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Why you should compost, and easy ways to do it (even in New York City)

By Siobhan O’Connor for:

The reason you should compost is simple: The planet’s drowning in food scraps.

In the United States alone, we throw away at least 28 billion pounds of food a year—that means 25 percent of the country’s food supply winds up in a landfill, says Edward Humes, author of the new book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash.

And once those scraps reach a landfill, they get buried under other garbage and, starved of oxygen, produce methane, a greenhouse gas that’s even worse for the planet than carbon dioxide.

The good news is that you don’t have to drag out the garden hoe or, really, do much of anything to keep your food scarps out of landfills. More than 90 towns and cities in the United States have some kind of residential composting program that will divert your waste from the landfill to biodegrade as nature intended.

Here are some other groups that are happy to do the dirty work for you:

1. The farmers’ market. Many markets collect compost, and some will even reward you with a bag of “black gold”—nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn or houseplants.

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