Invited Session: Climate Change

Composting in the U.S.: Using Organics to Reduce Climate Change (0.5 CEU)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
16:15 – 16:45
Room 316

Moderator: Ashley Evans, PE, Senior Consultant, Kessler Consulting, Inc., Florida

The United States leads the world in the diversion of organics from landfills. This worldwide trend is key to closing methane-leaking dumpsites around the world and to reducing climate change, better utilizing needed nutrients, sequestering carbon, reducing erosion and increasing healthy soils. If we are to close global dumpsites, we need to develop the infrastructure to replace them, this primarily involves proper management of the organic waste stream. This presentation will highlight recent developments in both policy and practice towards reducing disposal of organics in landfills.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the vital role that composting plays in closing global dumpsites
  • Realize the role that composting plays in avoiding methane creation in landfills and sequestering carbon
  • Appreciate the need for healthy soil


Matthew Cotton, Principal, Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC, California

Matt Cotton

Matthew Cotton has worked in organics and solid waste management since 1986. He has served as a consultant, educator, researcher and advocate for new and expanded organics recycling and composting programs in California and beyond. Mr. Cotton has completed hundreds of significant organics projects, including permitting and assisting in the development of some of the major composting facilities in California. He has served on the Board of Directors of the US Composting Council for more than a decade, including as president for three years, and also serves on the Board of Californians Against Waste. He has published research on compost odors, compost use, climate impacts, compostable plastics and compost facility infrastructure. He is the main author of both the SWANA Managing Composting Programs Course, and SWANA’s course on Organics Collection; and the organics chapter of the SWANA/CRRA Zero Waste Course. In more than 30 years of work, Mr. Cotton has become a respected resource for all aspects of organics recycling. He is the “go to” person for providing permitting assistance to new and expanded composting, anaerobic digestion, and chipping and grinding facilities, to providing hands on odor control mitigations at organics processing, digestion, and composting facilities, to conducting important statewide studies of the California organics industry.