What Is Waste?

wasteOur world is like a web of interconnected strands, each one dependent on the other for support. When action in one area affects one of these strands the earth experiences an imbalance. Public landfills are straining our earth's natural resources, and each day more and more organic waste gets sent to the dump. This waste includes manure from large animal-raising facilities, unusable produce from agricultural businesses, grocery stores, schools, and household consumer waste such as grass clippings, coffee grounds, and fruits and vegetables. Organic waste is a major component of municipal solid waste. At least 13 U.S. states have 10 years or less before all of their landfills are completely full. New York City already ships its garbage out of state.

The organic waste component of landfill is broken down by micro-organisms to form a liquid "leachate" which contains bacteria, rotting matter and chemical contaminants from the landfill. This leachate can present a serious hazard if it reaches a watercourse or enters the water table. Decomposing organic matter in landfills also generates methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas, in large quantity.

According to Dan DiGrassi, Head of Solid Waste Management for Santa Cruz County, the county landfill has another fifteen years before it must be closed. It requires ten years to open a landfill. That leaves five short years for them to find a new site. This problem is being addressed in every Bay Area municipality. By recycling organic waste into organic fertilizer using red worms, Harvesting Solutions believes it can divert meaningful amounts of material from landfills back into the earth.