Solid Strategies for #ZeroWaste


Chapter Three: Plant-based Alchemy: Composting

Image of food scraps in a compost bin

Key Takeaways:

  • Food waste and packaging contributes to over 50% of the items sent to the landfill. We can reduce this number drastically through composting and choosing items in compostable packaging.
  • Solid Roots wants to be a key participant in raising awareness for the benefits of composting which will help reverse climate change, greatly reduce our reliance on landfills, eliminate single-use packaging, and re-enrich the soil.
  • Composting is easier than you may think!

Let me throw some stats at you.

In 2018, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), about 146.1 million tons of solid waste was sent to the landfill. Food waste was measured at about 24 percent of that total. Containers and packaging clocked in at 28.1 percent.

That’s 52.1% of our total landfill waste that can be avoided. How? 

By composting and choosing products in compostable packaging. Composting is the natural process of recycling items, like food scraps, yard waste or bio-based packaging, into an amazing fertilizer that can enrich plant growth. It’s plant-based alchemy! When we compost, we work to keep these items out of the landfills where they not only contribute to our massive waste problem, but they also release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting allows us to not only remove something harmful from landfills, but it also helps give back to the Earth. A win-win!

Additionally, when you choose to support companies who avoid single-use or excessive packaging and invest in compostable packaging, you vote for the future of our planet with your dollar. Solid Roots wants you to join us in the fight against unnecessary landfill waste.

We pledge to always choose the Earth over landfill-bound packaging, despite the higher costs associated with packaging that can be composted. Currently, our products come packaged in 100% certified compostable pouches. Our pouches start out their life as wood cellulose and bio-resins and end their life breaking back down into wood cellulose and bio-resins – compost to re-enrich the soil.

When you chose compostable packaging you’re choosing to: 

  • Help reverse climate change – Composting means no more methane gas from food in landfills, a major contributor to climate change.
  • Eliminate single-use packaging – Something only used once shouldn’t stick around for 1,000 years. Composting eliminates packaging once it is used.
  • End reliance on landfills – Landfills take up valuable space and harm the health of nearby communities.
  • Enrich the soil – Composting is regenerative. It provides a nutrient rich soil to grow healthy crops and also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

Composting may sound challenging, but is easier than I thought. You can use a basic pile in your backyard, invest in a compost bin or – if you’re tight on backyard space – compost indoors! 

It requires only three basic ingredients: 

  • Items to compost – the “green materials” providing nitrogen, which are your food scraps (fruit and veggie waste, coffee grounds and filters, etc.) as well as yard waste, like grass clippings.
  • “Brown materials”, such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs, that provide a carbon source for your compost.
  • Water to keep your compost pile moist, which supports the microorganisms hard at work breaking it all down. 

Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. When I take our weekly food scraps out to the compost bin, I make sure to throw in a few handfuls of dead leaves and branches. I also alternate layers of the materials in different sizes and stir them up every so often, making sure to add water so that it stays about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. And that’s it! I just let it do its work, anticipating that things will break down faster during the summer months when hotter temps keep the microbes happier.

The U.S. EPA has a great, easy-to-read guide on all things composting, including how to set up worm composting for if you live in a smaller space. 

Lastly, I just wanted to mention an exciting new bill that’s been introduced in congress, all about composting! The Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act will provide $200 billion in grants and loan guarantees over a decade for composting facilities across the country, including both large-scale composting facilities as well as farm, home, or community-scale projects. It would also ensure that composting is viewed as a conservation practice for the U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs, ensuring both the act of producing compost through recycling of organic material and the use of compost on a farm would qualify as conservation practices. It’s currently been referred to the House’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. I’ll keep you posted on progress!