Throwing away food scraps creates many problems. First of all, it is wasteful. Food scraps can easily be recycled back into fertilizer which is used to make more food. Every year farmers dump thousands of tons of synthetic fertilizers on their farms. These synthetic fertilizers can be replaced with compost. This produces a closed and sustainable loop. Waste in garbage cans also has several practical problems. Trash stinks and attracts flies, rats and other pest. It takes a lot of time, effort and machinery to bag (plastic bags = more waste), transport, compact, transport again, and then dig a big hole to bury all that trash. Furthermore organic waste produces methane (20 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) and fills up landfill space.
20% of trash is compostable, however only 8% of households compost. Restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores and many other companies send thousands of tons of waste to the landfill every day. Traditional composting requires lots of time, land and heavy equipment to efficiently handle the organic waste. Furthermore, waste has to be separated at the source and transported to the composting facility. Due to the large land requirements, compost facilities are located many miles from the waste source.
Small scale on site vermicomposting of organic waste represents one of the best alternatives to landfill disposal. Vermicomposting is scalable and versatile. Vermicomposting can be done at home in a simple container or by using one of the many available worm bins. The Worm Factory 360 is an excellent example. Also vermicomposting can be done on a larger scale at places such as restaurants using worm bins like the Worm Wigwam. Furthermore, vermicomposting can be done on industrial scales such as that which is being done at Oregon Soil Company.
You can start composting your garbage at home today. It’s super easy and it can pay for itself with all natural organic fertilizer. If you garden it is a no brainier. The Worm Factory 360 and a pound of worms is the easiest complete kit for worm composting available. However, if you have some used containers laying around that you would like to re-purpose into a worm bin, that works as well. Most important is just to start somewhere and make a goal to send less to the dump and keep that good fertilizer for your garden!