“Is composting really that impactful for fighting climate change?” You may ask when we at Green Action Centre promotes its importance. And apparently, it really can be!
When roughly 1/3 of the world’s food is destined to be wasted every year, and Canada alone is estimated at wasting 40% of food produced yearly, those “table scraps” destined to the landfill can really start to add up. Worse yet, when our food waste goes to the landfill and is buried with the rest of our garbage, it goes into anaerobic decomposition (more info on that process here), and when that happens it produces methane. And lots of it. The last estimate of methane produced by food waste in CO2 equivalents is a startling 798,801 tonnes.
At Green Action Centre, we are proud to be part of a global movement that aims to tackle this issue in food waste. For the second year in a row, Compost Winnipeg has served residents and businesses across the City of Winnipeg, and has brought in some serious numbers. A social enterprise housed under Green Action Centre, Compost Winnipeg offers at home and at business compost pickup services for a low monthly fee. At present, Compost Winnipeg serves 160 residents and 56 businesses, which is a total of 220+ pickups a week!
From these weekly pickups, Compost Winnipeg has done some great work in diverting food waste from the landfill. Since Compost Winnipeg’s first pickup, the service has diverted over 229,000 kg of organic waste. This is equivalent to 135,110kg of CO2e (the equivalent in kg of CO2 from methane) prevented from being created in a landfill condition. To put this in perspective, that amount of CO2e is the same amount produced if one were to drive from Brandon to Winnipeg and back without stopping for six straight months!
These numbers are amazing to see from such a small but dedicated team in Compost Winnipeg, and we are very impressed by the work done by Compost Winnipeg’s clients. However, it is important to remember that this is a comparatively small number of residents and businesses compared to the rest of the City of Winnipeg. In a city that is projected to grow to 786,200 by 2020, it would be impossible to tackle this issue through small composting groups alone. With the numbers that we are seeing from Compost Winnipeg, it is small wonder to see so many other communities across Canada and the world tackle this issue of food waste through municipal and regional action. We are encouraged to see work done by the Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region that highlights the importance of composting in their Regional Growth Strategy (Action 48, if you’re curious). However, these strategies can only truly begin to address Manitoba’s food waste issue if we have Provincial and Municipal action.
As Compost Winnipeg is highlighting every day through their pickup service, there is a lot of food waste that can be diverted from the landfill by Manitobans.