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Most Americans Interested in Composting, Survey Finds

Most Americans Interested in Composting, Survey Finds

Illustration by Andres Guzman.
Illustration by Andres Guzman.

Most Americans say, “I’d love my community to compost…just don’t try and stick me with the bill.” Our solution: support public composting, but don’t sit and wait for it to happen. Do it yourself, right now.

Results of a late December survey released today by the National Waste & Recycling Association has found that a large majority of Americans would compost their food and yard waste if it was easier, but nearly two-thirds of respondents balked at any potential increase in service cost or taxes to bring waste collection or compost processing efforts to their communities.
The trade group’s findings show that while 72 percent of Americans do not compost, 67 percent of non-composters would be willing to if it was more convenient where they live—though 62 percent of respondents having no interest in footing the bill for the convenience.

  • Among Americans who have gardens or a yard, 79 percent say they would be willing to use fertilizers, mulch and other gardening products made from food waste compost.
  • 77 percent of Americans say that they understand the importance of separating food waste and organic yard material from general household trash.
  • 68 percent of those who do not compost publicly programs would be willing to maintain an additional bin for compostables if their community implemented a program.

Noting that the conversion of organics into either compost or energy sources is an evolving trend, Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association, said the greatest obstacle to an organics revolution in the U.S may be the lack of understanding by the American public about its value.
She added: “If you are passionate about expanding composting opportunities, you need to do more than lobby your local government officials or your community waste and recycling services provider to build such a program. You need to support efforts to educate your neighbors about the value of composting food waste.”
For more information
The EPA Composting Fact Sheet and How-to Guide (2 pages in PDF format)
Digging It | EcoScraps Compost Mix
Container Gardening 101 | Big Results in Small Spaces
Landscape Fabric | It’s NOT the New Black


  1. steven1111
    January 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Here in Seattle we have such a great composting program that we gave up our own compost bin in favor of the city mulch we can get bagged and ready to use, from our own garden and kitchen waste. It’s wonderful and I hope other cities look to us as a model for how to do it well.
    Thanks for posting this,

    1. The Editors of Garden Variety
      January 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      That’s fabulous! Most home gardeners can’t produce nearly enough compost to meet their needs, so it’s also a great idea on that level. Thank YOU for letting people in other areas know about the possibilities that community composting holds. Hopefully, other cities, town and municipalities will follow suit.

  2. Lori Fontanes
    January 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Other great sources of compost are autumn leaves and grass clippings. Would love to see more in-place recycling of those “free” fertilizers instead of deploying so many energy-intensive removal strategies in the expensive & often counter-productive pursuit of pristine lawns. IMHO. 😉 PS, thanks for stopping by my blog!!!

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