Why throwing food out is worse than composting


I understand that composting helps break organics down faster, but in the grand scheme of things, wouldn’t food and other organics just end up naturally decomposing in a landfill anyways?

In: 6

Organic matter in landfills can breakdown and release methane gas and eventually cause the mass of the landfill to sink as the structure no longer can support the mass.

The key is with composting allowing oxygen to break down the organic material. The byproduct of organic material decomposing in an environment without oxygen is methane.

Not only is material that would benefit a compost being wasted, but it also creates a product that is harmful to it environment.

Surprisingly, generally, no. Well, in the very grand scheme, millions of years, yes, it will all get broken down or eroded and washed down to the sea, because landfills mostly are not built in places that sediment is depositing, but rather in places where it is eroding.

Composting provides for moisture and aeration, and generally speaking, growth of bacteria and fungi and all those fun things needed to eat dead vegetative material and convert it into small compounds that plants can use (like, ultimately, CO2 and water that plants use to make sugar).

Landfills are generally packed down, and water passage through them is minimized, because water from landfill is leachate and tends to contain a lot of nasty chemicals that aren’t good to release to the natural environment. A real dog’s breakfast of stuff gets dumped into landfills: metals, plastics, residual household chemicals and who knows what else, and a lot of that ends up in the water while water flows through the pile, so the general idea is to try to make it so the amount of water passing through is small, and what does come out (usually) has to be treated just like raw sewage needs to be treated. Landfill leachate is not very good quality water. Pretty nasty, usually.

Landfills are not routinely turned over, so the oxygen content everywhere but at the very surface is very low. Although there are bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen conditions (anaerobic bacteria), those bacteria make different chemical compounds as their wastes than the “good” aerobic bacteria and other life that employs oxygen as part of its attack. A lot of organic materials (vegetative debris and similar) react very slowly to chemical attack in the absence of oxygen. As in, you can pull out a buried newspaper from 50 years ago and still read it lack of destruction.

Composting is designed to maximize decay. Landfills are designed to keep things isolated, and in place forever. Two totally different objectives.

The value of composting is what you can do with it. Composting allows you to reuse the nutrients from the organic matter as fertilizer for a garden, while soil in a landfill is generally unusuable since it’s often contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins that are hard to get rid of. The bad stuff in compost gets broken down into safe dirt, while the bad stuff in a landfill festers and accumulates.

“What lived once can live again.” Any old food can be turned into new food within 6 months.

This also applies to human waste from all 8 billion of us.

Technically we only need to buy food for 6 months acros the whole planet. If we compost our human waste, we can continue to regrow all of that food **forever.**

Matter can not be created or destroyed, but an old pizza can be grown into new pizza ingredients if you have the time, and space.

source- I build edible landscapes from ‘garbage’ ([album example](https://imgur.com/gallery/zZHD1))