What Is Composting and How Does it Work? | One Small Step | NowThis

According to the EPA, every year food accounts
for 20% of what Americans throw away. This is a huge issue because food and
other organic materials like paper towels, in landfills cause 15% of methane gas emissions in the
U.S. and are Your leftover food doesn’t have to end up
at a landfill. Instead, you can give it a second life as
compost a.k.a. I wanted to find out how this works, so I
decided to follow my own food scraps. For about a month I’ve been collecting my
old scraps and keeping them in my freezer so they don’t smell. These are the old scraps that I’ve been
keeping in my freezer. You can see, egg shells, tea bags, tops of
peppers, all these things are compostable. And today I’m going to drop them off and
compost them. If you don’t live in a city you can compost in your backyard, by getting a big composting container. Search online to see what works best for you. If you’re in a city, you can keep your scraps
in your freezer or get a small container to keep inside your house or apartment. Check if you’re covered by a curbside collection
program or a food scraps drop-off program. Today, I’m taking my waste to a food-scraps
drop-off site in Union Square. New York’s Department of Sanitation and
partner groups run 60 food-scrap drop-off sites covering 3.9 million New York residents. Most locations are open 1-3 days per week. After adding my food to the collection barrels,
I’m ready to follow my scraps to the compost processing site. These barrels are full we’re gonna cap them up,
and we’re gonna put them in the truck and we’ll head to the site. The NYC Compost Project and the Lower East
Side Ecology center have been turning New Yorkers’ food scraps into compost on a one
acre plot in lower Manhattan for over 20 years. We accept vegetarian food waste, fruits vegetables,
egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags. We do not accept any oily, prepared foods, meats,
cheeses, none of that stuff. And why is that? Because the composting process that we use
here is not to the scale that it can break down the pathogens that are present in the
meats and prepared foods. Each week, they handle around 8 tons of food
scraps. And that is just a tiny fraction of the over 14,000 tons of food New York residents throw in the trash every week. After food scraps arrive at the site, they are transported into bins and combined with sawdust. Composting requires two types of materials,
‘browns’ like the sawdust are high in carbon. ‘Greens’ like my food scraps are high
in nitrogen. Compost piles need a proper mix of both to
properly break down. Basically composting you’re creating this
ecosystem for the bacteria and fungi to do the work that they’re built to do. And that’s the decomposition process. The bins protect the material from pests,
as liquid drains off, and the decomposition process is kick-started. Then after two weeks, the decomposing food
is moved to big, long piles called windrows. The windrows long shape allows oxygen to better
reach the decomposing material and creates ideal conditions for the scraps to breakdown. For the next 2-3 months, the piles are turned
over every week so that oxygen can reach the decomposing soil. The final phase, the compost sits for 1 to
2 months in a process called ‘curing’. This period allows the pile to cool down,
and to become even more rich with fungi, bacteria, and nutrients that plants love. After curing, the compost is sent through
a screen so that only small, fine pieces are left. Anything that’s not compostable will remain
as garbage at the end of the process. I hate these they’re our fruit stickers. They’re everywhere
in our compost process. So if your composting take off your fruit
stickers before you put it in a compost bin. Based on the outside temperature, the full
composting process takes about 4-6 months. The NYC Compost Project gives away or sells
the final compost back to residents or to the city. We take our finished compost and we add it
to tree beds across New York City to help rebuild the health of trees. One of our strong
missions is to rebuild New York City soil and so by collecting New Yorkers food scraps
we’re able to produce compost to rebuild the soil in the city. The EPA estimates about 5% of U.S. Food gets
composted. Despite that current low rate, composting
programs are on the rise across the U.S. It’s estimated 6.7 million U.S. households
have access to a compost drop-off program like the one I used in New York City. And Curbside collection programs have risen
by 87% since 2014. That same year, New York City launched the
nation’s largest compost curbside pick-up program. So far around 3.3 million New York residents are
covered by the curbside program. Hopefully, my neighborhood will be covered soon. Keeping food out of landfills is an important
part of the fight against climate change. When food scraps go to landfill they don’t
get any oxygen, and so they don’t properly breakdown. Instead they release methane By composting we can decreasing the amount of
greenhouses gases released into the atmosphere and Not only that, sending food waste to the dump
is costly and it’s inefficient. Waste is New York City’s biggest export. So we send a lot of organic matter heavy wet
organic matter to other states, the whole region accepts our trash as an import so that
they can bury it in their own landfills. It’s not really the greatest system. We’re burying a resource on the ground and
making it impossible to use it again, creating greenhouse gases and not to mention the crazy
amount of resources that are required to transport all of that material. And now I’m going to show you how to use
this city made compost on your house plants. What you do is take a little pinch of it, a little handful, and you give it to your plant. Put it on the top of the soil and it acts as a natural fertilizer basically like a food for your plant. It’s full of nutrients and they just love it. And they don’t even need that much,
just a little bit on the top. And what’s so cool is it’s all natural,
no chemicals involved. And it used to be your food. Now it’s feeding your plants. I mean, come on. This was One Small Step. I’m Lucy Biggers. See you guys next time. Bye! Do you compost at home and have any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you guys next time.

