Starting June 1: Food Waste and Green Waste Recycling!
Starting June 1, 2021, Encinitas residents will be able to place food scraps (in addition to yard waste) in their green roll-out carts. EDCO will collect and process the materials into digestate (which can be further processed into fertilizer) and renewable energy! By reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill, the program will result in cleaner air, healthier soils, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
EDCO distributed kitchen caddies, compostable paper food waste bags, and informational materials to all single-family home residential customers in Encinitas. These caddies will help residents conveniently separate food scraps and other organic materials in their kitchen for the organics recycling program.
How to Use Your Kitchen Caddie
Organics Recycling Program
In 2021, EDCO finished construction of a state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) facility to process organic waste. The AD facility will allow Encinitas residents and businesses to recycle their food waste and green waste, preventing it from ending up in the landfill. Diverting organic waste from the landfill will help the City meet its greenhouse gas and waste reduction goals. Curbside food scraps and green waste recycling will begin for Encinitas residents by using their green roll-out carts in June 2021.
The City of Encinitas, EDCO, and Solana Center for Environmental Innovation created the following resources to make the transition to collecting food waste more convenient for residents:
Recursos en español:
What else can you do to reduce organic waste? Learn more about food waste prevention and composting below.
What Can Contaminate the Green Bin?
When you participate in the EDCO organic recycling program, you are part of a circular process supporting the future of our City and environment. Sorting organic materials in your home and business allows your unwanted food scraps to be recycled into biofuels and nutrients for the earth. What you put in your green bin matters! Want to test your knowledge? Watch this video and see how you do with our Organic Recycling Sorting Quiz!
What is Organic Waste?
Organic waste is any material that is biodegradable and comes from either a plant or an animal. Organic waste, including food and green waste, takes up the largest portion of waste in our landfills, making up 30% of our waste stream. When in landfills, organic waste decomposes to produce methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, along with other odorous and noxious gases. Reducing organic waste in landfills by food waste prevention, composting, and organics recycling reduces methane emissions, extends the life of local landfills, and creates valuable products such as renewable natural gas and fertilizer.
Composting at Home
Before EDCO offers food and green waste recycling via the green cart, these materials can easily be diverted from the trash by composting or vermicomposting (with worms). Composting is an easy way to convert kitchen and yard waste into fertilizer for gardens and landscaping. To support residents in making the transition to composting, the city subsidizes the cost of compost bins and workshops, both of which are available through Solana Center for Environmental Innovation. Composting prevents air pollution and saves money, energy, and water. Adding compost to soil will also improve soil structure, improve soil chemistry, and produce healthier plants.
Composting resources from Solana Center:
Another solution for diverting food scraps is the Solana Center's Food Cycle Program. Solana Center accepts participating community members’ food scraps and processes these organic materials on-site to create a high-quality soil supplement, using the bokashi method. The program also allows participants to collect finished compost for their home gardens.
Commercial and Multifamily Resources
Three-Stream Signage for Businesses
The City, EDCO, and Solana Center developed bilingual, double-sided, three-stream signage for businesses to post at waste receptacles to help staff and customer properly and conveniently sort waste into conventional (blue) recycling, organics recycling, and landfill items.
Food Waste Recycling Virtual Forum
The City of Encinitas and the Solana Center hosted a virtual forum for commercial food waste generators to learn more about:
- The new state law (SB 1383) on food waste collection and how it affects your business.
- The new organics recycling program rollout and related rates
- Resources to guide with organics sorting and recycling.
Watch the webinar recording
Commercial Food Waste Generator Resource Guide
Mandatory Organics Recycling (AB 1826)
What businesses need to know: Businesses and public entities that generate two cubic yards (CY) of solid waste are required to recycle organic waste (food and/or green waste). In September of 2020, CalRecycle reduced the threshold from four cy to two cy of solid waste per week. This bill aims to achieve 75 percent waste diversion by 2020.
Solid waste is the total of trash, recycling, and organics generated by businesses. Business organic waste includes food scraps, compostable paper, green waste and landscape materials, and nonhazardous wood waste.
