Why composting is a critical part of a sustainable future
More than 15% of the discards generated by households, stores, offices and factories is grass clippings, leaves and brush from our yards. All of that rich organic material can be readily diverted away from landfills, where it would otherwise generate dangerous leachate, which threatens drinking water supplies, and methane, a greenhouse gas on steroids most of which escapes into the atmosphere.
Delivered, instead, to composters, and a sustainable industry can be created that produces a soil amendment to help restore fertility to our depleted soils, at the same time that it saves landfill space and reduces threats to our groundwater and to Earth's climate.
In the early 1990s, 22 states passed laws banning the landfilling of these yard trimmings, and that led to the birth of a vibrant compost industry whose success accounted for more than a third of the landfill diversion that America has achieved. Moreover, for localities that implemented the program by educating homeowners to use grasscycling instead of bagging their clippings for pickup, diversion actually wound up saving money, as well as helping the environment.
Since that time, more than a third of America's recycling success has been due to these landfills bans, and hundreds of millions of tons of valuable resource has been kept out of landfills.. The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly stated that "due to the documented inefficiencies in landfilling yard trimmings to generate methane for energy...the EPA supports the continuation of landfill bans for yard trimmings..." (Letter from EPA Region 4 to Georgia Department of Natural Resources, February 25, 2010.)