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Posted on: July 9, 2019

Spaces remain for food waste recycling

Food cycle bucket

Tori MorinDo you want to keep food waste out of landfills? Limited spaces remain for Del Mar residents to participate in an innovative food waste recycling program. 

Food Cycle,” a program of the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, will provide the first 10 Del Mar residents to enroll with lidded, 5-gallon buckets to contain all manner of food scraps. Meats, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetable remains can all go in the bucket. Enrollees also are given a sack of bokashi bran, a microbe blend that supercharges the decomposition. A typical household would require a bucket exchange every 4-6 weeks.

The cost: $50 to enroll and a $5 processing fee per bucket. And the inconvenience: Residents need to haul their full buckets to the Solana Center at 137 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas.

But the benefits are many.

Participants can collect finished compost for their gardens. Watch a video.

Food Cycle Salad VeggiesThe simple act of sorting food waste provides a first-hand look at the kinds and quantities discarded foods, which can change purchasing and cooking habits and help a consumer’s wallet as well as the environment.

Food waste comprises 20 percent of all waste in landfills. Composting organic waste, as opposed to simply burying it, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Options for composting food waste, however, are limited. Del Mar’s hauler, Waste Management, only collects food waste that is mixed with household trash, and that trash goes to the landfill.

Despite the shortage of options for to deal with food waste, all California cities face increasing State requirements to divert organics from landfills.

Del Mar is determined to move toward zero waste. This year, the City enacted bans on non-biodegradable straws, plastic wares and Styrofoam and earlier banned single-use plastic bags. Reducing solid waste is a goal of the City’s Climate Action Plan.

During the next six months, the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board and Solana Center will evaluate the participation and economics of the Food Cycle Program (PDF) to determine whether to expand its enrollment.

For enrollment information and other details, visit the Solana Center’s Food Cycle webpage.

Food cycle bucket

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