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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

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.


CONTACT: Rebecca Toews

PHONE: 612-808-0689


Download both reports:

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

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher | No Comments | Updated on Aug 15, 2014

The Birth of Community Broadband – Video

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

ILSR is excited to announce a new short video examining an impressive municipal broadband network, Glasgow Kentucky. Glasgow was the first municipal broadband network and indeed, seems to have been the first citywide broadband system in the United States. We partnered with the Media Working Group to produce this short documentary and we have the… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 13, 2014

A Solar Ownership Comeback? John Farrell Talks with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

A month ago I wrote about the potential for a comeback for solar ownership (instead of leasing) as the economics and options for ownership continue to improve. Yesterday I discussed this trend in depth on “The Attitude” with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN. Subscribe to the podcast here, or listen by clicking the player below:   Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Aug 14, 2014

FCC Releases Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Progress

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

  Section 702 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to report annually on whether “advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC kicked off its tenth such report on Tuesday by releasing a “Notice of Inquiry,” (NOI) in effect asking individuals and groups around… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Aug 4, 2014

Working Partner Update: Community Purchasing Alliance, Washington DC

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Through working with the national organization Partnership for Working Families, ILSR was introduced to Community Purchasing Alliance in our hometown of Washington, DC. The introduction was timely as CPA was in the middle of negotiating garbage and recycling contracts with local haulers. ILSR is pleased to assist and be associated with this faith-based community development network. Continue reading