San Diegans required to start recycling food waste next year

Local

SAN DIEGO — You might notice new waste bins at the curb in your neighborhood in the coming months.

The City of San Diego is issuing green bins to households and businesses as it rolls out a new food waste recycling program. Brought about by new state law, San Diegans will soon be required to recycle food scraps and other related items.

“Every [food waste] generator will get a green bin and it will be for their yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste, as well as food material and food-soiled paper,” Ken Prue, deputy director of the city’s environmental services department, said.

All Californians will be required to recycle organic items, such as pieces of vegetable, bread, coffee grounds and any scraps you generate while preparing food.

Some neighborhoods have already been using the green bins for yard trimmings and wood. Up to 240,000 receptacles will be delivered to city neighborhoods by Jan. 1, when the new rules go into effect.

The changes will help bring San Diego into compliance with two state laws that mandate recycling by local governments: AB 1826, which requires the organic recycling, and AB 341, which mandates 75% of discarded material be recycled.

Prue said the state has laid out enforcement requirements, meaning San Diegans could see fines if they don’t comply. The city will take an education-first approach in their enforcement efforts, Prue said.

The bins will be picked up weekly once the program is up and running. Prue said the efforts will help lengthen the life of local landfills and decrease the amount of hazardous gases released when food scraps end up at the dump.

The San Diego Food System Alliance says 40% of all food in America is wasted, and food is the number one item found in landfills.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports many businesses and multifamily properties will be forced to begin recycling for the first time as part of the city’s new rules.

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