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Harnessing Compost in Food Waste Prevention

Food waste is a serious environmental challenge, contributing to landfill congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. However, thanks to composting, we have a sustainable way to divert food waste from landfills while promoting soil health for healthier, circular food systems. Celebrate Food Waste Prevention Week 2024 (April 1-7, 2024) by learning about the relationship between food waste prevention and composting, from community initiatives to legislation.


Landfill with food waste and plastic

Community-Based Decentralized Composting Solutions

Communities are increasingly coming together to take a stand against food waste, fueled by initiatives like the EPA’s Preventing Food Waste in Communities: A Social Marketing Toolkit. The toolkit serves as a resource for local governments and NGOs to help launch campaigns to reduce food waste at the grassroots level​​.




A Brief Overview of Composting and Food Waste Legislation

As highlighted by the USDA, composting is a critical tool in preventing inedible food waste from entering landfills and creating greenhouse gas emissions. Many local municipalities and states are now introducing food waste prevention laws to address these environmental, economic, and social concerns. The laws and proposed bills aim to reduce the environmental impact of food waste in landfills, promote resource efficiency, and alleviate the economic burden on households. Additionally, the laws address broader sustainability goals to conserve resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support efforts to achieve a more circular and responsible food system.


In 2014, Massachusetts became the first state to introduce a statewide law mandating businesses and institutions to convert food waste into compost if they process a ton or more of food per week. This legislation has won praise for significantly reducing food waste in landfills and reducing methane emissions​​.


Reduce, Rot, Recycle

While compost can enrich soil, pave the way for strong crop growth, improve water quality and provide a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture and water management​, there are several other ways reduce food waste before even needing to compost. This can include food donations, upcycling (like turning banana leaves into packaging or vegetable pulp into chips), and animal feed. Learn about the strategies developed by the EPA to find a range of options you can address food waste.


Person putting food waste into compost bin

Composting Can Be Done at Any Level

The beauty of compost is its versatility. Whether through backyard composting or a commercial composting facility, every individual and community can participate in this effort to prevent food waste. By composting, we can stop food waste and create a sustainable cycle that impacts soil, water, and the wider ecosystem.


Composting is your powerful ally in the fight against food waste, providing a sustainable solution with far-reaching environmental benefits. By supporting community initiatives and adopting composting practices, you can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and foster a sustainable culture. To learn more about Food Waste Prevention Week, visit www.foodwastepreventionweek.com.

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