Soon, you’ll have another, more convenient way to compost your food waste.
Starting next year, residents of Sacramento and Yolo counties will be able to dispose of edible organic material in their home yard waste containers. The expanded recycling program is in response to a state law that requires a 75% reduction of food waste sent to landfills by 2025.
Organics decomposing en masse release methane. While carbon gets all the headlines, scientists say methane is a major contributor to global warming.
“Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon,” said Rachel Wagoner, the director of CalRecycle. “The fastest and easiest way for us to fight methane emissions in our atmosphere is by getting rid of organics from landfills.”
Rather than continuing to push landfills to capture and use the methane generated on site, legislation passed in 2016 sent the Golden State towards removing organics altogether.
To meet the 75% reduction called on by the law, SB 1383, the city of Sacramento as well as Sacramento and Yolo counties teamed up to rework their agreements with contractors, pushing them to begin composting both green waste and food waste.
“Mid next year, residents will be able to add food to their green waste bin,” explains John Febbo, the city of Sacramento’s interim general manager for waste disposal. He said Sacramento is the farm-to-fork capital now, but next year it starts working its fork-to-farm credentials.
Compost material — made from decomposed organics — improves soil health and can be sold to area farms or gardeners.
Many people do compost at home. Home setups vary from basic mulch piles, to DIY bucket setups, to purpose-built bins that employ worms to speed the process.
Since 2015, ReSoil Sacramento has been collecting food waste from restaurants, farmers markets and community gardens and turning it into compost. Since then, the group has diverted 1.5 million pounds from landfills.
Municipal governments moving into the composting game may require ReSoil to adjust its business model but its director David Baker said he’s happy to see California and Sacramento leading the way.
“We just need to really keep all of this material out of the garbage in order to reduce greenhouse gases,” Baker said. “That needs to be happening 100% around the world so I’m very happy that it’s going to be happening here in Sacramento.”
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