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How much can composting help to reduce my carbon footprint?

Food waste represents 21.1% of the trash produced in the US even after recycling and composting are taken into account [1]. While reducing food waste is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, even the most careful households will still produce food scraps like egg shells, banana peels, and tea bags. The good news is that these and many other types of food waste are compostable, and you may be surprised by how much composting can help fight climate change. The environmental impact is due to both decreased fossil fuel consumption from waste transportation and the reduction of greenhouse gases produced as the food decomposes in a landfill.
It is estimated that American families produce an average of 20 pounds of food waste per month [2]. If not composted, all of this waste has to be transported from individual homes to landfills. This is a very inefficient process for several reasons. In cities, garbage trucks only get about three miles per gallon because they spend expend a lot of energy starting and stopping as they move from house to house [3]. Furthermore, garbage typically has to be transported over large distances before it reaches a landfill. Although exactly how far varies widely from place to place, this can be as far as 500 miles for some cities [4]. Transporting food waste this far is very inefficient since it can be responsibly handled locally.

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