VERMONT (WFFF) — Food rotting in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

Elly Ventura, a member of the Composting Association of Vermont, believes composting can reduce those emissions. “I can make that process happen in my own backyard, and turn those materials right back into a really good soil amendment,” Ventura said. 

Act 148, the state’s universal recycling and composting law, offers Vermonters tools for keeping as much as possible out of the landfill. Ventura advises being mindful before disposing of food.

“Making sure we are eating leftovers, storing food properly in our kitchens and in our refrigerators, sharing food with neighbors,” Ventura said. 

When we add these organic materials back into the soil, there are many benefits for the environment. “Our soil creates healthy food,” Ventura said. “More healthy food for us, because the soil contains nutrients that are slow-released that are there for when our plants need them.”

According to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, if every Vermonter composted, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as removing 7,000 vehicles off the road each year.

Products left in a landfill usually stay for a long time. “But once they do start to break down, they release methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” Ventura said. “Which is what we talk about a lot, so there can be atmospheric pollution that comes from the landfills.”

You can purchase a bin from your solid waste district or town or build your own durable, enclosed container.