By Brian Sease
Americans throw away about 165 billion pounds of food each year. That food goes in to our trash cans which is then picked up by dump trucks and shipped off to a landfill where it rots away, serving no purpose except to be a waste of money and resources.
When organic waste goes through anaerobic decomposition, methane is produced. This is a common form of decomposition and can be beneficial if properly applied. Much of the organic waste in landfills decomposes this way and creates massive amounts of methane which is then simply released into the atmosphere. The problem with this however, is that methane is an incredibly potent greenhouse gas.
We live in a wasteful society. The least we could do is put that waste to good use.
Composting is decomposing organic matter that is used as fertilizer. The nutrients in this mulch is used to feed to give new life to growing plants.
This is gross, but it’s hugely beneficial. It’s really the only recycling we can do ourselves. There is no sure sign that the plastic and paper we recycle will even be recycled. But with composting we can see it in action with our own eyes.
The problem with composting however, is that not everyone may have the resources to start their own.
Apartments for example: composting is a stinky business which may not be ideal for a living space like this. But that doesn’t mean that the compost can’t be taken somewhere else.
You can sign up for curbside food and organic waste pickup which picks it up like it does for any other kind of waste.
Another way is finding a nearby community garden. This is a great way to get rid of organic waste and serve your community at the same time. Chances are it’s using compost to grow its crops.
And if you’re willing to give them your compost they might be willing to supply you with the food they grow. It’s a win-win.
All it takes is a little looking and you’ll probably find one.
Here at Cal Poly Pomona, the University Village has a community garden with a compost.
This is a great resource for students; it is an opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables and it’s a way to recycle food waste.
More university housing, both here at CPP and at other universities should be investing in resources like this.
It’s important for college students to learn these practices and change up our lifestyles for the better. Changing our lifestyles may not be easy, but it’s important. All it takes is a little focus and a little effort.
Small changes like this add up. Collecting compost only really requires separating food waste from non-food waste and disposing of it separately like we do with recyclables.
It’s time for us to step up and stop ignoring the importance of being eco-friendly. We need to be able to make the changes now so that future generations don’t feel the consequences.
Older generations have ignored the damage they have done to the earth. We should be the generation that is able to end that pattern.
Especially here at CPP where many of us are engineers or involved in agriculture, it’s important for us to be conscientious of how we live our lives and to make sure we set ourselves up for success.
This is bigger than waste pick up or community gardens or composting. This is about changing our lifestyles to be more efficient and to be better.
We are part of a young generation and it has to be us to make this paradigm shift.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
The least we could do is put waste to good use
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