image001Organic and Green Waste

In California, organic waste makes up nearly 18% of total landfilled material. When organic materials, such as food and yard waste are sent to the landfill they rot and emit methane – a powerful Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission. In an effort to reduce GHG emissions, California State law SB 1383, aims to reduce methane from landfilled organic waste. The state of California set a goal to reduce the total amount of landfilled organic waste by 50% 2020 and 75% by 2025 from baseline levels of 2014. The best way to reduce methane produced from landfills is to reduce the amount of methane-generating materials that are sent to the landfills in the first place. In order to achieve these goals, California is moving toward statewide mandatory composting and is launching a food waste prevention campaign in order to divert organics from landfills. As a community, there are two things that we can do to limit the quantity of organic waste that is being sent to the landfill.

Reduce Food Waste

image002You can save money and prevent organic waste from entering the waste stream by reducing your food waste. Reducing your food waste will decrease the amount of methane produced as well as eliminate the GHG emissions associated growing and transporting food. A great way to start reducing your food waste is to meal plan before you go to the grocery store. Meal planning will save you money and benefits the environment by saving resources. For the food scraps that are produced, see the information below to help you set up a worm bin or backyard compost.

  • Plan weekly meals and buy only what you can cook before it spoils.
  • Keep your refrigerator clean and store your food properly to ensure your food lasts.
  • Use your leftovers as lunch or repurpose them and give them a new life.
  • Keep track of what you throw away to help prevent throwing the same things away
  • Preserve your food for longer by freezing, canning, and pickling.

Home Composting

image003You can divert organic waste from entering the waste stream by creating your own compost at home! The waste stream from your kitchen can be reduced by as much as 35% just by composting your food and yard waste! Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic material, such as yard and vegetable wastes, into a soil-like material. Finished compost enhances soil, improves soil structure, and adds nutrients to gardens and yards. The best part of composting is it puts to good use wastes that might otherwise end up in a landfill. The choice to compost has many incredible benefits including: saving money by reducing your garbage service, lessen the burdens on landfills and reducing GHG emissions, and it promotes healthy soil by returning nutrients back to the earth. There are a number of FREE two-hour home composing workshops offered throughout Contra Costa County, for more information click HERE.

See the information below on how to start composting at home! Please contact the Environmental Resource Division for additional guidance on how you can compost or reduce your food waste!

Backyard Composting

image004Building a backyard compost is a great way to divert organic waste from the landfill as well as provide your soil with nutrients. You can easily build your own composting container or purchase one online or at your local hardware store. Your compost will be happiest if you give it a home with lots of sunshine and provide it proper moisture. To learn more about how to start or maintain your backyard compost visit Stopwaste or contact Environmental Resources for a copy of Home Composting Made Easy and advice getting started composting at home!

Worm Bin

image005Do not fear, if you live in an apartment, have limited space, or do not have access to a yard you can still compost your food scraps by making a worm bin. A pound of red worms can eat 65 pounds of food scraps in less than 3 months. The main difference between a backyard compost bin and a worm bin is that the worm bin is designated for composting only fruit and vegetable scraps. Creating a worm bin only requires 6 steps and once it is completed only requires feeding and minimal maintenance. For detailed instructions on how you can do this at home click HERE.