Recently, it seems like we've been bombarded with stories about plastic waste--how we are contaminating every part of planet Earth with it, so much so that we might as well call our geologic era the "plastocene."
But what about organic waste, the kind that does decompose over time? It turns out that it's also a big problem: Improperly disposed of, rotting food, kitchen, market, and toilet waste can make people sick, clog drainage systems, release potent greenhouse gases, overstuff landfills, and contaminate recyclables. Handled well, however, it can be transformed into a resource, resurrected as compost or protein or even energy.
Unfortunately, doing so is harder than you might think, especially in cities.
My reporting project, #WasteNot, takes a close look at promising solutions to the problem of organic waste in three cities: Cap-Haitien, Haiti; Surabaya, Indonesia; and Cape Town, South Africa. We start with a story about a program in Haiti that collects urban toilet waste in containers and turns it into compost for the country's depleted soils. Rethink published this story and accompanying images by photographer Caleb Alcenat under a Creative Commons 4.0 license, so it is free to republish and translate with certain restrictions.
Please share your favorite organic waste initiatives with me using the hashtag #WasteNot, and keep an eye out for more from me in the coming months.