Why is it worse to landfill food waste compared to composting?


I’ve seen it has something to do with lack of oxygen, but how can this make so much difference to what a rotting food produces?

In: Earth Science

Bacteria need oxygen to break down living matter. In a landfill, the living matter is usually sealed in multiple layers of plastic and then buried underneath other material with no oxygen, so there’s none for the bacteria to use.

In compost, the material is mostly organic and aerated regularly to facilitate healthy bacterial growth. The result is rich nitrogen-fixed loam.

“Rotting” is just bacteria in action: in a landfill, all rotting halts. The food is preserved as-is until it is again exposed to an oxygen source.

It also has to do with the design of landfills. They’re set up with special liners and barriers to make sure nothing leaches out of them. So food waste that goes into a landfill never comes out. It’s far better to compost food waste if you can, that way it doesn’t take up up space in the landfill and you return some of those extra nutrients to your gardens.