The EPA estimates that in 2013 alone, the United States produced 37 million tons of food waste, which comprises the single largest part of our trash that ends up in landfills. That doesn't even include yard trimmings or other organic waste that could be broken down by natural processes. Conservative estimates say that more than one third of solid waste that ends up in landfills could be diverted and processed as compost.
Just to be clear, when you put anything in a landfill, it does not go away--like ever. If the landfill is properly sealed, there is no oxygen to facilitate natural breakdown. You put a banana peel in the trash, and 20 years later you'll still be able to find it in the landfill. So all of those compostable cups and forks you buy made out of corn, have basically zero environmental benefit when you put them in the trash. Moreover, if the landfill isn't properly sealed, organic waste will start to break down anaerobically and release methane and other greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.
Recent legislation is attempting to remedy this, but by in large, we still insist on throwing food scraps, yard waste, and a whole range of compostable trash (cutlery, cardboard, dryer lint... the list goes on) into the trash where it is carted away to landfills taking up space and polluting the air and earth. This doesn't just happen in the home, but on a large scale on school campuses, entertainment venues, restaurants, hotels, and etc.
So here is our question: how is this still a thing?
When organic waste is composted through natural processes, it is diverted from landfills and turns into nutrient rich fertilizer that can be used to grow crops and revitalize soil. So let's challenge ourselves to start thinking about how we dispose of our waste, as individuals and as businesses, and more importantly-- to think about what it could become.
Honestly, it is pretty much all we think about here at BioCoTech Americas. So if you need some help envisioning how to transform your trash from waste into revenue, reach out and let us know.
We love talking trash.