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Cover State of Composting in US
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jul 14, 2014

Composting Key to Soil Health and Climate Protection, According to Two New Reports

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/composting-key-soil-health-climate-protection-reports/

Washington, DC — Composting reduces waste and builds healthy soil to support local food production and protect against the impacts of extreme weather, from droughts to heavy rainfall. That’s the message of two new reports from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR): State of Composting in the U.S.: What, Why, Where & How and Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Rebecca Toews

PHONE: 612-808-0689

EMAIL: Rebecca@ilsr.org


Download both reports:

http://www.ilsr.org/initiatives/composting

Compost is the dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling material produced by the managed decomposition of organic materials such as yard trimmings and food scraps. Compost is valued for its ability to enhance soil structure and quality. It adds organic matter to soil, improves plant growth and water retention, cuts chemical fertilizer use, and stems stormwater run-off and soil erosion. In the U.S., 99 million acres (28% of all cropland) are eroding above soil tolerance rates, meaning the long-term productivity of the soil to support plant growth cannot be maintained.

“Applying a meager half-inch of compost to the 99 million acres of severely eroded cropland would require about 3 billion tons of compost,” says Brenda Platt, the lead author of both reports and director of ILSR’s Composting Makes $en$e Project. “There is not enough compost to meet that need.  No organic scrap should be wasted.”

Compost also protects the climate:  it sequesters carbon in soil and it reduces methane emissions from landfills by cutting the amount of biodegradable materials disposed. (Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 72 times more potent than CO2 in the short-term.) A growing body of evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of compost to store carbon in soil for a wide range of soil types and land uses.

Yard trimmings composting programs are fairly well developed in the U.S. Of the 4,914 composting operations identified in the U.S. for State of Composting in the U.S., about 71% compost only yard trimmings (based on 44 states reporting). Food scrap recovery is slowly growing. More than 180 US cities and counties are now collecting residential food scraps for composting, up from only a handful a few years ago.

“There is more demand for composting, especially from businesses and institutions that want to source separate food scraps and not throw them in the landfill,” says Nora Goldstein, Editor of BioCycle, which conducted the state-by-state assessment of composting infrastructure and policies, “We not only need more infrastructure to compost these materials, we need more infrastructure to manufacture high quality compost that our soils — and climate — desperately need.” Continue reading

solidarity forever again
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Jul 23, 2014

Will Labor Solidarity Save the Post Office?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/labor-solidarity-save-post-office/

The United States Postal Service (USPS) management just ran into a possible game-changing obstacle to its shameful pursuit of a fully privatized post office:  labor solidarity. Here’s the background. For a decade the USPS has been aggressively shrinking, consolidating, and outsourcing the nation’s postal system.  In July 2011 management upped the ante by announcing the… Continue reading

local-authority_0
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Jul 21, 2014

Who Should Decide? States Rights, Local Authority and the Future of the Internet

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/decide-states-rights-local-authority-future-internet/

“(W)ithout power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can have no active citizens.”  That was the conclusion of Alexis de Tocqueville after touring a youthful American Republic in the early 1830s, as recorded in his classic Democracy in America. Today we are engaged in a renewed debate about the authority of… Continue reading

marsha_blackburn_makes_me_nervous_bumpersticker
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jul 22, 2014

Media Roundup: Blackburn Amendment Lights Up Newswires

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/media-roundup-blackburn-amendment-lights-newswires/

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance praises Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota for leading the growing list of organizations committed to defending the authority of communities to make their own decisions when it comes to build the Internet networks of tomorrow. Continue reading

solar and flag - flickr Deval Patrick
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 2, 2014

Celebrate Independence with 3 Steps Toward Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/celebrate-independence-3-steps-energy-self-reliance/

Being from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, I’m often asked, “You want everyone off-grid and independent with their own solar array and a battery, right?” In a word, no. But our mission of economic and energy self-reliance has several similarities to the kind of (economic) independence being sought by England’s American colonists in the 1770s and… Continue reading