Composting and the Inflation Reduction Act
The statistics on food waste in the U.S. are staggering. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food waste accounts for 40 to 40% of all food produced. In 2010, that means $161 billion worth or 133 billion pounds of food were simply wasted. The Inflation Reduction Act has components in it aimed at helping to reduce this type of waste. You can be a part of that effort.
What Is the Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was a large, far-reaching law that made $300 billion in investments designed to specifically target the climate crisis. That includes steps to reduce food waste in the U.S. Specifically, the program puts money into the National Resource Conservation Service’s Conservation programs. These programs are designed to target key areas of concern, such as reducing soil erosion and increasing wildlife habitat. It is also designed to improve water quality and better manage agricultural producers.
When considering climate change and food waste, there’s more than just the food that’s being tossed out. It’s also a waste of all of the water, transportation-related greenhouse gas production, and the increase in the amount of material in landfills. Food itself will deteriorate, but the packaging and all of the fossil fuels used to plant, grow, and harvest that food cannot be restored to the planet. That is what makes this type of effort so important. Consider that as food decomposes in a landfill, it releases greenhouse gases, specifically methane. Methane traps 80 times the amount of heat on the planet and creates carbon dioxide.
The Inflation Reduction Act does not mention food waste reduction outright, but it does provide some resources to help organizations to stop wasting and improve the recycling of these products.
The law also has other components important for the reduction of risks to the planet. For example, the biogas industry, which works to collect and convert methane from waste streams and turns it into renewable natural gas, will get a boost from tax credits, putting it on a more level ability to get financial support as the solar industry does.
A Move Towards Composting
One of the ways this law could help to support food reduction is by moving more money away from landfill management and putting it into the process of composting. With composting, the food waste products are broken down properly and then reintroduced to the soil, allowing the nutrients from within those scraps to feed the next generation of crops.
Composting facilities can significantly reduce the amount of food product that ends up in landfills. In doing so, it will create more jobs and help to reduce the amount of material being added to landfills that end up creating methane gas. California already has a program in place to help promote composting programs like this.
The law provides $21 billion to the USDA for conservation programs. This could include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. This program in itself is quite fantastic because it allows farmers to be incentivized to conserve national resources through the improvement of their operations.
That includes the use of food waste reduction through compost application. Though the USDA is still working to create a soil carbon amendment conservation practice that outlines the specific process and guidelines for it, the use of nutrient-rich food scraps in agricultural applications simply makes sense. It provides numerous benefits, including simply putting nutrients right back in the soil so the soil can help to grow new plants.
The Growth of Composting
Composting allows for the microbial breakdown in food products or all organic matter. These components can then be used to fertilize the soil. When fertilizing soil like this, there is no need to use chemicals to boost nutrient levels. Today, there are many people who are working on composting, both at the industrial and commercial levels, as well as in homes.
Many cities are working to implement composting programs. These programs range widely in what they do and how they work, but they typically enable the collection of food scraps to keep them from ending up in landfills. In areas like New York, there are programs in place and companies managing the entire process, such as picking up food waste curbside to allow for those food scraps to be properly composted and returned to the soil.
Other organizations are working directly with commercial clients. This includes grocery stores and restaurants that end up with a large amount of food scraps on a daily basis. There is also the need for composting to occur at the industrial level, where food is processed. Large-scale composting like this can handle a large amount of organic waste, providing the planet with one of the biggest overall impacts in food waste reduction.
In many of these commercial and industrial applications, the food scraps collected are turned into compost material that is then sold to farms and nurseries so that the nutrient-rich material can then be used to create improved soils.
The establishment of industrial composting and commercial-level composting overall is a community-wide effort. Though there are many areas that are doing this, working right alongside garbage and recycling agencies to collect products at curbs, residential composting is very much an important part of the process. It is something that people can do right at home.
Start Making Changes Right at Home
How can you become more eco-friendly at home? Composting may not seem like something you need to do until you try it out and see just how much food waste and scraps, along with other organic material, you have to toss out. There are many steps that you, as a residential family, can take to create a big impact.
Find out if programs exist in your area
Large-scale composting is going to have the most significant impact. You can do your part in helping to encourage this by working with your city to implement a food waste collection process. This process does not typically get underway until citizens begin encouraging their council person to take action. Many recycling companies can facilitate it, or local companies may be available to help put the program in place with citywide support.
Start your own at-home composting
If you have a flower garden or even a vegetable garden, it is easy to reap the benefits of composting. To do so, start by collecting your food waste. That includes any type of non-animal food waste, like the rinds of your fruits and peels from your bananas. You can also include dried egg shells you’ve washed. Collect these items and then transport them to an outside composting bin. This is a larger bin that you can line with twigs and straw, along with all of your organic material. It’s rotated over time to encourage the breakdown of the material.
You can then use this material in your garden. It does not have to be difficult to do so – just add it into the soil and mix – to reuse it. Take the time to read about different ways to create and use a compost bin like this.
Collecting Your Food Waste
One of the most common concerns for many people is having a way to collect and store their food waste products before they add them to a composting bin. Instead of tossing them into a trash can where they will end up on the curb, consider this process.
- As you cut vegetables and fruits, place your waste directly into a countertop compost bin.
- Keep adding to that bin over time. It can stay right in your kitchen for easy access.
- For items like egg shells, rinse them, allow them to dry, and then toss them in as well.
This makes it effortless for you to collect your food scraps so they can go to work helping the planet. It’s that easy!
Check out Our Best Seller: Countertop Compost Bin
At Alabama Sawyer, we offer our Best Seller, Countertop Compost Bin – Noaway. It is the ideal tool for those who want to be more eco-friendly but also want to be sure they are making the process easy to manage. It is also one of the best ways to add a bit of elegance to your kitchen countertops.
This countertop compost bin is made of solid wood and can hold all of your organic waste products within the stainless steel interior container that's held within it. This lightweight container enables you to easily take your collected food particles to your compost bin outdoors for gardening use and wash the container with ease, even in the dishwasher.
This compost bin is beautiful, and it is also doing its part to support environmentally friendly change. That's because it's made from urban wood, which is wood that's salvaged from downed trees within urban forests in the cities. This process keeps this wood out of landfills and allows it to instead become a beautiful component of your home.
Composting Is Easy
Play your role in composting. Start the process at home and then encourage your family and friends to do the same. Make sure you vote for climate change actions that help your community and the country around you to protect the planet.