72 thoughts on “What Is Composting and How Does it Work? | One Small Step | NowThis

  1. It’s very hard for many people to compost as more people are moving to cities were it is significantly harder to compost this material. Also the land to compost these scraps is more expensive especially in cities where these flatter areas are in higher demand for more development.

    That being said it’s still important to compost especially for families in the suburbs were they can teach their kids new skills. Just like in my household. We compost everything from shredded papers to expired produce. It works out as we help the earth and save money on fertilizer for our garden.

  2. I kept a worm composting system under my kitchen sink for at least a year and it really cut down on the odor created by food waste rotting in the trash can😊

  3. I live in New Mexico where it is dry and often need to water the compost pile to have enough moisture for it to breakdown. If you live in dry climate you may need to do the same. I keep it fenced in too since rodents like skunks can frequent if not.

    Biggest challenge for me is turning the compost pile by hand frequent enough. It’s ok when small pile. But as it grows much more of a job.

  4. No tea bags! Most commercial tea bags have plastic in them! Several tea companies are working on ways to eliminate the plastic in the bag, but until then go with loose tea.

  5. Wow cool series 🙂 I wonder why the videos have such a low view count though. More people should watch these videos!

  6. Check out the global app @sharewaste. It connects locals with other locals who are happy to accept food scraps for their chicken or home composting systems

  7. I m from Indonesia n i compost my leftover food , fruit skin, tea bag etc.
    I have plan to have chicken so they can eat my leftover food….hopefully it can happen soon

  8. I absolutely appreciate the idea the of composting and I would love to compost my own food as well but I am scared of worms so I don't think I can do that.

  9. If CR&R is your waste management system, you can put organic food waste in their green bins! Double check in your area, most cases are true! This makes composting SUPER easy. Simply collect this waste in a bin kept in the freezer and dispose in green bins when full.

  10. Keeping the leftovers in the freeze does not get rid of harmful bacterias. Which means your freeze keeps all that bugs in side

  11. Years ago I tried to set up a compost bin in the kitchen but then worms escaped and they died a horrible death on the carpets 🙁 my dear mother was NOT HAPPY.

  12. We have 2 composting bins, one is filled to the top and you let it decompose completely while you fill up the other bin with new stuff. That way you can use your compost quicker

  13. you mentioned the methane problem with the food waste and how it impacts the global warming, how does the process of composting like that prevent the methane to be released into the atmosphere?
    let me give you a hint, it doesn't 🙂

  14. Great vid! So many people garden…..and BUY compost each spring when it is very easy to make your own.Every fall we gather leaves horse manure food waste and place in garden beds for next Springs flower planting. Plus since
    30 miles south of DC in country ……when city fam visit they bring frozen food waste and in Summer they pick free flower💐🌷🌷🌷

  15. I live in a building and I have a composting system in my balcony, it helps me reduce a lot of the trash I throw away each day, like a 50% of it!

