Composting your food waste is far better for the environment than throwing it in the trash, according to calculations made by researchers at the University of Washington and reported in Compost Science & Utilization.
Currently, 95 percent of food scraps get buried in landfills, where they generate significant amounts of the greenhouse gas methane, a major contributor to global climate change. Gas collection systems at landfills can help prevent methane from being released into the atmosphere, but they operate at only 40 to 75 percent efficiency, and not all landfills have them. Compost can be used to improve the health of your soil (a plus if you garden), but if you don’t use it yourself, some communities offer curbside compost pickups.
For more information about composting, visit the website of the Global Compost Project. In addition, beginning composters can get practical advice on the state of California's CalRecycle site or from the nonprofit group NSF.
Also see Sustainable Eating: An Eco-Friendly Diet.