Placing a banana in a compost bin

Approximately 40 percent of the food purchased in the U.S. is thrown away. Composting is the best way to manage food waste.

When food waste is collected and mixed with other organic matter, it will decompose naturally into a rich humus. This very rich humus can be used for landscaping and gardening projects at your home or in your neighborhood.  Approximately 25 percent of the waste stream is made up or organic waste that can be composted at home. 

It is easy to compost.  We can help you learn to compost at home, at church, school or work.  Training will include what can be composted and how you can set up a spot to compost.  If you would like compost, fill out the contact form on our website.  Interested residents will be provided with information on how to track the food waste so it can be reported to benefit the county.  Each county in Tennessee is required to divert a minimum of 25 percent of the waste stream from a Class 1 landfill, and volunteer composting will help the county achieve those goals. Tonnages composted will be reported on their Annual Progress Report that is required by the State of Tennessee.

Organics make up approximately one-fourth of the waste stream. Diverting organics from the waste stream will decrease the amount of tipping fees our county pays for disposal in a Class I Landfill. Composting at home decreases the amount the county spends to transport the food waste to the landfill and also provides a product that beautifies our community through landscaping. Food disposed in a landfill is compressed and covered with dirt or another covering.  Once oxygen is not available to help the organics decompose, they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen). Methane gas is formed as a byproduct and as methane is released into the atmosphere it contributes to warming the earth. Composting food waste is environmentally friendly because it allows food to decomposes naturally without releasing methane gas. Landfills are the third largest emitter of methane gas due to the organic waste -- which can be easily composted instead.


Reports vary about how much food each person throws away annually. The EPA reports that each person throws away approximately 189.9 pounds of food waste annually, while other reports suggest this number is at least twice as much. Approximately 40 percent of the food that is grown in the U.S. is thrown away. Growing food in the U.S. uses 50 percent of available land, 10 percent of the energy expended and 80 percent of the fresh water that is consumed annually.