Increased composting can be a driver of local economic growth

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington DC based non-governmental organization that challenges the concept that bigger is better, has published an excellent report which demonstrates that composting and compost use can have numerous benefits in addition to green job creation and reducing the amount of waste destined for landfill. The report, Pay Dirt, is based an a state of Maryland, population 5.9 million, case study but clearly has continental, if not global, application.

The study illustrates that composting and compost use:

  • reduce waste
  • improve soil
  • reduce stormwater runoff & soil erosion
  • protect climate
  • create jobs & supports local economies

While all sections of this report are likely to be of interest to municipalities and private sector compost operators and advocates, GallonDaily’s attention was particularly drawn to the section on jobs and economic growth.  That section points out that

  • composting can be small-scale and local
  • jobs are local
  • composting is linked to urban farm production
  • composting can diversify farm products and increase farm income
  • compost products tend to be used locally
  • use of compost products sustains additional businesses and green jobs

Other related findings that are likely to be of broad relevance:

  • On a per-ton basis, composting in Maryland sustains twice the number of jobs as landfills and four times the number of jobs as incinerators.
  • Composting systems – even the high-tech ones – do not require the same level of capital investment as landfills or incinerators.

The report, which is packed with data, an Executive Summary, and supporting documents can be found at

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