ABOUT TRANSFORMATION OF TRASH, LIFESTYLES AND COMMUNITIES
and how one city's Sustainability Officer is navigating through it.
This is a momentous time for California’s waste and recycling industry. AB 32, AB 1826 and SB 1383 are forcing governments and businesses to take serious action on matters related to recycling, composting, and climate change.
Food2Soil and other community composters look at solid waste as a resource that has intrinsic social, economic, and environmental value. We have innovative ideas to recover this value and we execute our ideas in ways that build community wealth - making our neighborhoods healthier, local economies more resilient and our city’s infrastructure less dependant on capital intensive solutions. But local governments continue to prioritize their relationships with haulers over climate and community, pushing community composters out with full force.
A DROPOFF HUB IN EVERY ZIPCODE
The map below shows the sparse number of dropoff hubs in San Diego county even though most of us in the county do not have access to composting services. Extrapolate this across California and one quickly realizes that this problem is systemic. Even the cities that are now rolling out curbside composting services are only doing so for single-family homes and large businesses, leaving it unclear as to if and when residents of multi-family dwellings and small businesses will receive composting services.
Dropoff hubs do not compete with franchise agreements. Instead they complement a citizen's right to self haul their waste and recyclables.
Every local agency should include dropoff hubs as part of its SB1383 compliance plan.
The road to Temecula's first community compost pile was not as rosy as this picture might suggest.
Meet Jill Selders, Soil Farmer and trailblazer for community composting in Temecula. Jill divides her time between her apartments in Temecula and San Diego. Having formed the habit of composting with Food2Soil in San Diego, Jill started looking for similar options in Temecula.
Here's why we call ourselves San Diego's neighborhood composter.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
First off, know that composters are also haulers. In our business it is sort of implied that your capacity to compost depends on your ability to haul foodscraps. Its because the points at which foodwaste is generated (apartments, grocery stores, restaurants) rarely have the room to compost the scraps onsite. This means that the scraps will need to be put on a truck and transported to where they can be composted.⠀
One of the main goals of Food2Soil, as an organization, is encouraging the evolution of legislation regarding waste management here in San Diego county and in the State of California.
Earlier this year, City of Encinitas, opened its doors to neighborhood scale composting by allowing Food2Soil to offer its dropoff program to the residents of Encinitas. We spoke to Encinitas Mayor - Catherine Blakespear and Director of Development Services - Lillian Doherty, about this milestone and the work it took to make this happen.
If you compost your foodscraps it is very easy to forget about them once they’ve been placed in your compost bucket and dropped off at your neighborhood dropoff hub or curbside compost cart. Its hard to imagine that in a few months, that old food is going to become something else. But the entire joy of composting is that it’s recycling in its simplest form. You literally use the food (that you’ve hopefully already used in as many ways as you can) one more time turning it into soil and giving it another chance to grow more food. Your action turns a linear flow into a circular flow.
Food2Soil provides those of us who live in apartment buildings and can’t compost on our own with a network of easily accessible dropoff hubs. But on top of that handy service is AYCS - the part where we can reap the rewards of composting by going to collect the compost we’ve helped make from our scraps.
There are two locations for All You Can Sift Compost, also known as AYCS. This is where that black gold is actually made and also where members can go to retrieve it for their own gardening needs. One of those locations is at the Ocean View Growing Grounds on Ocean View Boulevard, (open for AYCS on Saturdays from 9:00-11:00 AM) and the other is at the San Carlos Community Garden on Boulder Lake Avenue (open on Sundays from 2:00-4:00 PM). Both of these locations are located in east San Diego, so be prepared for hot weather in the summer and cooler weather in the winter.
After soft launching a few modifications to the Bucket Swap program earlier this year we are ready to make them official. Here's a rundown of all the changes to the Bucket Swap program, starting with its name!
BUCKET SWAP IS NOW BUCKET DROP
We will no longer be swapping your full bucket of scraps for a clean empty one. Instead, we’ll add your scraps to the compost pile and return your bucket back to you. To avoid any confusion we’ve changed the name of the program from Bucket Swap to Bucket Drop!
WHY? Since last year the program has seen an exponential growth in participation from roughly 5 new participants each month to 30 new participants joining the program each month. The operations team wasn’t able to keep up with sourcing once-used buckets to fulfill this demand. In addition, Swaps required each hub to have an extra bucket for each participant. By switching to Drops we are making a more efficient use of our buckets, water, storage space and hub manager’s time!
I would argue that if you are reading this blog, you are interested in composting. If you are like me, however, you’ve been thinking about the prospect for months, even years, but haven’t figured a way to get started. Maybe you don’t have the backyard space. Maybe you don’t have a garden where you can use your compost. Or it might be that you simply don’t have the time.
Food2Soil Composting Collective was started in 2015 by Inika Small Earth, Inc as a community supported social enterprise. Inika Small Earth is a 501c(3) tax exempt corporation that works on fostering a circular economy that is enterprise-driven, people-powered and community-centered.