Composting companies help keep your food waste out of landfills

About 40% of the groceries we buy gets thrown away as leftovers, scraps, and food we just don't eat. When it ends up in landfills, it fills them up faster and creates pollution.

Composting businesses are working to divert those scraps from landfills and turn them into nutrient-rich soil for gardens and farms.

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In fact, the composting industry is growing like a well-fertilized garden, from $6.8 billion in 2022 to $7.4 billion this year, according to market research firm ReportLinker.

"We have been composting here at A Fare Extraordinaire for about a year and a half," said CEO Rachel Volz.

The caterers at A Fare Extroadinare say they've diverted 36,000 pounds of food waste from going into landfills with the help of a Houston company called Moonshot Compost.

"Any food that guests have not eaten, or is left over on a buffet that can’t be sent to a homeless shelter," goes into their composting buckets, Volz explained.


Moonshot Compost provides caddies and compostable bags where commercial and residential customers can toss their food waste.  

Moonshot picks up the waste, in its new electric vehicle, then turns it into compost.

Moonshot co-founder Chris Wood says 22% of landfills are made up of food waste, creating a constant need to build more landfills and creating pollution.

"When food waste goes to a landfill, it gets covered up. It emits methane. So those methane emissions, depending on the region, can be anywhere from 4% to 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions," said Wood.

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Moonshot combines the food scraps with yard waste and other components.  After three to twelve months, it becomes nutrient-rich soil that they deliver to community gardens.

"When it's returned to the soil, it provides nutrients and other types of microorganisms that make the soil better tolerant of heat. It's able to hold water in place better," said Wood.

Moonshot shows customers a Diversion Dashboard of the pounds of food waste they've diverted from landfills, and pounds of saved carbon dioxide.  Customers can also get compost delivered back to them to fertilize their own gardens.

"I think we all need to take ownership as business owners in our environment, in how we treat our waste.  It makes no sense that trash, recycling, and food waste would all go into the same bin," said Volz.

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Moonshot says in Houston, they've helped divert 3.8 million pounds of food waste from landfills.  Some of their other customers include Rice University, Snooze, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Like recycling, a composting service has a fee.  For residential customers, Moonshot charges $29 a month to pick it up from your home, or you can take it to a drop site for $10 a month.