If you are reading this article, we share something in common – our love for the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. By taking steps to preserve the Bay’s health, we help protect this natural resource, so we can continue swimming, boating, fishing, and harvesting seafood in clean water.
At Atlantic Marinas, we’ve implemented multiple strategies to minimize our environmental impact. As a Maryland Certified Clean Marina, we take great care to ensure our operations do not contaminate the waterways of the Bay. In partnership with our parent organization, The Brick Companies, we constantly review our focused business practices in search of new environmental and sustainable opportunities.
The Brick Companies’ family of businesses is committed to learning and educating others about good habits and practices that benefit a healthy and sustainable future. We are sharing what we’ve learned, discovered, and implemented to help make a positive impact.
Atlantic Marinas is passionate about protecting the Chesapeake Bay, but let’s talk about the land surrounding this natural wonder. Did you know there are approximately 1,250 active landfills in the United States? If all things are equal, which they never are, that averages about 25 landfills per state. Currently, Maryland has approximately 40 landfills – 19 active landfills and another 21 closed landfills. Each landfill averages 600 acres in size, which means 24,000 acres of Maryland’s total 7.9 million acres are full of trash.
According to a June 2021 article in Bay Journal, an Environmental Integrity Project report found that “landfill emissions are the leading source of methane in Maryland.” This report estimates that about 51,500 tons of methane gas were released from the landfills in Maryland into the atmosphere in 2017. That is about the same weight as a fully loaded U.S. Navy battleship.
The high volume of gas released directly affects the Chesapeake Bay. Gas emissions contribute to rising sea levels, warming temperatures, shifts in wildlife abundance and migration patterns, and diminished water quality that maintains fish and shellfish populations, also noted in the Bay Journals article.
So, what can we do?
Small actions make an impact. What about savings those lemons and lime slices from your summer boating adventures? When you save your food scraps, you reduce the waste that goes to landfills, thus reducing methane gas creation. “Throwing food away is more than wasteful,” states the Bay Journal article. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate upwards of 14 million tons of food waste each year, which is approximately 106 pounds of food waste per person. Saving your food scraps (and yard waste) is called composting.
So, what is composting?
Composting is a natural process by which bacteria and fungi break down any organic material, such as food waste or lawn trimmings, to form compost. The result is nutrient-rich soil. It may surprise you how easy composting is, from indoor bins in condos or apartments to outdoor compost bins in backyards to office spaces where compostable material is collected and taken to an external composting facility.
With the help of companies like Annapolis Compost, composting is easy. Our parent company, The Brick Companies, recently added a compost receptacle to its office kitchen. The provided container is picked up weekly and delivered to local farms that house compost piles. The soil created stays and is used at the local community farm or is shared with the customer upon request.
Some cities/counties, including Prince George’s County and Annapolis City, are jumping on the compositing bandwagon. Links are below for more information.
Here are more fun facts about the benefits of composting:
- Composting improves water quality – Microorganisms in compost have been used to break down contaminants, like chlorinated hydrocarbons, wood preservatives, solvents, pesticides, petroleum products, and even explosives. Composting also helps remediate non-organic pollutants, like lead and other heavy metals.
- Compost reduces and, sometimes, eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. Because it’s so nutrient-rich, compost promotes higher yields of crops and is not a concern for run-off, like traditional fertilizers.
- Compost minimizes climate change – The soil that compost produces improves the soil’s ability to stabilize carbon and increases plant growth, pulling more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Since composting started at our Edgewater office, there has been excitement amongst the team members. “It’s something easy we can do individually to make an impact with no added stress or cost,” shared Melissa Gardner, a corporate accountant for The Brick Companies. “I was already throwing my food scraps and coffee grounds in the trash (and boy do we go through a lot of coffee), now I just throw them in a different bin and feel good about it,” said Jen Cavanaugh, office administrator for The Brick Companies.
Proof that even small changes can make a big difference.
- Annapolis Compost – Our curbside composting service whisks away your food waste and gives you compost back. https://annapoliscompost.com/
- City of Annapolis – Residents can drop-off food scraps into the collection containers at Truxtun Park. https://www.annapolis.gov/1830/Food-Scrap-Drop-Off
- Prince George’s County Curbside Composting – eligible residents will get one wheeled green cart and kitchen pail for composting food scraps and yard trim https://pgcproud.com/pgccomposts