Hey San Diego! Time to Recycle Your Organic Waste

by on January 18, 2022 · 2 comments

in California, Environment, San Diego

Public Service Announcement: New Food Recycling Program Aims to Curb Waste, Help Environment

By Karen Austin / Peninsula Beacon / Jan. 16, 2022

The ringing in of 2022 has begun a new era of food waste recycling by residents and the increased sharing of edible food surpluses by certain food-related businesses.

California Senate Bill (SB) 1383 aims to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions known to cause global warming and drastic weather conditions by reducing the amount of organic material going to landfills. To help curb the problem, we are now required to separate out food scraps and food-soiled paper products from regular trash and take them to the curb in green recycling containers.

According to CalRecycle, the state agency responsible for the regulatory standards of SB 1383, Californians throw away 5-6 million tons of food waste every year and throw away 1.8 billion unsold (still edible), meals annually. Wasted food sent to the landfill rots and turns into methane, a greenhouse gas which CalRecycle cites as contributing to climate change such as rising sea levels, reduced snowpack, wildfires, drought and heat waves. To prevent this, organics should now be composted at home or “recycled” by waste management operators.

EDCO is Alvarado Estates’ trash hauler. EDCO, a locally-owned company operating since 1967, also serves SDSU and The City of La Mesa, in addition to other residential and commercial settings in San Diego and California. EDCO will now collect our residential food waste mixed with our landscape recycling. According to Yvette Snyder, EDCO’s Director of Communications, “EDCO has constructed the first state-of-the-art advance technology Anaerobic Digestion Facility in San Diego, capable of producing renewable natural gas (from our food waste), that will serve the needs of the region.”

The City of San Diego and Republic Services [now that the strike is over] also manage waste for college-area residential neighborhoods and businesses. Each waste management entity is now working with their customers to carry out plans they’ve been making since SB 1383 was initially passed in 2016.

Examples of food scraps are raw and cooked seafood, meat and poultry (including bones), cheese, dairy products, eggshells, fruits and vegetables, pasta, bread, prepared foods, leftovers, and so forth. Food-soiled paper items such as napkins, paper plates, pizza and donut boxes, tea bags and coffee filters should now be recycled in green bins. Consider using these paper products or a paper bag as a receptacle to gather your food waste. Then close it up and throw the whole thing in your green bin.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org), recommends 15 steps we can all take to minimize food waste. For example, prepare home-cooked meals instead of opting for take-out or delivery. Only purchase and cook what you need and use your leftovers. Start with smaller portions and add more if you are still hungry, and share large dishes at restaurants. Maintain food wisely by following best storage practices using airtight and other appropriate reusable containers.

By doing your part, you can help meet two important goals by 2025: a 75% reduction of statewide organics waste disposal from 2014 levels, and a 20% or greater recovery of edible food currently disposed of by commercial food generators. Grocery stores, wholesale food venders and distributors (Tier 1) are now required to donate edible surplus food to a rescue agency such as Feeding San Diego and The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Hotels, health facilities, and schools which serve on-site food, large restaurants, large events and other venues (Tier 2), are required to have a donation plan in place by Jan. 1, 2024.

Commit to the new organics recycling program. Together, we’ll waste less, spare our landfills, share food with those who are hungry, and help save our planet. Let’s make compliance with this important new initiative a College-Area New Year’s resolution!

Here are some websites for more information and assistance:

Recycling information and customer service: edcodisposal.com, republicservices.com, cityofsandiego.gov/environmental-services/collection

State of California: www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/slpc

City of San Diego: www.sandiego.gov/environmental-services/recycling/sb1383

Local food rescue agencies: www.feedingsandiego.org, sandiegofoodbank.org and many others

Environmental innovation: www.solanacenter.org


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tennyson Clark January 19, 2022 at 11:43 am

In a very small city to the north of SD, residents have ONE garbage can, everything goes into that one can. Trash, greens, etc are then sent to a distribution center where trained workers sort out what is to be recycled, what is trash, etc. If this was methodology was adopted in SD there would then be one truck, rather than three, ripping up the already ripped up roads, the percentage of product recycled would dramatically increase ; many new semi-skilled jobs would be created. I mentioned this to my council rep when Donna Frye held that position, Her recycling czar reported back with “then the recycling material would get wet and be useless which is ridiculous.


Peter from South O January 20, 2022 at 10:25 am

Where is this mythical tiny city? It is certainly not in the County, as what you describe would violate County rules for recycling.
Donna’s staff member was correct about the recycling material (cardboard and paper) being useless if sodden; it has to go into the landfill at that point.


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