Make Composting Part Of Your Community’s Climate Action Plan

Cities, counties and states are developing local responses to climate change by producing Climate Action Plans across the country.

Compost—both disposal of food scraps and organic materials from landfilling and the carbon sequestration value of compost use for healthy soil—is key to reaching local climate goals.

The Biden Administration has released $4.6B in funding for a program called Climate Pollution Reduction Grants.


(January 2024)
In order for localities to access funds, their state must first complete a Climate Action Plan Nearly all 50 states. Check this tracker from the Zero Food Waste Coalition (ZFWC) to see who is heading up the effort in your state—are working on plans and accepting comments.

Note: YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY to comment on your State Climate Action Plan, which must be completed by 3/1/2024. See the Institute for Local Self-Reliance resource below to learn more about how to go about that, and the ZFWC toolkit for sample letters and talking points. Thanks to these organizations for their work!


From EPA’s web page:

EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (Implementation)

EPA is announcing the availability of $4.6 billion across two implementation grant competitions, one general competition and one specifically for Tribes and territories. Under these competitions, eligible applicants will compete for climate pollution reduction implementation grants to fund measures in their state-, municipality-, Tribe-, or territory-specific climate action plans. As part of its evaluation of applications, EPA will prioritize measures that achieve the greatest amount of GHG emissions reductions. Measures that address waste and materials management are within scope.

USCC Recommendations:
Many localities are already working on drawing up these plans or updating plans already underway.

1. Some cities and counties are working with staff and non-governmental organizations (non-profits) to develop plans and programs; some are hiring consultants, and some are doing citizen-driven plans. Find out where to activate in your local community’s plan and requests for funding.

2. Many county and city plans are focused on energy, transportation programs and are not tuned in to the impact that reducing and composting food scraps and using compost and regenerative practices will have on their carbon emissions.

Learn more about the content of your city/county’s plans by contacting departments such as Public Works, Sustainability, or the chief executives office (mayor, county executive etc.) These grants are intended to foster government/citizen collaboration and citizen/non-profit/business voices will add valuable weight to these plans.

The deadline to apply to the general competition is April 1, 2024. The deadline to apply to the Tribes and territories competition is May 1, 2024. EPA estimates that the implementation grants will be awarded in Fall 2024 for the general competition and in Winter 2024-2025 for the Tribes and territories competition.

For more information, please refer to the General Competition NOFO  and the Tribes and Territories Competition NOFO and the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant websiteSign up for notifications about the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program.


The remainder of this page is an aggregation of resources designed to help government staff, advocates and consultants find the data and citations to include these strategies in your plan.

Definition of Compost – the product manufactured through the controlled aerobic, biological decomposition of biodegradable materials. The product has undergone mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures, which significantly reduces the viability of pathogens and weed seeds (in accordance with EPA 40 CFR 503 standards) and stabilizes the carbon such that it is beneficial to plant growth. Compost is typically used as a soil amendment, but may also contribute plant nutrients. (AAPFCO definition, official 2018)  Finished compost is typically screened to reduce its particle size, to improve soil incorporation. Citation information here.

Compost and Climate Change: USCC webpage here.

The Compost and Climate Connection Publication ($10-Compost and Research Foundation) – Authored by Sally Brown, University of Washington scientist.

Summary article on the publication

A Composters Guide To Project Drawdown
Angelina Peone, Soilbuilders Blog

Compost Benefits White Paper

How Compost Helps Address Climate Change, Drought and Fire: Compost University Course

Other Industry Resources:

BioCycle Connect: Climate Change Articles

Institute for Local Self Reliance: How to Advocate for Compost in your State and Local Climate Plans

Zero Food Waste Coalition: Toolkit for Commenting on Local Climate Plans

EPA: Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Webinars and information

From Field to Bin: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste Pathways, US EPA, 2023

Quantifying Methane Emissions from Landfilled Food Waste, US EPA, 2023

Other Resources:

Climate Action Planning: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Climate Plan Map

How To Create A Climate Action Plan Through Citizen Engagement

Assessing the Climate Change Mitigation Potential from Food Waste Composting, Nature, Scientific Reports, Perez, Vergara & Silver

Content on Reducing Food Waste, Food Rescue, and Composting:

World Resources Institute: The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste

Green Mountain Technologies: Using Life Cycle Analyses to Measure GHG from Composting

California Air Resources Board: Method for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions From Diversion of Organic Waste from Landfills to Compost Facilities

Project Drawdown

UC Davis: Compost Key to Sequestering Carbon in the Soil

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