Compost is beginning to expand throughout the Midwest. Compost has widely been used by avid gardeners as a natural fertilizer but has been gaining popularity in the past few decades for the average American. Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Many cities have curbside pickup for green waste, but there are also many that still don’t have access to recycling programs in their city. Most curbside pickup programs limit the containers to yard waste only. Because of this, Americans are throwing away compostable materials that could be used to promote growth in backyards and farms.

The Midwest has been growing compost programs in recent years, saving waste and adding nutrients back into the soil. Iowa City began its curbside pickup program in 2017 in an effort to become a Star Community and divert 18,000 tons of food waste from entering the landfill. Omaha, Nebraska just began its own pilot program to collect compost. The program differs in that it places a centralized drop off bin for every 5-7 residents. This could streamline the collection and save time and money.

Illinois has banned yard waste from entering landfills since 1990, a progressive stance on the environment. Recently, a new law passed which requires the use of compost in state-funded landscaping projects. The Illinois Environmental Council supported the legislation which incentivizes the market to take in more compost, the end market will be greater for finished compost.

Composting continues to grow in the U.S and the Midwest is making moves in this industry. Composting has the ability to do a lot of good for the environment because individual people can make it in their backyard or even in their apartment. San Fransisco and New York are often referred to in the fight against waste due to their large programs, but the Midwest has a localized effort unfolding that might end up being more efficient and saving more food from entering landfills.

Written by Justin Stanphill