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Watch: Why Seattle’s food waste doesn’t belong in the dump

An inside look at the huge amounts of food waste that are thrown in the trash

CompostVideoThe City of Seattle now requires that residents deposit food waste and other compostable items into their food and yard waste carts—but why?

A new video – What a waste! Seattle’s food waste doesn’t belong in dump – looks at the vast quantities of food waste Seattleites throw into the garbage. That wasted food, 100,000 tons every year, is sent to rot in an in eastern Oregon landfill, 250 miles away.

Much of that waste can be avoided by putting organic materials – including food or compostable paper, pizza boxes, paper napkins and paper towels – into the yard waste cart. It not only makes good environmental sense, but since the beginning of this year it has been the law in Seattle.

The new food waste requirements were passed last year by Seattle City Council and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray. The ordinance is projected to divert as much as 38,000 more tons of food scraps from the landfill each year, helping Seattle achieve its goal to recycle or compost 60 percent of its waste by 2015.

Any organic materials, including food waste, yard waste, and food-soiled paper items should go in the food and yard waste cart. Residents can also maintain a compost pile in their backyards. The garbage should be reserved only for things that cannot be composted or recycled.

Today, more than 300,000 single-family, multi-family and commercial properties participate in food and yard waste collection. Seattleites divert more than 125,000 tons of food and yard waste from the landfill each year. In 2013, Seattle’s diverted 56.2 percent of its waste – 407,125 tons – from the landfill via recycling and composting.