Composting Action Team

Composting Food Scraps

The mission of the Composting Action Team is to enable a community wide food composting solution for the city of Ashland that supports local farms.

Our team:
• Bob Altaras
• Angelina Cook
• Flavia Franco, Southern Oregon Food Solutions
• Kate Kennedy
• Adam Hotley, Ashland Community Composting

Board liaison: Candace Turtle

Flavia Franco is a local climate activist who is fighting for an end to food waste.

Why Compost Food Scraps?

The problem of food waste is multi-layered. Project Drawdown states:

When food is wasted, all the energy, resources, and money that went into producing, processing, packaging, and transporting it are wasted, too.  Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gasses at every stage. The food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions.

– Drawdown

Our Focus

While reducing food waste is extremely important, the Ashland Climate Collaborative leaves this work to others, including Southern Oregon Food Solutions.

When food waste is dumped in landfills, when they are sealed off from oxygen, methane, aka “natural gas” is created. Our action team is focused narrowly on creating a city-wide system to compost food scraps in a way that supports local farms and to meet our goal to reduce sources of methane.  When compost is used by farms we enrich our soils and food and support farmers, who can avoid buying fertilizers. Healthy soils sequester water and carbon as well as nutrients.

Read more about why we need to reduce food waste and divert scraps from our landfills:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report in 2021 on the environmental impacts of food waste (PDF, 12 MB). EPA estimated that each year, U.S. food loss and waste embodies 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (million MTCO2e) GHG emissions (excluding landfill emissions) – equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. This estimate does not include the significant methane emissions from food waste rotting in landfills. EPA data show that food waste is the single most common material landfilled and incinerated in the U.S., comprising 24 and 22 percent of landfilled and combusted municipal solid waste, respectively. The report also highlights the benefits of preventing food loss and waste in terms of agricultural land, blue water (i.e., freshwater from surface water and groundwater), fertilizer, and energy.

Food Waste and Its Links to Greenhouse Gases, by Jean Buzby, USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison, Jan. 24, 2022