Solutions journalism is news about how communities and organizations are responding to social and environmental problems. This collection contains solutions stories about various composting initiatives at different scales. One story details how Anchorage, Alaska implemented a simple system in which residents bring a bucket of scraps to a central location, and receive a bucket of compost in return. In another story, San Francisco has been able to divert 80% of waste from landfills by implementing a mandatory composting and recycling program. Many U.S. cities are introducing composting programs, in tandem with Pay-As-You-Throw policies, to reduce waste and divert food scraps from the landfill. In Paris, Les Alchimistes uses technology to transform the city's food waste into compost in a period of just two weeks - compared with 6-12 months in nature - which is then sold to local farmers. Social enterprise is also taking on Pakistan's waste problem, collecting organic waste, processing it and selling it as compost.
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Food waste has to potential to be turned into reusable material but unfortunately, especially in Western countries, it contributes significantly to climate change. The UN estimates that a third of all food grown in the world ends up spoiled, rotting in fields, or thrown away in landfills. There, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. The simple and effective alternative to this is composting. It works by microbes in the soil feasting on organic material, resulting in a valuable organic fertilizer that sequesters carbon. Composting works on any scale, from the backyard to city-wide programs or even country-wide programs as seen in Denmark. Thanks to its ability to reduce methane, waste and return carbon into soil, Project Drawdown lists composting among the best solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study by the Center for Behavior and the Environment, composting and reducing food waste are among the seven most impactful actions that individuals and households in the United States can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.