The city of Elk Grove on July 1 launched its residential, organic recycling program. This program began through Senate Bill (SB) 1383, which requires Californians to separate their food wastes, food-soiled wastes and green wastes into organic waste carts. Nathan Arechiga, the city’s residential recycling coordinator, spoke about some of the items that can be placed in the organic waste cart. “Moving forward, we can place all food waste in there, such as fruit, vegetables, pasta, grains, meat, bones and eggshells, as well as food-soiled products such as paper napkins, paper plates, coffee filters, tea bags, etc.,” he said.

Clean paper can continue to be placed in recycling bins, but no Styrofoam or plastic items should be placed in the organics bin. Elk Grove’s garbage and recycling services provider Republic Services will pick up the new organic carts on a weekly basis to avoid any foul odors, and to limit the attraction of pests. Arechiga mentioned that the new program requires a moderate effort by the city’s residents. “It’s just moving one waste stream from one cart to the other,” he said. “Your trash currently smells as it is. We’re just putting it into the next bin, right next door.”

Those seeking to cut down on odor from the organic waste bins can use Biodegradable Products Institute-certified biodegradable bags inside their organic waste carts. These bags are available through major retailers and online. Newspapers can also be used to reduce odors in the organics bins. A helpful way to collect food wastes is to keep a pail inside homes, Arechiga noted. He stressed the importance of this organic wastes collection program. “It helps definitely (to) target climate change and reduce landfill methane gases,” Arechiga said. “Methane is a climate pollutant. It’s 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Organic wastes, food scraps and yard clippings make up about 50% of what Californians dump in landfills. Diverting this waste will significantly reduce the local air quality and emissions.”

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Author: Lance Armstrong, Elk Grove Citizen
Image: City of Elk Grove