Brenda Platt Explains the Past, Present, and Future of Composting

Date: 4 Jan 2022 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

ILSR’s Composting Director Brenda Platt joined Charlie Pioli on the “Community Composting Podcast” to discuss the history of community composting, the implementation of state-wide composting policies, and institutionalizing zero waste. 

Composting has strong indigenous roots. Platt explains, “Indigenous communities have been engaged in composting for eons. The Mayans have been composting for hundreds of years.” Western culture has taken indigenous composting practices and incorporated them into local composting and farming initiatives. Many urban and rural farmers have built from these practices and used them at a small scale level to reduce waste and nourish fields. As the deleterious effects of climate change come to light, our nation is moving toward using these historical practices to decrease our carbon footprint. 

Platt explains how composting is a step everyone can take at a local level. “The beauty of composting directly is that it can be done locally. It can take place in the backyard, the school garden, large scale and literally everything in between. We should be promoting a decentralized and distributed infrastructure for composting.” The Compost Act, introduced in the Senate by Cory Booker, calls for $2 billion over a decade to build composting infrastructure. In this Act, composting would be redefined as a conservation activity which would open up funding opportunities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Policies are key to changing the composting landscape. 

After working for 35 years in the composting industry Platt explains that “We need a paradigm shift.” There needs to be behavioral change when it comes to human consumption. Our nation is taking steps to cut down waste, but we must plan for zero waste. Platt puts it simply, “We can’t limit our goals. If we don’t plan for zero waste we won’t get to zero waste.” 

Listen to the podcast here

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Luke Gannon

Luke Gannon is the Research and Communications Associate for the Independent Business team.

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Brenda Platt directs ILSR's Composting for Community project.