Harvesting Hope: Unveiling the Green Revolution of Backyard Composting

In a world increasingly confronted by environmental challenges, the call for sustainable solutions echoes louder than ever. Amidst this clamor, one humble practice stands out as a beacon of eco-friendly innovation: backyard composting. From kitchen food scraps to garden waste, composting offers a simple yet powerful means to transform what might otherwise be considered refuse into a valuable resource. Diving into the realms of composting, what is unveiled is not only a method of waste reduction, but a green revolution with far-reaching benefits for our planet. Join RecycleMore on a journey with the use of food scraps to enriched soil, where the magic of composting takes center stage in the quest for a more sustainable future.

What is Composting?

Composting is a controlled, natural process of decomposing organic matter (such as fruits, vegetables, food scraps, and plant materials), facilitated by microbes, organisms, and time. This process involves combining “greens” (moisture rich waste) with “browns” (dry materials like leaves, lawn clippings, bark, and cardboard) in a pile, which is periodically turned to aerate the mixture and promote microbial interaction. Over time, this interaction heats up the pile, resulting in the breakdown of organic matter into a nutrient-rich material known as compost. The actual process of composting can take anywhere from weeks to a year, depending on factors like size, attention, and materials used.

Benefits of Composting

The benefits of composting are multifaceted. One of the most significant advantages is its role in diverting organic waste from landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 5% of the 66.2 million tons of food waste generated from retail in 2019 was properly composted. In the U.S., food is the single most common material sent to landfills, comprising of 24.1 percent of municipal solid waste. When organic waste ends up in landfills without aeration, it decomposes anaerobically, producing methane—a potent greenhouse gas and a super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to CalRecycle, 20% of the state’s methane comes from organic waste within our landfills. By composting, we not only prevent valuable natural resources from being wasted but also mitigate the release of methane into the atmosphere.

In addition, composting provides a sustainable solution for enriching soil health. The nutrient-rich compost produced can be used as a soil amendment, enhancing soil structure, moisture retention, and nutrient levels. This, in turn, promotes healthier plant growth and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, thus minimizing chemical runoff and its adverse effects on water quality. It can save you money!

Beyond its environmental benefits, composting fosters a deeper connection between individuals and their waste, environment, and planet. It empowers communities to take proactive steps toward sustainability on both a local and global scale. By embracing composting as a way of life, everyone can take part in reducing the ecological footprint and contribute to the preservation of our precious ecosystems for generations to come.

SB 1383 and the Role of Composting

Organics and food waste material in the landfill has a direct connection to climate change, contributing to bigger wildfires, stronger storms, and devastating droughts. Senate Bill (SB) 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, stands as a pivotal legislative stride towards fostering a more environmentally conscious society and climate goals. California law emphasizes the mandatory separation of organic materials and recyclables from general waste. And, by requiring either subscription to designated collection services or self-hauling organics to appropriate facilities for diversion, SB 1383 aims to significantly curtail organic waste disposal to the landfill, with a targeted reduction of 75% by 2025.

Additionally, SB 1383 endeavors to address food insecurity by targeting the rescue of 20% of edible surplus of food for redistribution to those in need by 2025. Surplus edible food can be repurposed to nourish communities rather than languishing in landfills.

Source: https://calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/slcp/

Types of Composting           

There are various types of ways to compost. Whether it’s done on site, at the point of waste generation, or in a large scale, centralized facility, composting helps to keep the high volume of organic material out of landfills and turns it into a useful product.

Most composting involves one of these types of approaches:

  • Aerobic Composting (With Oxygen)

This type of composting requires environments with oxygen to “aerate” the pile, to facilitate bacterial growth. This is the most frequently utilized style of backyard composting. Bins are commonly used to contain composting materials, with air holes to let the oxygen in. This style of composting requires the contents of the pile to be periodically rotated to ensure aeration. Some tumbler-style bins come with the use of a handle to easily turn the pile. Composting in an enclosed bin provides the benefit of aesthetics, moisture retention and can also discourage critters.

  • Anerobic Composting (Without Oxygen)

This type of composting is typically done in big industrial cylinders and can take a longer time to make the final product of compost than aerobic composting. This method releases biogases including methane and carbon dioxide and can be very stinky if not properly contained. This process is not recommended by RecycleMore for backyard composting because of the level of management required to contain the flammable gases produced, and is not appropriate in a suburban neighborhood, home, or school location. Large industrial and municipal operations may use this type of composting as there are systems in place to manage the environmental hazards and biproducts created.

  • Vermicomposting

This is a type of composting which uses red- wriggler worms to break down food scraps, instead of bacteria. This method of composting is not suitable for yard waste. The worms eat food scraps and break down the materials with their bodies, quickly producing a nutrient dense soil amendment called worm castings. The worms must be kept warm (not too hot and not too cold) to create the right environment for them to thrive.  Vermicomposting can be a fun project for your family or school program. You can even do this type of composting indoors, in a small apartment, because the worms can be kept very neat in a bin and odor-free when the worms are healthy. Access the RecycleMore website page on Vermicomposting to learn more.

For a more in-depth view of the various approaches to composting, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website page:  CLICK HERE

Composting Resources

Discount Composting Supplies

For those eager to elevate your composting efforts, backyard composting offers an engaging and environmentally impactful solution. Whether you prefer traditional composting, harnessing air, time, and microbes, or exploring vermicomposting with the aid of helpful critters like worms, RecycleMore is your go-to resource. RecycleMore offers a diverse selection of composting essentials at discounted rates for residents of West Contra Costa County, making sustainability more accessible. Access the RecycleMore website to view what composting supplies are available at the discounted rate and how to order: CLICK HERE

Kitchen Food Scrap Pail

To help you manage your food scraps in the kitchen and use the scraps for composting piles, use a kitchen food scrap collection pail. You can collect the scraps and easily transfer them to your composting pile or place them in your green organics cart for regular curbside pickup. West Contra Costa County residents can acquire a FREE food scrap collection pail by contacting your local City Hall. To learn more about this program and contact information, CLICK HERE.

Compost Giveaway

The organic waste collected curbside from your green cart is sent to a composting facility, where it undergoes transformation into nutrient-rich compost. As a resident in West Contra Costa County, compost is available to you for FREE each month. To learn more about the available compost for Republic Service area customers and residents of El Cerrito, please CLICK HERE.


Composting is an amazing process, and the final product of compost can play a critical role in helping work towards a more environmentally conscious future.

Join RecycleMore in making a positive difference for our planet while enjoying the benefits of hands-on composting education and fun!