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Food waste decomposition in landfills is harmful to the environment as it releases the damaging greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). But what is more environment friendly - home composting or council food waste collection, and why?
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As you have pointed out, both home composting and food waste recycling are considerably better for the environment than sending organic waste to landfill. Home composting has other benefits, making it more eco-friendly than council waste collection.

East Suffolk Council promotes home composting, since council food waste collection involves the transportation of waste, using fuel and releasing harmful emissions. They also note that home composting reduces the demand for shop-bought peat composts. The use of peat compost in gardens damages the environment by contributing to the depletion of natural peat habitats.

Many UK local councils encourage the use of certified bioplastic bags to contain compostable food waste for collection. However, according to Sarah Gibbens in National Geographic, bioplastics are still a new and controversial technology. The findings of a 2011 study by the University of Pittsburgh is cited by Gibbens, who notes that the impacts of cultivating plants for use in bioplastics include the use of land that could otherwise be used to grow food, and the use of chemical fertilizers that go on to pollute water systems. See Would Using Biodegradable Plastics Solve the World’s Plastic Problems?” (OneSharedEarth, April 2018) for a summary on different alternative plastics.

Lastly, the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruptions to council services, with many - such as Leeds City Council - temporarily suspending food waste collection. Home composting leaves you in control of the organic waste you produce, so you can ensure that it ends up being converted into compost, rather than ending up in landfill as an alternative.


BBC, 'The ethics of using peat', BBC Gardening Guides (2014), accessed at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/today_in_your_garden/ethical_peat.shtml

East Suffolk Council, 'Home Composting', East Suffolk Council (2020), accessed at: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/waste-collection-and-disposal/food-waste/home-composting/

Gibbens, S., 'What you need to know about plant-based plastics', National Geographic (15 November 2018), accessed at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/are-bioplastics-made-from-plants-better-for-environment-ocean-plastic/

Leeds City Council, 'Food waste bin', Leeds.Gov.UK (2020), accessed at: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/bins-and-recycling/your-bins/food-waste-bin

Would Using Biodegradable Plastics Solve the World’s Plastic Problems?” (OneSharedEarth, April 2018)

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