SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - New food recycling rules went into effect for some San Diego County residents on July 1.
Chula Vista and Carlsbad residents in single-family homes were asked to start tossing food scraps like fruits, vegetables, bones, and eggshells into their green bins along with their yard waste. Food-soiled paper items like napkins and paper plates are also acceptable.
Kitchen caddies were given to residents to help collect those scraps.
"You’re reducing greenhouse gases, you’re diverting green waste, food waste, from the landfill and returning it to the local community," said Chris Seney, the director of Organics Operations for Republic Services. Seney gave ABC 10News a tour at the Otay Landfill to show what exactly happens to those scraps once collected.
"We take that yard waste mixed with food waste and grind the material up, and add water to bring it up to 50-60 percent, and then send it up to our compost facility," he said.
Once taken to the solar-powered composting facility on the same property, an eight-week composition process begins and the product is separated into three different sizes. That mulch then returned back into the community.
Seney says across California cities, it’s typically about a $3 to $5 extra charge a month for residents.
This comes as part of Senate Bill 1383, a new law that began this year and requires cities to provide curbside organics recycling.
Cities and counties have time to implement the changes, but those found not in compliance could face fines by 2024.
"SB 1383, the intent is to reduce emissions throughout the state of California," said Seney. Pointing out that food waste in landfills makes up about 20 percent of California's methane emissions.
Seney said bins will be monitored to make sure people are participating, though they are mainly focusing on education for now.
He suggests layering food scraps with yard waste in the green collection bin. The green bin will continue getting picked up on regular pickup days.
He said they hope to roll out a different plan for businesses in the next couple of months.