970 born out of the spirit of Earth Day. To find the closest organic collection drop-off in your borough and to learn more click here.
- BK ROT – BK ROT is New York City’s first community-supported, bike-powered, fossil-fuel-free food waste hauling and composting service. They offer to pick up from business, at home, and food scrap drop-off. BK Rot even offers to sell their compost made by hand on their site as well as a home compost kit that can work for indoor or outdoor use. Learn more.