CalRecycle - Assembly Bill 1826
What multi-family properties need to know: Currently, apartment and condominium complexes of five units or more are required to recycle non-food organic waste. Businesses may self-haul, mulch/compost on-site (with appropriate state permitting) or contact EDCO for collection services.
Multi-family organic waste includes green waste and landscape materials, and nonhazardous wood waste.
In 2022, under SB 1383 (see below for more information), all multi-family properties will be required to recycle food waste in addition to the previously mentioned organic waste. In June 2021, EDCO will begin offering food and green waste collection services for Encinitas residents.
Reducing Organic Waste (SB 1383)
Senate Bill (SB) 1383 targets reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, which are released when organic waste decomposes in the landfill. The law directs the state’s department of resources recycling & recovery (CalRecycle) to adopt regulations and requirements to achieve a 50 percent reduction in organic waste disposal by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.
Some SB 1383 requirements for local governments include offering organic waste collection and recycling services to all residents and businesses, implementing a food recovery program, and conducting education and outreach on organics recycling, food waste prevention, and other related topics.
The EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in the typical household's trash, constituting 22 percent of discarded municipal solid waste. Surprisingly, however, one in six San Diegans is food insecure.
The state of California and the City of Encinitas are both taking strides to tackle this issue through new policies and programs to help businesses and residents avoid wasting food and divert what is left away from landfills to useful applications.
Save the Food
Nonprofit organization, Save the Food created resources to help Encinitas residents prevent food waste.
Recursos en español:
Steps to Reducing Food Waste
1. Prevention of Food Waste
For residents, the City created an informational guide for Preventing Food Waste in Your Home Kitchen.
For businesses, reducing food waste improves their bottom line. Below are resources that can help businesses develop their food waste prevention plan:
2. Donation of Edible Food
Approximately 500,000 San Diego residents annually do not know where their next meal is coming from, yet almost 500,000 tons of food waste is sent to the landfill regionally. To help solve this, the City wants to support businesses in setting up systems to donate food to help end hunger throughout San Diego County. In 2022, large edible food generators will be required to donate food under SB 1383. Following are resources on edible food donation:
3. Collection of Food Waste
After all possible means of food waste prevention and donation of edible food have been pursued, remaining food waste materials can be collected for recycling/composting. As the City’s franchised waste hauler, EDCO will be responsible for providing collection services for food waste. In 2021, food waste recycling (along with green waste) will be available to Encinitas residents and businesses. Waste assessments to help maximize overall waste diversion efforts (organics and recycling) are also available through EDCO upon request.
Food Waste Forum 2019
The City of Encinitas hosted a Food Waste Forum in 2019 to educate community members on the importance of reducing wasted food and catalyze dialogue with local and state experts. Here are some of the main takeaways from the guest experts:
One in six San Diegans is food insecure. This number increases to one in five when only including children.
Organic waste, like wasted food, takes up the largest proportion (30 perecent) of waste in our landfills.
When in landfills food waste decomposes to produce methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, along with other odorous and noxious gases.
According to Encinitas’s latest greenhouse gas inventory, landfill emissions counted for about 5 percent of the City’s contribution to climate change by releasing around 22,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere in 2012.
How You Can Take Action
Source Reduction: Reduce the amount of wasted food by meal planning, learning how to store food properly, rearranging the fridge, sharpening knife skills, avoiding impulse purchases, and getting creative with with cooking! Visit SaveTheFood.com to learn more about these solutions.
Feed Hungry People: Residents can become aware of the players in the local food system and learn how to help their neighbors while reducing their food waste footprint. Check out San Diego Food Systems Alliance for resources. Through the local local gleaning organization, ProduceGood, residents can request volunteers come to their property to pick unwanted, edible produce.
Feed Animals: Food scraps can be diverted for animal feed.
Industrial Uses: When completed, EDCO’s new anaerobic digestion facility will process the community’s organic waste into renewable natural gas and fertilizers.
Composting: Diverting food waste from landfills by composting it at home reduces methane emissions and creates a wholesome amendment to improve our community’s soil health. Solana Center for Environmental Innovation provides reduced cost composting materials for Encinitas residents.
Landfill: Sending food waste to the landfill should be avoided whenever possible. (Source EPA)
Experts' Presentations from the Forum