Most municipalities across the United States have a composting initiative in place—and why not? A municipal composting program keeps organic waste, such as leaves, grass, and excess food out of landfills where it lacks the oxygen to properly decompose, causing methane gas emissions. It also creates a nutrient-rich byproduct while saving municipalities money.
Municipal composting programs vary across the country. In some instances composting is performed at a municipal yard where local citizens must haul their compostable items to a pre-determined location. This approach isn’t desirable, as it’s inconvenient for local citizens to be expending both their fuel and time. An alternative sees municipalities offering door-to-door pick-up of compostable items to be delivered to a municipal yard. In this method, citizens don’t get to participate in their composting efforts firsthand and still consumes fuel and resources for hauling. The third most common way municipalities go about their composting program is a “backyard composting” program.
Typically, a “backyard” municipal composting program involves the municipality offering its residents a subsidized, or free, compost bin for their backyard and their own use. By owning their own composting bin, individuals stay active and engaged in the composting process as they reduce their carbon footprint.
A municipal composting program not only keeps organic waste out of landfills but it also helps municipalities save money. Let’s take New York City for example. Last year New York City alone spent more than $336 million on trash removal, with most of it going to landfills in states bordering New York—what a waste! It’s currently estimated that if New York City implements a municipal composting program that the city could save itself up to $100 million a year.