1. What is Organic Waste?

Basically, organic waste is anything that comes from something that was once alive, such as plants or animals. It is biodegradable, which means it is able to break down into simpler molecules. Also, it can exist in either a solid or liquid form. Organic waste is often the result of household trash, agriculture, or industrial production.

2. Organic Waste Materials

Some examples include:

  • Food trash
  • Paper trash
  • Biodegradable plastics
  • Animal waste
  • Human waste
  • Sewage
  • Non-hazardous wood

3. What is Organic Waste Used For?

Organic waste can be used in many helpful ways. Ideally, you want to prevent it from being wasted at all. The EPA has a Food Recovery Hierarchy. It lists some common ways to prevent food organic waste from being wasted. Recommended uses are listed below from preferred to least desirable.

  • Source Reduction (Reduce how much extra food is made)
  • Feed Hungry People (Donate extra food to people in need)
  • Feed Animals (Food scraps can become animal food)
  • Industrial Uses (Provide waste oils for rendering & fuel conversion & food scraps for digestion to recover energy)
  • Composting (To add nutrients to soil)
  • Landfill / Incineration (Last resort)

4.  Proper Disposal

Organic waste management ensures that trash is disposed of in a proper way. In turn, a city’s residents as well as its wildlife will benefit from its efforts. Alternatively, improper disposal is extremely harmful to the environment. Many items still end up in landfills, unfortunately.

5. Why Landfills Are Not a Solution

Organic waste disposal in landfills has serious negative effects. Essentially, organic matter is buried in a landfill without access to correct oxygen and moisture levels. Then, the waste begins the process of anaerobic decomposition. In turn, methane is produced which harms our atmosphere. As a result, organic waste becomes hazardous waste. It invades our landfills and creates greenhouses gases far more harmful than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, according to a study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food loss and waste accounts for about 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. 

6. Recycling Methods

Recycling is a great method of organic waste management.  For example, recycling can reduce greenhouse gas-emitting items from ever finding their way to a landfill. Fortunately, there are different common methods that can be used to recycle these items, depending on the product.

Some methods include:

  • Composting (decaying of organic matter with correct oxygen and moisture levels)
  • Using the waste as animal feed, when appropriate. Contact local farmers to see if your kitchen waste is acceptable for their animals.
  • Rendering (can be used for animal tissues)
  • Sewage recycling
  • Anaerobic digestion (can turn food waste into fuel & electricity production)
  • Finding a facility that specializes in grinding and composting organic waste

7. Composting at Home

Composting adds nutrients and minerals to the soil. In effect, it improves plant growth and soil richness. It can lessen the need for extra fertilizers in gardens. Also, it saves water by helping the soil keep necessary moisture.

Compost bins are fantastic options to use if you wish to compost at home. Some kitchen waste, animal waste, and garden cuttings are all terrific choices to compost. The process can take time and patience. Food waste can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 12 months to fully break down. It often depends on how shredded it is, how often it’s turned, and what it is made up of. However, some animal waste, such as chicken manure, takes up to 12 months before it’s ready for use.

8. What You Can Compost

Some great examples include:

  • Animal manure from some animals
  • Cardboard rolls, brown paper bags
  • Teabags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells (not eggs)
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Garden cuttings
  • Hair/fur
  • Wood chips/untreated wood
  • Leaves
  • Hay/straw
  • Dryer lint
  • Paper towels

9. What Not to Compost

Some examples include: 

  • Diseased plant material or weeds
  • Fats or grease
  • Dairy products
  • Meat, fish, or poultry scraps
  • Pet (dogs, cats) waste that may carry parasites
  • Inorganic waste

10. What Do You Do With Compost

Once you’ve designed a plan, creating compost needs little effort. After time, you’re ready to use your compost. Check out these examples on how to best use your well-prepared compost pile.

  • Add your compost evenly to garden soil to improve the health of your garden and enrich your soil
  • Add to fruit trees
  • Use for potted plants
  • Add to flower beds
  • Use as mulch
  • Check for a curbside compost service in your area
  • Give it to a school, community garden, or farm

Using Organic Waste to Prevent Hazardous Waste

Finally, waste awareness prevents harm to our environment. Share about your experiences. In addition, encourage others to join your efforts. Choose long-term solutions such as composting, rather than tossing old food into the trash. These small steps can lead to big, positive changes for our world.


Are You Looking for HAZWOPER Certification Courses?

Hazardous Waste Online Training are available to obtain your HAZWOPER certifications.  All major courses are provided:

Hazwoper 24 Hour Online Training Course – For those that have limited or no exposure to hazardous waste sites or incidents.

Hazwoper 48 Hour Online Training Course – For those supervisors and site-specific  personnel that might have direct exposure to hazardous waster sites or incidents.

Hazwoper 8 Hour Annual Refresher – If you have taken a course in the past, you’ll need this one each year to maintain your certification!

Organic Waste | 10 Things You Need to Know (2021)