As someone who values community measures taken to benefit the environment, I find it disconcerting that Loudoun County does not have a residential or school composting program. The food waste that ends up in the landfills are a major problem for the environment as the lack of oxygen in the landfills impedes organic material from decomposing in a natural way. Our food scraps and other organic matter ends up breaking down and releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas which affects the earth’s temperature and climate system. Instead, we should compost to keep nutrient-rich food scraps out of the landfill and put those nutrients back into our ecosystem.
Back in August 2021, Sterling district supervisor Koran T Saines, proposed expanding the county’s limited composting program in order to accepting residents’ food waste to produce soil, fertilizer, and mulch. The big question is: when this will take place? Climate change is real, and we need to immediately begin to address this issue. As citizens we have a moral responsibility to start changing our habit of mixing our food waste with our trash. However, our local government also has a responsibility to lead our schools and community on this effort.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the United States up to 40% of all food ends up in landfills. If Loudoun County creates a food rescue program, our efforts will prevent enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from causing harmful impacts to our environment. I encourage Loudoun County residents to consider learning about composting and requesting that our local government representatives design composting outreach programs.