Climate change is the long-term shift in the Earth's average surface temperature that results from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, habitat degradation, and more. After decades of this issue being discussed in the media, many of us have "climate fatigue." But, if we approach it like any daunting task, breaking down the problem into small parts and solving them one at a time, the solution is obtainable, and we can be empowered by this success. Oakland Zoo envisions a planet focused on climate resilience, with all of us making small choices that add up to large and effective solutions.
Composting helps the planet by keeping organic waste out of landfills. When organic material goes into landfills, it decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen), and the bacteria breaking it down produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Putting food scraps, soiled paper products, and plant debris in the compost is one of the easiest ways to reduce methane emissions and slow climate change.
The California Senate Bill 1383 is a statewide effort to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) emissions by reducing organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025. Organic waste emits 20% of California methane, a super climate pollutant. California residents are diverting organic waste from landfills by putting it in a serviced compost bin or composting it themselves.
Together we are ensuring the organic waste (food, plant debris, food-contaminated paper products, etc.) we generate always goes into the compost and never the landfill. Each person making this daily choice prevents 60 pounds of methane from being produced annually!
If each of us inspires someone else to take this simple action, we can have an even more significant impact. Annually the average American household creates 1,200 lbs of organic waste that could be composted!
Black bears are hibernating less as the planet becomes warmer, driving them to look for food year-round, and wandering into human-populated areas searching for sustenance. We can help by correctly sorting our organic waste and using secure bear-proof waste bins, which keeps wildlife safe and reduces global greenhouse gas emissions, helping people and wildlife safely coexist.
Reticulated Giraffes are experiencing extended droughts in Kenya due to global changes in weather patterns created by a warmer climate. With less food and water for giraffes and humans, help is needed. Composting organic waste is a simple step to drastically reduce the planet’s global methane levels, creating a cooler world for all and bringing much-needed rain systems back to the region.
River otters' habitats are being inundated by garbage and microplastics. By correctly recycling plastic waste, we can keep our planet’s waterways clean and debris-free. This simple act will safeguard a blue planet for all.
Gibbons are losing their primary forests to agriculture and industries segmenting their habitat. By recycling metal and paper products, we can reduce our reliance on removing resources from the wild. Turning old items into new ones saves energy and helps keep wild habitats intact.
Diverting organic waste toward the compost system will turn it into fresh soil. Compost grows healthier plants with more robust root systems, which can produce more flowers and fruit, providing a more abundant source of nectar, pollen, and a more beneficial habitat for pollinators.
Adding compost to the ground creates a more robust soil. Compost can be used to amend the ground, bringing nutrients, improving soil structure, helping adjust the pH, and introducing beneficial microorganisms. Allowing organic waste to break down naturally reduces waste in landfills, reduces greenhouse gasses, and ultimately produces a healthier ecosystem.
Fresh compost contains nutrients and negates the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Pesticides can be toxic to pollinators, killing them directly or indirectly by reducing their food sources. Pesticides can also run the risk of leeching into nearby waterways, contaminating other areas downstream. Using compost makes a habitat for plants, pollinators, and humans.
Our on-site composting program diverts 375,000 yards of organic waste from landfills and creates over 188 tons of compost each year.
Pollinators are responsible for fertilizing 75% of the world’s crops, resulting in seeds and the fruits. We help pollinators survive and thrive in urban areas through our "Pathways for Pollinators" program.
From the food we serve to the biodegradable plates, utensils, cups, and food containers we use, our Green Cafes are both delicious and sustainable.
Composting organic waste is an easy and effective way to reduce waste, save money, support sustainability, improve soil health, and benefit the environment. Try it and see how it can help your home, community, and wildlife!
If you live elsewhere in California, check in with your City Services for resources that have been made available by SB 1383.