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When organic material, such as food and yard waste, is landfilled, it decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.
Methane is a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide over a 20-year horizon.
Organic waste comprises two-thirds of our waste stream and food waste alone is the largest waste stream in California. Landfills are responsible for 21% of the state’s methane emissions and they are the THIRD largest producer of methane.
Recycling organic waste will curb methane emissions by preventing the anaerobic breakdown of the material.
Learn more here: https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/slcp/
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SB 1383 is a state law aimed at reducing the amount of organic waste, including food waste, sent to landfills by 75% statewide and to recover 20% of edible food statewide that would otherwise be sent to landfills. The SB 1383 regulations require all businesses, multi-family properties, and residents to subscribe to organic waste collection services. The regulations became effective January 1, 2022.
Food waste includes meat, bones, poultry, seafood, shells, dairy, eggs, pasta, grains, coffee grounds, fruits, vegetables, and other inedible and edible parts of food.
When referring to SB 1383 requirements, organic waste include yard waste, food waste, and plant fibers such as paper and cardboard. All of these materials are currently recycled across the City in some capacity. Single family homes have curbside yard waste collection service AND existing state law, Assembly Bill 1826, requires large generating businesses such as restaurants and hotels and others to recycle food and yard waste. Paper and cardboard are also recycled city-wide in curbside and commercial recycling programs.
One thing to note - In the recycling business, the term “organic waste” or “organics” has a meaning different from the term “organic” in farming. In farming, an “organic” product is one grown without chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.
How you separate and collect your food waste is up to you! You can collect your food waste in a small container (pail with a lid or tupperware) in your kitchen and store it on your countertop or under your sink. You can also store your food waste in a bag in your freezer, which can help avoid odors for certain foods that are not meant to be left at room temperature.
Most residents with a yard waste cart have already received their food waste pails which were provided courtesy of E.J. Harrison & Sons as of January 2022. Residents without a yard waste cart will receive their free pail when their complex or property is provided with food waste collection service by E.J. Harrison & Sons.
However you choose to separate and collect it, food waste must be placed in a bag of your choice, secured by tying or folding down, and placed into the correct cart. Residents with a yard waste cart, should place bagged food waste in the yard waste cart. Residents without a yard waste cart, should place bagged food waste in the designated food waste recycling container, when directed by their property manager or E.J. Harrison & Sons.
NO. All food waste must be bagged and secured before being placed in the yard waste container. Food waste that is placed unbagged in the yard waste bin will contaminate the yard waste materials.
After collection, the bagged food waste will be separated at Gold Cost Recycling and Transfer Station and sent for processing at certified organics processing facilities. Material sent to these facilities must be clean and free of other debris as it will be processed and turned into products like organic fertilizer or renewable energy. Due to the need for clean organic material, commingled organic material (yard waste and food waste together) will not be accepted at this time.
UPDATE 2/3/22: After a successful first month of the program, Harrison and its partners at Agromin have approved the use of folded-shut paper bags in addition to the tied plastic bags that have been accepted since residential food waste recycling began. In Ventura and other customer cities, they observed that the bags are not easily subject to breaking and causing contamination in the yard waste materials so the program can move away from the plastic-bag-only requirement. When possible, the City and Harrison Industries will continue to adapt the program to produce the lowest environmental impact as more resources become available and as we observe the program for longer periods.
It is still important to remember that any bag you choose must be properly secured. If you are using a plastic bag, please tie the bag before placing it into the appropriate container. If you are using a paper bag, please fold down the top a few times so that it is secure before placing it into the appropriate container. It’s also important that you do not place liquids in your bag so that the integrity of the bag is maintained as best as possible. Food waste naturally has some liquids, but please keep all other liquid forms out such as juice, broth, and oil.
Bagged food waste material collected from the yard waste carts will be separated from yard waste at Gold Cost Recycling and Transfer Station, and sent for processing at certified organics processing facilities. All bags and other residual trash and debris will be disposed of at the landfill. Material sent to these facilities must be clean and free of other debris as it will be processed and turned into products like organic fertilizer or renewable energy. Due to the need for clean organic material, commingled organic material (which is when yard waste and food waste are mixed together) will not be accepted at this local facility.
Ultimately, we’re working toward developing a program where food waste and yard waste can be commingled with soiled paper and other bio-based materials. There is progress to permit a local facility known as the Limoneira facility, being permitted that will be able to accept commingled material. When the Limoneira organics processing facility is complete, we will be able to eliminate the need for bagging food waste. Until then, City staff have determined that this short-term solution is the most responsible choice for our community and the environment at large.
Any bag of your choice is OK, including paper, plastic, and compostable plastic. After a successful first month of the program in Ventura and other customer cities, Harrison Industries observed that the bags are not easily subject to breaking and causing contamination in the yard waste materials so the program can move away from the plastic-bag-only requirement. When possible, the City and Harrison Industries will continue to adapt the program to produce the lowest environmental impact as more resources become available and as we observe the program for longer periods.
After separation, all bags will be disposed of at the landfill.
Once placed into the existing yard waste container, the bagged food waste material will be separated at Gold Cost Recycling and Transfer Station and sent for processing in Simi Valley. Material sent to this facility must be clean and free of other debris as it will be processed and turned into organic fertilizer or renewable energy.
NO. Currently, our local processing facility does not accept compostable food ware, such as compostable plates, cups, utensils, or napkins. If these items are added to the bagged food waste or loose yard waste material, it will contaminate the material. While these items might be labeled “compostable”, these items should be disposed of in the landfill.
The City will continue to look for local opportunities to recycle compostable materials and we will publicize these changes as they happen.
Separating your food waste should not cause odor or attract pests any more than putting food scraps in your trash. The same materials are being collected, just in a different container.
Below are some tips to help prevent unwanted odor or pests:
Drain excess liquids from food scraps before putting them in the collection container.
Line the bottom of the collection container with napkins or plant trimmings to absorb excess moisture.
Delay adding dairy products to the container until collection day, freeze or refrigerate until pick up day.
Wash the container regularly with soap and water.
Sprinkle baking soda in the container.
Yes. Some types of food waste such as meat, bones, seafood, grains, snack foods, and citrus are not ideal for a backyard compost bin, but these items can be processed through the food waste recycling program. Any food waste that does not go in your backyard compost bin must be bagged and placed in the appropriate container.
Backyard composting is still encouraged as a great option to divert waste from the landfill, avoid the environmental impacts of transporting organic waste, and create a finished product that you can use in your garden. Click here to receive a coupon for a discounted backyard compost bin.
No. The kitchen pails are provided to assist with in-home collection of your food waste and should not be placed on the curb for collection by the waste hauler. Residents with a yard waste cart should add their secured bag of food waste to that cart. Residents without a yard waste cart will be instructed on how to participate once their program is set up.
According to State law, SB 1383, and Section 6.500 of the City’s municipal code, food waste in the trash container is considered contamination and it is not allowed. The City is required to inspect containers for contamination via route reviews and waste audits. These will be conducted on a regular basis by E.J. Harrison and Sons and, on occasion, by the City. If contamination is found, the City and E.J. Harrison & Sons will educate customers as needed. Starting in 2024, the City is required to issue notice of violations if contamination is found. If issues of contamination are not resolved, the City is also required to issue fines in accordance with Section 18997 of Senate Bill 1383 regulations and Section 6.500.5110 of the City’s municipal code. Educating the public on proper use of the containers and participation of the program is our highest priority.