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Evaluating the Economic and Environmental Cost for Onsite and Offsite Composting

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DOI: 10.23977/agrfem.2023.060103 | Downloads: 49 | Views: 1668


Xiaoguo Geng 1


1 Wyoming Seminary School, 201 N Sprague ave, Kingston, United State

Corresponding Author

Xiaoguo Geng


With people getting increasingly familiar with climate change adaptation, composting has become a popular way for people to take action on protecting the earth. In the U.S., 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, and in restaurants, 74% of the waste is organic material. In 2018, the EPA estimated that 2.6 million tons of food (4.1% of food waste) was made into compost. However, there are two different kinds of composting: sending waste to a composting company (offsite composting) or composting at the place where waste creates (onsite composting). The author conducted a case study at a high school in Pennsylvania, USA, and designed a Bokashi composting experiment and an evaluation model to compare the economic cost and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission for onsite and offsite composting. The study finds that the cost of 1 kg of food waste for onsite composting is $0.29 and that for offsite composting is $0.22 (a 24% reduction). However, in this case, the onsite composting causes 0.014 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kg of food waste, while the mission of offsite composting is 0.035 kg of CO2e. It means that switching from offsite to onsite composing would result in a reduction of 21 kg of CO2e for 1000 kg of food waste, which is the amount of waste produced by a high school campus with 400 people within just about five days to a week. It is worth knowing that 21 kg of CO2e equals the amount of CO2 a mature tree can capture in an entire year. Therefore, onsite composting costs are higher but have more environmental benefits than offsite composting.


Composting, Onsite Composting, Offsite Composting, Bokashi Composting, Carbon Dioxide Emission


Xiaoguo Geng, Evaluating the Economic and Environmental Cost for Onsite and Offsite Composting. Agricultural & Forestry Economics and Management (2023) Vol. 6: 14-21. DOI:


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