Not to be a grinch, but as we enter the holiday season, a time of giving and celebration, it’s sobering to remember that the amount of waste generated, is staggering. That waste isn’t limited to wrapping paper and packaging. It includes food waste, as well. According to Worldwatch Institute, Americans generate an extra five million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, three times more food waste than at any other time of the year.
This holiday season in Vermont is also the last one you can simply throw out your food scraps in the trash. Starting July 1, 2020, food scraps are banned from landfill disposal in Vermont. Keeping food scraps out of your trash has plenty of benefits, among them, extending the life of Vermont’s sole landfill, reducing greenhouse gases, supporting green jobs, and improving Vermont soils.
Food scraps in landfills generate methane – a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. This gas is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term but when converted into compost and applied to the land, the compost sequesters carbon. Roff Smith of National Geographic reports “If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. & China.”
As you plan your holiday menus, start thinking about how to both create less food waste in the first place (make stock from turkey bones, eat the beet greens, not just the beets, etc.) and keep what you do generate out of your trash. Instead of throwing away your food scraps, you can compost them in your backyard, bring them to a Vermont transfer station for recycling, or contact a food scrap hauler for service.
Grow Compost is poised to help Vermonters keep their scraps out of the landfill and to convert them into beneficial uses. Grow Compost has provided food scrap collection pickup for a decade, and over the years has expanded its service to most of Vermont and western New Hampshire. The company hauls the food scraps to partner farms, as food for their laying hens; to its own compost facility, where it creates exceptional soils for sale for gardeners, landscapers, and farmers; and to an anaerobic digester to produce renewable energy. The company provides service to a range of customers including businesses, schools and other institutions, and apartment complexes and condos.
Fight climate change this holiday season, give a gift to your home — the earth — by recycling your organic waste. don’t wait for the law to kick in. Start now.
Tips from the experts about reducing holiday food waste: