Environment, Exclusives, Local, Politics, Uncategorized

Larison: Relax, your food scraps aren’t changing the climate

A telltale folly of the progressive left is when they overplay their hand and invariably take talking points to the extreme.  Such is the case with environmentalists and their newfound push for curbside composting, all to realize an impossible dream of Zero Waste.

Zero waste will never happen and the enviros know it.  All human communities are going to produce some degree of waste that needs to go to landfills.  A recent report noted that only 15% of solid waste in Colorado is being diverted in the form of recycling and composting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m one who respects the environment and have fully participated in my city’s curbside recycling program since its inception years ago.  Modern single-stream recycling is highly convenient as users can keep metals and plastics that last for hundreds of years out of landfills.

But not being satisfied with the public’s reasonable conservation practices, the eco-left has now begun falsely equating curbside composting with recycling in their quest for zero waste.

Let’s be real, people don’t want the nuisance of a smelly third trash bin for separating out food scraps and greasy towels.  Customers rightly ask, is it really so bad for biodegradables to go to landfills as compared to metals and plastics?

The enviros’ overreach with curbside composting focuses on the irrelevant greenhouse gas of methane emitting from landfills, supposedly being a strong contributor to climate change.

While it’s true that molecule for molecule, methane absorbs much more heat radiation than carbon dioxide, there is nowhere near enough of it to make a difference in the earth’s greenhouse gas equation.

CO2 concentration is 420 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere; methane is 2 ppm.  Naturally occurring water vapor is several thousand times more prevalent and completely masks any heat absorption that methane could provide.

The most nonsensical methane argument from the climate change crowd is their crusade against the meat industry due to flatulence and belching from animals.

What about the mid-1800s when some 30 million buffalo roamed the Great Plains?  You don’t think that put out some methane?  Or past agricultural societies in general?  It’s an absurd global warming stance.

The issue of landfill capacity today isn’t so drastic either, at least not in this part of the country.  A number of northern Colorado municipalities transport their solid waste to the Front Range Landfill on the outskirts of the town of Erie. This one highly efficient facility alone has a 70 million cubic yard capacity that won’t be reached until 2051.

So have no guilt by throwing your food scraps in with the regular trash after holiday gatherings this year.  You certainly won’t be changing the climate.

Dave Larison is a retired NOAA meteorologist who has lived in Longmont since 1980.

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