The city of Durango is digging into a citywide, curbside compost collection program as part of its environmental sustainability goals. Durango is trying to meet its benchmarks, set for 2030 and 2050, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase use of renewable electricity. The city’s effort parallels similar goals around the world intended to combat climate change. A compost service for city residents is one step toward meeting those goals, according to the city.
“Ultimately, the goal is to get as close to net zero waste emissions as possible,” said Imogen Ainsworth, the city’s sustainability coordinator. In 2019, the city of Durango decided to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, compared to 2016 levels. In 2016, solid waste disposal accounted for about 5% of the city’s emissions, according to city documents.
Composting wasted food and other organics, however, significantly reduces methane emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere. The gases lead to climate change depending on their concentration, longevity in the atmosphere and heat-trapping characteristics of each gas, the EPA says. For Southwest Colorado, impacts of climate change are expected to include decreased precipitation, droughts, increased heat, insect outbreaks, increased wildfires and reduced agricultural yields, according to NASA.