Starting in 2022, most homes and businesses in California will be required to recycle all food and yard waste in their yard debris carts. The effort is part of new state regulation (SB 1383) which aims to divert 75 percent of organic waste from landfills below 2014 levels by 2025.
In response to the increased demand for processing biodegradable materials, waste collection company Republic Services has spent the past three years building the Otay Compost Facility — the state’s first composting facility to run solely on solar power. The facility has a capacity to process 100 tons of yard and food waste from Chula Vista and nearby San Diego communities into nutrient-rich compost.
The move will bring Californians a step closer to a circular economy. For their part, residents and businesses will have to place organic foods into their yard waste bin instead of tossing them into the garbage. According to experts, about 40 percent of landfill mass is made up of food waste, which not only takes up space but also releases planet-harming methane emissions into the atmosphere.
Instead of ending up in a landfill, the food debris will be trucked to the solar-powered processing facility where it will be turned into compost. After that, the compost will be returned to the neighborhoods and public spaces in the same community the organic waste came from. The facility opened hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier in October.