  16. My local composting place is only open during normal work hours on select Fridays during the year. It sucks because I can never use it

  17. Most cities allow you to compost. You don't have to buy anything. Just take a little plot of your yard away from the house and where nobody ever sees (nosy neighbors who don't understand the environment) and turn over the soil with your scraps so their kind of hidden from animals. Don't buy any of those worthless plastic bins, reuse an old plastic bin or just old wood or anything, just turn over the soil a couple times a year and spread your new compost under your plants or mix with your new potted plants. You can even bury old rotted wood in your lawn, under your trees/bushes. It's all mother nature.

  18. I used to live in a city where they collected your compost (which did include meat, cheese and processed scraps as well) weekly. Then they took it and processed into fuel to run the pick-up vehicles.

  19. Our composting process here in our city in the Philippines uses anaerobic process so the compost/soil enhancer is ready within a month. But yours is great as you have 3.3 million residents participating in the program.

  20. Ask your city to make it the law for condos and apartments to have access to compost! 🌱

    It's taken a year of calls and emails here in Austin and we can't get it due to our slumlords.

  21. Love this! I’m glad I came across this video, after I watched it, I googled a compost drop off in my city & I think I’ll start using it!

  22. I don’t understand why 17 persons don’t like this amazing video. If this is the secret of the good life. We need open the eyes. Good work greetings in from Colombia

  23. lemme be blunt. almost all of this content i already have awareness about. i am watching more videos from this channel for this cute girl. she's really pretty. i mean loot at her smile. wow.

  24. This video was so helpful! I compost in NYC too. Every Wednesday I drop off my fruits/veggies scraps at the farmers market. I use Trader Joe’s product bags to carry all of my scraps because they are compostable. It’s so nice to see the process of how it becomes food for plants!

  25. I'm sick and I've been watching all your videos in my bed attempting to sleep. Now I have all this information lol😂

    Edit : great content👌🏼

  26. I really appreciate seeing more posts like this. The political stuff is a huge turn off because it's already everywhere else

  27. Germany has had this for such a long time i can’t remember when we didn’t have it. Either you have your own compost in your garden or you have a normal bin that gets collected by the city and then composted in a big scale.

  28. Why aren't the cities adding a simple pipe for methane release? If smart, they'll capture and sell/use the valuable gas for things like…heating houses! Many other cities do, why not the largest of the free world?

  29. We've been doing the enhanced version of this in Finland since long before my birth, biological waste (anything from plants to meat and dairy) is collected in the same way as regular waste and all that the average person has to do is keep to separate bins. Currently there's also a legal requirement for apartment buildings to have the bins along with recycling stations for paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic, available and properly maintained

  30. This is awesome- I’ve never heard of non-government groups collecting scraps for a business- how fantastic! There is very little composting that goes on in Japan outside of the zero-waste town of Kamikatsu where it’s compulsory to all residents (great!) I compost our kitchen waste & it’s reduced our garbage by 50% so imagine if everyone did it! Thanks for sharing!

  31. You all need to stop pretending climate change is an issue, it's a normal cycle on the planet and you will never stop it….

  32. I have a great tip! Do you want to speed up the process of composting?? Do VERMI-COMPOST, and let the earth worms do most of the job. The little guys will help you by: speeding the whole process (really much faster); making a better product (worm castings have additional properties and benefits); the process becomes less "hands on" (like…you don't have to turn the compost to give it oxygen, the worms make all the job with their tunnels); less smell (or no smell at all!). And many many more. Try it !

  33. Ur vedios are best ur doing an awesome work please make a vedio on pollution caused due to animal agriculture and live stocks (cowspiracy) which is a bigger issue then plastic cowspiracy is a Major reason for climate change

  34. I grew up with a compost bin so I though everyone composted. It's only recently I'm finding out that lies if people don't !!!

  35. Yes, I have a worm compost bin at my house so that when I have food scraps left over, I can feed it to the worms and then use what they have excreted as fertilizer for my plants and soil.

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