Many state agencies have strong recycling programs for traditional materials such as paper, metal, glass and plastic. Far fewer agencies have food donation and composting programs for their organics. Diverting food scraps and other organic waste to composting or anaerobic digestion reduces methane generation in landfills and sequesters significant amounts of elemental carbon, all while producing a beneficial soil amendment that contributes to healthy soil and reduces the need for energy-intensive fertilizers and pesticides.
The first step in developing an organics diversion program is understanding what kinds of organic materials your office generates and where. Pull together a team of people to perform a waste audit and use the following guides to collect and track data for use in developing an office composting program.
The following resources can help you get started:
Many state offices are housed in buildings with cafeterias. These establishments can donate excess food to help alleviate hunger of food insecure populations and can often reduce their disposal costs.
Mulching grass clippings and leaves into the turf helps provide moisture and nutrients to the grass. Grass mulching is quite common especially with the proliferation of efficient mulching mowers. Mulching leaves in place has not taken off, but can be a cheap and easy alternative to managing this bounty from Mother Nature.