Otay Mesa composting facility unveiled ahead of new food waste recycling law – NBC 7 San Diego


Washing the dishes and taking out the trash will change forever for many San Diego residents on January 1, 2022. That’s when California State Bill 1383 finally begins to stretch his legs as law.

This law will force the majority of California homes and businesses to recycle food waste with yard waste.

On Wednesday, the mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Casillas Salas, joined other local leaders and Republic Services responsible for the Otay landfill to cut the tape for the new Otay composting facility. It is the first in the state to run entirely on solar energy. It will take recycled garden and food waste from Chula Vista and neighboring San Diego communities and turn it into rich and valuable compost.

“Instead of throwing it in the trash, we’re going to recycle it,” smiles Cara Morgan from CalRecycle. “If we continue to put materials like [food] in the landfill, this methane ends up in our environment. It is a huge contributor to climate change. “

“The EPA estimates that about 40% of what goes to landfills across the country is organic matter, which includes food waste and green waste,” added Chris Seney of Republic Services. “Composting is extremely important.

Seney understood that it will take time for people to get used to putting food in the “green bin” with the clippings and branches.

“It’s very popular in parts of this country and in Europe. They put it in the freezer so there is no smell, ”he explained when asked if ants or rats got into the old food. “The key is to have a weekly collection of these organics, especially now that we are introducing food waste.”

The next destination of the compost depends on the installation. Republic Services plans to resell the compost made at Otay Mesa to farms and nurseries.

This is only the last step in preventing landfills from getting bigger.

“Each of us in California, we can actually do something now,” Morgan concluded.

SB 1383 was passed in 2016. Seney said it took more than three years to prepare the Otay composting facility for January 1, 2022. He said it would take about eight weeks for the waste from garden and food to go through the facility to become compost.

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