Composting is a growing solution to solid waste management. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of waste that has been diverted from landfill disposal through composting has quadrupled since 1990, from 2% of total MSW to 8.4% today. In fact, 62% of all yard trimmings are composted in more than 3,500 municipal yard trimming composting programs in the US and 23 states ban at least some organics disposal in landfills, mostly leaves, grass and other yard debris.
The problem is that about 68 million tons of solid waste being sent to landfills is organic material that is not being recycled or recovered. This includes yard debris and food scraps, 23%, and wet/soiled paper, 5%.
At a national average landfill fee of $35 per ton (according to the National Solid Waste Management Association), this disposing of these 68 million tons of compostable materials costs cities and municipalities more than $2 billion each year in unnecessary and easily avoided landfill costs.
Instead of a cost to municipal budgets, good-quality compost material (free from plastic debris or other contaminants) can be an asset. Depending on the grade and quality of the material, compost humus can be sold for $26 to $100 per ton.