Letter to the editor: Solana Center supports new environmental regulations


I am writing to comment on Gov. Jerry Brown’s support for environmental initiatives in California. In addition to the well-publicized plastic bag ban, on Sept. 29, Gov. Brown signed two other bills, which will have significant impact on local businesses and the environment.

AB 1826 will require businesses that generate food scrap, such as grocery stores and restaurants, to send their organic materials for composting or anaerobic digestion and not to the landfill.

AB 1594 will disallow yard trimmings from being used as landfill cover, rather than being recycled. Currently, organic material composes the largest category of waste in our landfills, at 39 percent, and now pressure is mounting to recycle it through various methods.

Solana Center is thrilled to see the Governor support these statewide initiatives. These are landmark bills that will dramatically reduce the amount of organic matter in our landfills.

In Encinitas alone, over 1.2 million pounds of food are thrown away each month, generating over 2,000 tons of avoidable greenhouse gas emissions into our environment monthly. By properly disposing of our organic waste, we conserve valuable nutrients, which can become soil amendments for another growing cycle; reduce greenhouse gases released into the environment; and preserve landfill space for items that truly can’t be recycled, reused, or repurposed.

The new statewide regulations will have significant impact on behavior and regional infrastructure. The nearest large-scale commercial composting facility that openly accepts food scrap from the public and businesses is over 100 miles away. Solana Center, which has been promoting composting of organic materials since the mid-1990s, offers free composting workshops and Master Composter courses throughout San Diego County. We urge local jurisdictions to relax restrictions and encourage mid-scale composting through collection of food scrap at community sites, such as at community gardens and closed landfill sites.

In five years, our children will understand that edibles and compostables contain value, just as other recyclable materials. Please let the City know that diversion of food scrap from our landfill is an important issue.

For further information about how these legislative changes will affect residents, schools, and businesses, please contact Solana Center directly. Our next Master Composter course starts Oct. 25.

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit at 137 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas.

Jessica Toth

Executive Director Solana Center for Environmental Innovation