Composting is a simple activity many people can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane (CH4.)
Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CH4 accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. While it has a much shorter lifespan in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), “CH4 is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2. Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 is 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.”
When you compost, you end up with organic, nutrient-rich material to use when planting flowers or growing your own fruits and vegetables, thus, reducing the need for chemical treatments. Best of all, composting keeps items out of landfills, which the EPA states were responsible for 17% of methane emissions in 2019.
Some major cities have composting programs that are part of their sanitation services to help reduce their carbon footprint, including San Francisco, Portland, Boulder and Denver, Colo. and Seattle. There’s also a growing number of independent composting services across the United States that charge small fees to collect all of your organic materials.
Whether you’re interested in paying a service or are thinking of starting your own compost pile in your backyard, here are 18 common items you can compost.