Food waste is a significant problem for the environment and for food access. Approximately a quarter of the overall food supply, both residential and institutional, is wasted: either buried in methane-emitting landfills or burned in pollution-spewing incinerators. In September 2015, the U.S. set a national goal to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030. However, in Maryland almost a million tons of food waste is generated each year with only 15.5% of these scraps being diverted.
Legislation from Senator Gallion and Delegate Shetty will increase the infrastructure for compost and get farmers the materials they need to produce higher quality compost. Right now, farmers are allowed to use up to 40,000 sq. feet of their property to compost manure, but when they add food scraps to the mix (which important to get the right mix of materials) they are limited to only 5,000 sq. feet. HB253/SB262 changes these regulations so that farmers can compost food scraps with more square footage, increasing opportunities for processing food scraps from schools and other sources across the whole state.
Please tell your elected officials to support expanded on farm composting of food scraps.