Keeping green waste green
Surprise! Guess where much of that green waste really goes?
California mandates cutting waste streams in half through reduction and recycling, so it should be a no brainer to compost all those grass clippings and orange peels. But a third of the green waste collected statewide, or about 11 million tons per year, goes straight into the dump. That’s because local governments get recycling credit for sprinkling green waste on landfills every day to control odors.
But solving this problem creates another. Buried green waste degrades anaerobically and so emits methane, the second most common greenhouse gas of human origin. “This loophole has been terribly abused over the years — landfills are the largest source of man-made methane”, explains State Assemblyman Das Williams (Santa Barbara), who has been keen on waste reduction since working in a recycling facility at age 16… (more)
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2014