The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment of $9.4 million in compost and food waste reduction projects. The funding will be used to support 61 projects across the country, which aim to reduce food waste and divert it from landfills, as well as create compost and other renewable energy sources.
"With an estimated 4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions attributable to uneaten food, local strategies and tools like these are important climate solutions," said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These funding efforts are part of the USDA's broader efforts to address climate change and promote sustainability in the agriculture sector.
Despite the significant environmental benefits of composting, only 27% of Americans have access to "some kind of composting program" that accepts food waste and/or biodegradable packaging. In comparison, nearly 80% of U.S. population has access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs, according to the EPA.
In recent years, cities nationwide have implemented new programs to provide better access to composting.
In New York, Mayor Eric Adams and the NYC Sanitation Department just announced their goal to bring composting to all five boroughs over the next 20 months following the success of their Queens-wide composting program in 2022.
"In just three months, a pilot composting program right here in Queens kept nearly 13 million pounds of kitchen and yard waste out of landfills. That's more than the weight of 300 city buses," said Mayor Eric Adams.
Additionally, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Vermont, and Massachusetts now require composting by residents, businesses, or both....