Composting food waste is far preferable to sending it to a landfill for a number of reasons. Landfills divert land from other uses, are expensive to maintain and are fraught with environmental challenges. But perhaps the most negative consequence is the generation of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, due to the anaerobic nature of decomposition in a landfill. Methane is thirty-four times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, composting avoids all these negatives. It avoids the landfill, creates compost which is a valuable fertilizer and soil additive. Composting also decomposes organic waste aerobically and thus does not generate methane. A true win-win!
After a hiatus, composting has returned to UUFR. A few years ago, we had a DIY composting effort, but it was abandoned for a number of reasons. Thanks to a generous grant from the UUFR Foundation, we are conducting a pilot program with a commercial composting company, CompostNow. CompostNow delivers a clean bin for our compostable material and picks it up each week. In it we place compostable items, including food waste and single-use plates and utensils. All of the single use items stocked in Founders’ kitchen is now compostable, but that doesn’t mean we should stop the practice of bringing our own reusable dinnerware to dinners and potlucks. The program has grown steadily, from 65 pounds of compostable material collected in November 2019 to 165 pounds last month. In three months, we have avoided 890 pounds of CO2 equivalents and created 34 pounds of compost, which is distributed to community gardens in the area.
We have plans to expand our composting program in the future – watch this space for updates or contact Russ Outcalt ([email protected]) for more information. Also, please join the UUFR Environmental Justice Ministry Team to get more involved in this and other environmental initiatives. We meet the third Sunday of each month at 9:30 AM in the Emerson Room.