Organic material such as food produces the greenhouse gas methane when it breaks down in landfills. Methane is produced from organic material decomposing under anaerobic (oxygen-less) conditions; when garbage is packed underground in a landfill, it is not exposed to oxygen and methane is emitted. This is a huge problem because is a greenhouse gas that, on a molecule-to-molecule basis, traps even more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and so is a major contributor to global warming. Garbage in landfills is responsible for about 34% of methane emissions in the United States. Fortunately, food that decomposes in a compost pile, rather than a landfill, emits little or no methane – so composting is a great way to reduce your impact on the planet.
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