DRIGGS — Did you know the average American throws away more than 300 pounds of food each year?

In Teton Valley this food waste gets trucked more than 90 miles to the Circular Butte Landfill where it decomposes through an anaerobic process, ultimately releasing the greenhouse gas, methane, which is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Through grant funding from the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, and generous donations from Kate’s Real Food, Teton Valley Community Recycling is now able to offer valley residents a free solution — a “Community Composting Program.”

TVCR will be offering free, lightweight, backyard compost bins along with simple instructions and follow-up consults to help people succeed with their compost bins. We will also be tracking data on waste diverted from garbage cans into compost bins.

Composting, through the action of beneficial microbes, naturally breaks down food waste into a nourishing, natural “fertilizer” (aka “black gold”) to feed our local soils — so much better than buying soil amendments in big plastic bags. A well-managed compost pile has minimal odor and produces usable compost in approximately six months.

TVCR realizes that backyard composting is not practical for all residents for a variety of reasons such as restrictive neighborhood CCRs, proximity to bear habitat, not enough space, renting, or only living here seasonally. Don’t worry! We don’t want to leave you out, so we’re developing a “Neighborhood Network” by providing free 2.5 gallon or 5-gallon buckets for you to collect food waste to share with your neighbors who have traditional outdoor compost bins. It’s well documented that larger compost piles “cook” faster, so it benefits everyone to pool residential food waste — especially if there is a gardener ready to put those nutrients back into the soil!

For more information, contact tetonrecycling@gmail.com.

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