San Diego will spend $77 million on a large composting plant in Miramar to handle all the yard trimmings, food scraps and other organic material that city residents and businesses must begin recycling under a new state law. City officials say they expect the plant, which will be by far the county’s largest composting facility, to help other local communities and trash haulers comply with the new law, SB 1383.

Without the new plant, San Diego officials said they would have to truck organic recycling to composting facilities outside the region, a less environmentally friendly option that would make the city vulnerable to price increases at those facilities. Plans to build the plant, currently scheduled to open in summer of 2024, have been overshadowed by recent city efforts to launch collection of green waste by delivering green recycling bins and kitchen pails to more than 250,000 customers.

The first wave of bins got delivered last week, and collections have begun in those neighborhoods — ZIP codes 92102 and 92113. Bin delivery is scheduled to continue until all customers have them in August. While gathering the organic waste is crucial, San Diego officials say the ability to compost that waste into fertilizer and mulch on an extremely large scale is also key to the city’s plans to comply with the law. “We’re going to have a lot more organics to process, and if we didn’t build this facility, where would we process them?” Councilmember Marni von Wilpert said.

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Author: David Garrick, San Diego Union Tribune