Waste > Composting

Composting reduces the environmental impacts associated with waste disposal, and if done properly, it can even save your organization money through reduced waste, hauling, disposal, and fertilizer costs.  There are many opportunities to reduce waste by initiating composting programs at a stadium, ranging from collection of grass clippings and other landscaping wastes, to collecting kitchen scraps, fan food waste, and compostable serviceware.

Composting infrastructure varies widely by market. Consult with your waste hauler to learn more about the services it provides and the composting facilities available in your market. Also consider joining the EPA’s free WasteWise program, which provides members with several benefits, including a technical assistance team that will help your organization investigate composting.

For listings of compost service providers near your city, visit Earth 911’s Business Resources directory and the Environmental Yellow Pages.  Also visit the EPA’s Composting website for more information on composting programs in your area.

For a comprehensive discussion of waste and use reduction, see EPA’s Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste and NRDC’s “Too Good to Throw Away.”

What is composting?

Composting is the controlled breakdown of organic waste (generally yard waste and certain types of food) into a useful product that can be used as a mulch and fertilizer. It is easy and cost-effective, and since it can reduce the volume of your organization’s waste stream and reduce your need to buy mulch and fertilizer, composting can even save money. You can consider whether it’s possible to set up a composting program on-site, or work with your waste hauler or other local haulers to collect organic waste for offsite composting.

Composting Case Studies

By introducing a comprehensive waste diversion program aimed at zero waste, the Seattle Mariners have increased the diversion rate at Safeco Field from 12% in 2005, to over 70% in 2010.  By switching to compostable serviceware and packaging, the Mariners were able to drastically improve their waste diversion through an aggressive composting program. As a result, the Mariners saved $72,000 on waste disposal between 2007 and 2010. The Mariners have continued to improve these efforts, averaging an 82% diversion rate between 2010-2011.

The 2011 U.S. Open launched a composting program at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that diverted all food waste, kitchen wastes, and compostable serviceware and napkins from the food court to a compost farm in Connecticut.  52 tons of organic waste were kept out of the landfill, resulting in a 30% reduction in carting costs for the USTA.

Environmental Benefits

Generating compost and using it in facility landscaping can save money by reducing the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Food, landscaping debris and wood waste make up a third of our everyday trash. When organic compounds decompose in a landfill, they generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Composting reduces the amount of waste directed to landfills by transforming organic waste into useful fertilizer, and it prevents the emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses.

Additional Resources

Master Composter
EPA – Composting
The Compost Guide
Garden Guides – How to Compost
WasteWise – How to Start or Expand a Recycling Program