COLUMBIA - According to EPA, 27% of the United States waste stream is made up of yard trimmings and food waste that Americans could be composting.
Right now, the city Columbia collects the food waste of local Walmarts and Sam's Clubs. The waste is then brought to the city's compost facility, where it is broken down over a few weeks or a few months before it ready for commercial use as compost.
Landfill superintendent Cynthia Mitchell says although these two these two stores are large providers, they would like other businesses on board.
A concern, however, is that a lot of the waste comes from individual households.
While many communities have home collection services available for yard waste, but officials say it is more difficult to offer the same option with food waste, because it takes more effort to separate the food from other trash.
"It does take a segregated waste stream. We can't have different trash mixed up with it, it has to be just food scraps," said Mitchell.
At home, you can help out by purchasing your own composting bin.
Besides food, you can compost:
- Cardboard rolls
- Coffee grounds
- Sawdust from finished house projects
- And dead house plants.
Compost bins allow you to dispose of waste so you have less trash and a natural soil nutrient you can use to landscape. The EPA says compost can suppress plant pests and will promote higher crop yields, whether you farm for a living or just garden as a hobby.