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13 Percent Of Greenhouse Gases In US Associated With Growing, Manufacturing, Transporting, Disposing Food: Emily Creegan, New Mexico State University

The idea of composting is fostering the living system. Organic matter is being returned to the soil, and microorganisms are creating air pockets and it’s a whole system of life being fostered through organic material.

At the Women Economic Forum event in April 2018, there was a session on 'How to utilize waste material to improve community waste management', which dealt with the important topic of waste management in sustainability.

“Trash is typically put in landfills or is incinerated. Recycling of organic waste material is a form of recycling. According to the US Environment Protection Agency, 13% of greenhouse gases in the US are associated with growing, manufacturing, transporting and disposing of food. The leachate from landfills pollutes our water. Landfills also create toxic methane gas that contributes to climate change. The goal is to recycle, reuse, revive, refurbish. Composting is a huge form of recycling. Compost is an organic material with air, water, and microorganisms. Organic material accounts for approximately 40% of all landfill waste in the US. Worms, insects and other tiny soil creatures called microorganisms eat our waste and turn it into the living soil," said Emily Creegan, a Ph.D. student at New Mexico State University.

She also added,“The idea of composting is fostering the living system. Organic matter is being returned to the soil, and microorganisms are creating air pockets and it’s a whole system of life being fostered through organic material. Organic matter is said to increase water conversation, and it acts as a living sponge. Organic materials are burned as a form of waste management in the US. A compost at home will be mimicking the natural environment. It also leads to soil carbon sequestration. In our house in New Mexico, we use worms. I helped create the Cal Poly Pomona Compost Program in California, USA. It was the first ever school-wide compost program. It was about mimicking the natural environment. Climate change mitigation tactics are also included in this. In my mind, there are many pockets of organic waste material, which is food waste, animal waste, and human waste and so on. It increases nutrient availability to the soil and plants, water conservation, climate change mitigation and so on." “Composting can be a safe way to reduce pathogen load in organic waste as well. Composting leads to water conservation, soil conservation and has a lot of potential, and it creates a living system which is rich and it aerates the soil”, she added.

Priyanka Bhatkoti, Principal, Maxfort School, Dwarka, said, “Huge amounts of paper were being used, and we have tried to reduce the amount of paper being used. Every worksheet the students do, every paper we have is used and put in cartons and used for developmental. We got a recycling machine, and all paper is recycled and used again as diaries and other purposes. We don’t use incinerators or shredders. We use different methods for conserving the energy as well, by using thermostats efficiently. The moment the children are not at the campus, there is bare minimal air-conditioning used. We use CNG for our buses. We feel happy we are contributing to saving the environment. We have another important resource, which is space. We do effective space utilization. We have tried to make it green as much as possible."

She also added, “We also use recyclable cups. We have reduced the usage of paper cups drastically. The used cups go to the Good Earth initiative at school. Every bottle is being used by the Good Earth initiative to make planters. We decided to magnify all our efforts. We decided to enrich the whole environment, not just the school. We are an empowered community. The recyclable pots that are being made are for and are presented to the community we are within. We have an effluent treatment plant in the school, so we have effective wastewater management, where wastewater is reused for horticulture purposes. We have a composting system as well for organic waste. We are working towards installing solar panels to further reduce our carbon footprint.


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