Environmentalists are unanimous that organic matter should be kept out of landfill, rivers and oceans. Organic wastes should be segregated from other wastes.
Metal, paper and plastic are commonly recycled, but most of the world continue to throw away an abundant, reusable resource: organic matter.
People normally send organic garbage and sewage to landfills and incinerators or dump them into rivers, bays and oceans. And manure is increasingly dumped or over applied to farmland because of large, centralized livestock production.
There disposal methods clog landfills, pollute air and drinking water, and encourage cities to invest in costly, water intensive sewage infrastructure. They also promote excessive dependence on manufactured fertilizers, which it creates its own problem, from ecosystem disruption to disease prone soils.
Ecologists further stressed that recycling organic matter from cities to farms would help solve many of these problems. Urban organic garbage and yard waste can be composted and used on farms.
Human waste if separated from industrial waste can be processed into a clean fertilizing product. And the production of manure can be managed to avoid dumping or over application.
Farms would use less artificial fertilizer because recycled organic matter contains many of the original nutrient taken up by the crops. Fertilizer runoff into rivers and streams would be reduced because soil replenished with organic matter holds nutrients longer.
Nitrates in drinking water would be reduced. Use of fungicides could also be reduced because compost promotes plant health. The humus in compost limits the spread of root rots as effectively as many fungicides, according to researchers at Ohio State University.