The many benefits of curbside composting

Minneapolis should promote composting for a better solution to waste.

Melanie Williams

On Monday, the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board published a piece advocating for a simplified recycling system in Minneapolis. I agree that this would be a tremendous step in the right direction, but itâÄôs simply not enough to curb the amount of waste citizens produce.

Recycling is undoubtedly the way to keep synthetic and non-biodegradable materials like plastics and metals out of landfills, but it doesnâÄôt stop people from throwing away organic material that could easily be composted. In addition to simplified recycling, Minneapolis needs to provide opportunities and resources for residents to begin turning compostable scraps into soil instead of sending them to the incinerator.

Curbside composting âÄî wherein compostable material could be put on the curb along with trash and recycling âÄî is in the works in Minneapolis, with a year-long trial in the Linden Hills neighborhood kicking off the process. This is great, but if it is to go citywide, the education effort needs to start now, and the city should play a role in this.

People need to know the benefits of composting. ItâÄôs environmentally friendly, prevents detrimental erosion and produces healthy, nutrient-rich soil for planting crops. Also, the process produces methane gas that could be harnessed to heat buildings sustainably. If people donâÄôt know why itâÄôs important for them to save their organic waste, itâÄôs far less likely that theyâÄôll make the effort to do so.

For those of us who donâÄôt live in Linden Hills, there should be education about composting at home. Vermicomposting, which uses anaerobic worms that eat through waste, can be done in a bin under your sink. Because the worms eat the waste without producing aerobic bacteria, you can let them compost your scraps without any nasty smell.

Composting isnâÄôt just for co-op shoppers and tree-huggers âÄî itâÄôs a simple task that anyone can perform in order to do their part for our environment. The city should help share that message.