How Composting Differs From Food Waste In Landfills

How Composting Differs From Food Waste In Landfills

Composting and food waste rotting in landfills are two very different processes. Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic waste, while food waste rotting in landfills is an uncontrolled and inefficient process that produces harmful greenhouse gases.

Photo Credit: Zibik

In composting, organic waste is intentionally placed in a controlled environment with the right amount of moisture, oxygen, and temperature to facilitate the breakdown of the waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. The process is aerobic, meaning it requires oxygen and produces heat, which helps to kill off pathogens and weed seeds. The end result is a high-quality compost that can be used to improve soil health and fertility.

On the other hand, food waste rotting in landfills is an anaerobic process, meaning it occurs without oxygen. When food waste is buried in landfills, it’s compact and covered in layers of dirt and other waste, preventing air from reaching it. As a result, these wastes begin to rot and decompose in the absence of oxygen, thus producing methane - a potent greenhouse gas. Methane has a much greater impact on climate change as it's a greenhouse gas that is more than 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere.


 Composting, on the other hand, offers a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative to food waste rotting in landfills. Composting diverts organic waste from landfills and reduces methane emissions by providing a controlled environment where organic waste can break down in the presence of oxygen, producing carbon dioxide instead of methane. In addition, composting produces a valuable soil amendment that can help reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and enhance soil health and fertility.

Photo Credit: Sigmund

Overall, composting and food waste rotting in landfills are two very different processes with vastly different environmental impacts. Composting offers a sustainable solution to the growing problem of food waste, helping to reduce methane emissions and produce a valuable resource for sustainable agriculture.

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