The City of Santa Cruz is launching a new program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by properly disposing of food scraps. Through the Residential Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program, Santa Cruz residents put aside their food scraps in pails which are then collected as trash or recycling items. The leftovers are turned into mash, processed into animal feed, then transformed into energy.

The city plans to start the program in phases. After a pilot program in the Seabright neighborhood, the first phase will begin with single-family homes in the Prospect Heights and DeLaveaga neighborhoods on August 1. The program is expected to expand west. The program is already happening in multi-family residents in units five-fold or larger. The city says the program could help residents reduce garbage container size, which saves money in the long run.

“Our investment in new equipment at the Resource Recovery Facility allows us to turn the food scraps into a ‘mash’ that will eventually be compatible with the anaerobic digester process at our Wastewater Treatment Facility,” said Resource Recovery Operations Manager Bob Nelson. “After the digesters are upgraded, they will turn the mash into biogas that will become electricity used to operate the plant.”

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