GOP Cancels “Expensive” House Composting Program

Author’s Note: One of the things that really irritates me about conservative ideology is that it’s short-sighted. Instead of making decisions that are best for their grandkids, the GOP revels in choosing the most attractive option for today only, and to hell with tomorrow.

The USA is in debt. Lots of it. Spending must be dramatically reduced, yes, but also strategically. It’s interesting (and disheartening) to see which programs the new GOP House has targeted first.

Last week, Committee on House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., announced that he has directed the House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to suspend the House composting program after a recent review of the program.

The food composting program started three years ago as part of the “Green the Capitol initiative” under the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and included the use of biodegradable drinking straws and utensils in House cafeterias.

A press aide to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, announced the suspension with glee as he tweeted on Monday morning: “The new majority – plasticware is back.”

The composting program delivered the biodegradable waste generated by the House to a site in Beltsville, Md., which cut back on the amount of waste and money directed at landfills, according to The Hill.

Tell The GOP: Save The House Composting Program!

If information provided by the House IG and the CAO is accurate, the composting program has increased the House’s overall operating costs by an estimated $475,000 annually. These sources also allege that the program increased the House’s energy consumption through the use of additional electricity for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility.

The Hill reports that, “In Maryland, the composted material was turned into fertilizer and blended into soil over a period of 75 days. The soil was then returned to Capitol Hill where it was used as fertilizer in Capitol gardens. Hundreds of tons of refuse was diverted to the composting sites instead of a landfill each month, according to statistics from former CAO employees.”

In Lungren’s press release about suspending the program, there was no mention of money saved by repurposing the compost in this way. There was also no mention of the larger example that’s set by a government that makes the “small changes” it’s asking of its populace.

Also, the press release mentions that according to the IG, the program has only achieved carbon reductions equivalent to removing one car from the road each year.

Yet, the EPA says that the average passenger vehicle in America produces 3284.887 pounds of CO2e each year. And common composting statistics say that if 1 person composted all their food waste for a year, it would shave 3,000 pounds of carbon emissions off their annual footprint. There are 435 members of the House, so the carbon reduction estimates produced by “the new majority” seem to be a little off.

If you think the whole thing stinks, sign this petition:
Tell The GOP: Save The House Composting Program!

Related Reading:
House Budget Cuts Would Strangle Innovation
Proposed GOP Spending Cuts Shows Ideology Trumps Logic
Dangers Of Plastic Addiction Revealed In New Documentary

Image Credit: Flickr - stevendepolo


Louise D.
Louise D5 years ago

I notice that politicians are also biodegradable so maybe a spot of composting a few of the useless ones maybe very ecologically beneficial on many levels.I bet that there is a few that would be able to cure world famine by being composted and the whole political process would have a breath of fresh air.

Elizabeth B.
Elizabeth B.6 years ago

I understand supporting issues within a party, generally leaning one way or the other, but to take such a hard lined stance on something with such a core and emotion-fraught issue seems stupid. Are most republicans really that anti-environment? If so, what if they somehow gain exposure to something other than Fox News and it's minions?

Brian F.
Brian F7 years ago

Ignorant repubicans. 18% of our landfill space is food waste which produces methane that is 20 times more polluting than emissions from fossil fuel plants. If we compost, we can prevent that food waste from going to a landfill and producing methane that will be released into the atmosphere and contribute to Global Warming. Also the compost from food waste helps soil to be used for plants and trees which help fight global warming.

Dan B.
Dan Brook7 years ago

Why do Republicans hate the environment so much?

The regressive Republican Party of No is mean-spirited, thuggish, religiously fanatical, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, hypocritical, xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, evolution and global warming denying, oily, authoritarian, selfish, greedy, lacking compassion, warmongering, and otherwise dangerous.

NEVER vote for Republicans.

Bill K.
Bill K7 years ago

if they were really serious about spending they would close the cafeterias and pack a lunch like many of us have done for decades. of course i use reusable containers rather than disposable. but even that is too much i guess to expect from a republican. i'm sure rep. boehner could survive on PB&Js.

Sir Walk F.
Sir Walk F7 years ago

A multi-Trillion dollar 'defense' budget and they nit-pick a program that costs next to nothing.

Typical GOP double-speak.

Alicia T.
Alicia todd7 years ago

Penny wise and pound foolish in every sense of the word.

Deb Lewis
debbie Lewis7 years ago


Anne F.
Anne F7 years ago

So are they counting on having garbage hauling costs staying steady?

Ethan Brady
Ethan B7 years ago

"Expensive"? It'll cost you more when you realize what you've done.