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KPBS wants to know: Are you recycling your food waste?

Compost at San Diego's Miramar landfill on Jul 11, 2022
Erik Anderson
Compost at San Diego's Miramar landfill on Jul 11, 2022

It’s been nearly a year and a half since California required trash haulers to pick up and compost food waste, but the city of San Diego is just now getting its program at the Miramar Landfill and Greenery up to speed.

Senate Bill 1383 is the law requiring communities to compost food waste to help reduce emissions from landfills, forcing San Diego residents to deal with the yuck factor of recycling rotten food.

The food waste is collected in small bins — that many people keep in the kitchen — and then transferred to a green waste bin that city crews collect once a week.


Organic waste dumped into traditional landfills decomposes and creates methane, a super-pollutant with as much as 80 times the Earth-warming potency of carbon dioxide.

Renee Robertson, the head of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department, is confident that the city will achieve the law’s climate goals by composting organic waste.

She said the city had been recycling and composting green waste at the Miramar Landfill for two decades. There is plenty of room, nearly 75 acres, and plenty of capacity to handle the influx of green and organic waste.

Robertson said the plan is to turn the waste into mulch to cover gardens and lawns — a thick dark mixture of organic material that can bring life to the region’s sandy or clay soils.

“It’s not soil,” Robertson said. “It’s a nutrient-rich soil amendment. You can see the moisture in it.”


KPBS is interested in your experience with the nascent organic recycling effort. How are you coping? Are you taking part? Do you have tips to share? Share your experience in the box below to let us know how you are affected.