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WEEK #4: WHY COMPOST?



Congratulations on completing Week 4 of the Compost Challenge! As we continue weighing our slop – check out our Data Summary page for updates – it’s exciting to see how much food we’ve diverted from the Rockbridge County landfill into luscious compost. But some of us might wonder: Besides making nutritious soil for your garden, why shouldn’t food scraps go to the landfill? Wouldn’t they decompose there, too? Well, it’s not quite that simple. 


Our friends at the World Wildlife Fund explain the difference between decomposing food versus landfill rot really well: “Composting produces one greenhouse gas called carbon dioxide. When food waste is composted, it is digested by bacteria with oxygen, releasing carbon dioxide. When food is put in landfills, it is digested by bacteria without oxygen, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that can heat our planet 25 to 30 times more powerfully than carbon dioxide. That’s why compost is better than landfill: because it produces the kind of gas that warms our planet less.”


Our planet does need some greenhouse gasses (GHG) to create a warming and protective atmosphere, but these days it is essential to reduce the level of GHG in our atmosphere to better manage climate change. This means that, by diverting food waste to compost, we are doing our part protecting the planet by repurposing food scraps right in our own backyards. 


Got more compost questions? Ask them on our Compost Challenge Facebook Group, check out the Composting FAQs or contact Master Gardeners composting expert Phyllis Fevrier at 540-460-9298 and leave a message. She will return your call.


Finally, we look forward to welcoming many of you  at the 2024 Backyard Compost Challenge Picnic! Saturday, April 20th from 12:00 - 1:30pm at Boxerwood. RSVP here.


Now, please click the green button below to access the simple data upload page. Thank you again for your participation!



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