The LA City Sanitation and Environment Department (LSAN) has widened the scope of its curbside green bin composting program — it now includes mandatory organics recycling of most kitchen food scraps and waste.
As of January, Los Angeles City residents served by LSAN, who currently place yard trimmings into their green waste bin, must also recycle their food waste. The contents are then taken to city facilities and processed into finished mulch and soil. Residents from LA can pick up as much mulch as they need for their residential gardening needs.
How can you collect leftover food at home to put into the green bin?
WSSM members and neighborhood residents are eligible to obtain a FREE kitchen scraps recycling bucket at our local LSAN facility on Stoner Avenue. You can make an appointment here:
(Note: Multi-Family Building Residents serviced by the City’s recycLA program should work through their property management company to request organics service, if it is not already provided. To establish organics service, the property management company should contact the 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 and request a waste assessment, from their recycLA service provider.)
What can now go in your green bin?
- Fruits, vegetables
- Dairy, eggshells
- Bread, cereal, grains, rice, pasta, beans
- Meat, bone, fish, shells
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Food soiled paper products
- Yard waste, flowers, and clean untreated wood
- Natural wood chopsticks (clean, untreated, not lacquered)
- Natural corks (or do a web search for “cork recycling” for drop-off locations)
Why recycle your kitchen scraps for organics recycling?
Did you know that 40% of all food in the US is wasted, amounting to about $162 Billion dollars spent on food that is never eaten? That breaks down to 290 pounds of food per year per household, creating 4 pounds of methane, which is 21 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon. All this uneaten food is warming our planet, contributing to drought, fires, and warmer temperatures for our city, our state, our planet.
More sobering statistics for you: 140 million people in the United States struggle with food insecurity and LA county is the most food insecure county in the country.
So, it is best to have a plan when you go the farmers market or grocery store and only buy the food you intend to cook or prepare that week. Experiment with leftovers to make new versions of salads, casseroles and soups! But even with the best intentions, we’ve all dug deep into our refrigerators and discovered that bag of cilantro we forgot about or some ancient block of crème cheese that has morphed into a science experiment. Instead of dumping that into the garbage to eventually end up in a landfill (= methane), now there is a better way – using your leftovers for compost!
Composting, nature’s way of recycling, has taken place on earth for billions of years; humans began composting in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers region in modern-day Middle East. Composting reduces water consumption and the amount of organic material that goes into landfills, enriches the soil, and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
For more information and details visit the LSAN Curbside Organics Recycling Program website.