Beginning in June, residents of Encinitas will be asked to begin disposing of their organic food waste in their recycling bins for a recently opened anaerobic digestion facility in San Diego County. Organic waste in landfills is said to contribute 20% of the state’s methane according to the state. SB 1383, passed and signed into law in California in 2016, aimed to cut out organic waste in landfills to help reduce the amount of methane gas produced into the atmosphere as part of efforts to reduce climate change.
As part of that effort, EDCO, the waste disposal company serving Encinitas, Solana Beach, Vista, San Marcos and more in North San Diego County, recently opened an anaerobic digestion facility in Escondido in February that cuts out those emissions in landfills.
Anaerobic digestion is a process where organic food waste is broken down by bacteria in an enclosed oxygen-free environment. The by-product of this process is biogas which can be used as a renewable energy source, and a residual digestate material that can be used as fertilizer and has other agricultural uses.
“In this case, we are using a mixture of green waste and food waste together,” said EDCO General Manager Jim Ambroso. “We did that intentionally because we wanted to simplify the collection process. We already have green-waste collection happening in our cities, most folks have green waste carts and they put green waste in there, so all we’re doing is introducing food scraps into that same cart.”