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Biodegradable Cleaning Products and Eco-Friendly Plastics From Mushroom Waste

In a recycling twist that most people probably have never considered, mushroom waste is now being used for compost and biofuel in an experimental project in Europe. According to Science Daily, the system will be “part of the subsequent processes for the cleaning, food and plastics sectors.” More than 50,000 tons of mushroom waste are generated every week in Europe, Science Daily added.

Truly, the next food frontier is recycling, so this is an exciting development from the agricultural standpoint. While it may seem like a banana peel here and pile of spoiled greens there would do little in the way of environmental harm, food waste is actually the second largest component of waste sent to U.S. landfills, making up 18 percent of the waste stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That’s one reason why residential food composting programs are currently being tested in a number of U.S. cities, including New York. This is especially important because compost is a valuable resource that can reduce fertilizer use while enhancing the chemical, physical and biological properties of soil.

Composting food waste is more than simply conserving limited landfill space. For starters, when organic materials sit in landfills, bacteria break them down into methane gas, which is the third largest source of U.S. emissions, so cutting back on organics entering landfills cuts back on these emissions. Another way to reduce this emission footprint is to support regenerative land management by focusing on carbon sequestration, which restores soil and regenerates water stores.

You can compost in your own backyard, too. Tumblers (rotating drums) are great for this because they make aeration a breeze — all you have to do is turn the drum every few days, which takes less effort than turning a pile with a fork or shovel. They are also much faster to compost than using a compost pile or box; you can get great compost in as little as one to two weeks, while the piles will take many months to digest.
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