City approves $3M to enhance composting operation

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SAN DIEGO – City officials announced Thursday that they have awarded a $3 million grant to improve composting from the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, known as CalRecycle.

The money will also fund a partnership with the nonprofit Kitchens for Good.

Under terms of the grant, the city will divert more than 32,000 tons of additional organic waste from the Miramar Landfill to the Miramar Greenery, where it will be converted into 15,000 tons of compost.

City officials said they plan to use some of the money to convert an open air composting operation to a closed system designed to enhance operations, reduce air emissions and protect the quality of water at the Miramar Landfill complex.

City Environmental Services Department Director Mario Sierra said the grant will help San Diego work toward goals in the Zero Waste program, which aims to divert as much material as possible from going into the landfill.

City officials said San Diego diverts 104,000 tons of organic waste annually, with green and food waste converted into compost, mulch and wood chips made available for purchase by the public. The operation helps cover operational costs at the Miramar Greenery and saves valuable landfill space.

The food program will take unused produce and food from grocery stores, which would otherwise end up in the landfill, and use it to make 90,000 free, nutritious meals delivered to seniors and low-income residents. Aspiring cooks and chefs working for Kitchens for Good will benefit from culinary industry job training and education.

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