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Most Americans are now familiar with recycling and how it helps reduce the amount of waste we generate, but recycling alone is not enough to eliminate the impact of larger and larger human populations that produce and discard more and more each year especially because not all types of waste can be recycled. 21% of landfill waste in the US is actually made up of food, and yard waste accounts for another 9% (source and more information). The best way to reduce this contribution is through composting.

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Photo credit: Jonas Krant (UCSB Sustainability)

Composting is the act of turning organic waste, which includes food scraps and yard and landscaping trimmings into a soil-like product that can be used to aid plant growth and development. Certain plates, cups, utensils and other items can also be certified as compostable. There are several different methods of composting with each method being ideal for different situations and different material inputs, and there are also plenty of ways you can compost in your own home. The City of Santa Barbara and UCSB are also working to increase composting at the community and campus level, respectively.

For more information:

Composting at UCSB

Composting at home