Food scrap recycling programs becoming more popular in urban areas

For those who live in bustling urban areas, a compost heap may not seem that useful, as many people who live in cities do not garden and have very little use for additional compost. However, municipalities are buying into the idea of large-scale food scrap recycling as a way to inject money into local budgets by taking advantage of materials that would have otherwise sat in a landfill for the foreseeable future, according to

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that solid food waste makes up about 14.1 percent of the garbage generated in this country, but only about 2.5 percent makes its way into a compost heap or is reused. To improve upon these levels, urban areas such as Howard County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. recently added a food scraps can to the town's recycling program. This will help the area save money on hauling fees and the compost can be sold to generate money for the local community.

While Howard County has made an inroads into food scrap recycling, San Francisco, California, still boasts one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the nation. It requires businesses, restaurants and apartment complexes to separate food scraps and in turn is sold to the area's vineyards and farms. According to recent estimates, San Francisco keeps 72 percent of its waste out of local landfills, and the city hopes to have a zero waste policy by 2020.

Food scrap recycling has become one of the most viable ways for urban areas to reduce their waste levels, and pilot programs are being rolled out around the country. By taking one extra step, residents can help out their communities exponentially and divert tons of waste from the local dump.