Watch the video where actress Amy Smart is asked by TMZ what her latest green efforts are at home and she answers composting. This is creating a place for organic materials like kitchen scraps and yard waste to decompose into that dark nutrient-rich humus for soil enhancement.
Amy and her HGTV host husband Carter Oosterhouse met through the Environmental Media Association. Their assignment was to mentor a school garden together. They were both in relationships at the time but remained good friends and ended up marrying at their green wedding in 2011. With 220 wedding guests, they created less than one full bag of trash. They recycled and composted everything they could.
In the video after Amy says composting, in the studio a Yale graduate whose major was Environmental Science makes fun of that and says composting does not do anything for landfills. He is called a moron and idiot by another guy in the studio. While maybe not a moron, he does appear to be uneducated about the positive effects of composting.
According to the U.S. Composting Council, dumping organic material into landfills wastes resources, reduces recycling and potentially increases greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says diverting organic materials from landfills and incinerators "reduces pollutants, saves energy, conserves resources and reduces the need for new disposal facilities" while protecting human health, land, air and water.
The largest component of trash, about 72 percent of U.S. municipal solid waste, is organic (14 percent food scraps, 13.4 percent yard trimmings, 6.4 percent wood waste, 7 percent textiles and leather, and 34 percent paper). Composting is efficient resource use that creates a life-sustaining product of nutrient-rich soil which retains more moisture and eliminates the need for fossil fuel fertilizers. Mulching with organics aids in landscaping, erosion control and stormwater management.
When organic materials are composted, they give off carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of the natural short-term carbon cycle hardly impacting global warming as compared to burning fossil fuels. Put that same material in anaerobic landfills and the carbon is converted and released as methane (CH4) gas trapping heat 23 times more than CO2. About 34 percent of man-made methane going into U.S. air comes from landfills, the largest source.
Until all Americans become as green-minded as Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse, promotion of composting and bans and policies must be regulated to keep yard trimmings out of landfills as one step toward a sustainable society. For more information on composting, see the EPA composting website.