If you live in the City of San Diego, you are probably familiar with the new green bins popping up in your neighborhood. San Diego residents can use this service for everything from food scraps, to garden and yard waste, and even food-soiled paper products. California State Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), requires the reduction of organic waste disposed of in landfills.
This statewide bill, aimed at reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, like methane, has two goals:
1.) Reduce the amount of organic waste being landfilled through composting
2.) Increase recovery of edible food that is currently being thrown away.
The City of San Diego’s Organic Waste Recycling program serves all City residents and is one of the largest changes to trash and recycling in San Diego’s history. Materials gathered from City green bins will be collected and composted at the Miramar Greenery, a more traditional composting facility. However, not all organic waste in the City will be brought there. Some privately-serviced businesses or properties may have their organic waste processed at anaerobic digestion facilities. Anaerobic digestion helps microorganisms break down organic waste in closed spaces where there is no oxygen and create renewable natural gas.
To find out when your Organic Waste Recycling Collection Service will begin, visit the City’s Environmental Services website.
Waste Production in San Diego
Currently in the City of San Diego, we produce 6.2 pounds of trash per person, per day. That adds up to 2263 lbs. of trash per person, per year! For reference, that is about the size of a large Rhinoceros. For City of San Diego residents, the trash we throw out gets taken to the Miramar Landfill, which is the largest landfill in the County. The Miramar Landfill is almost 18 stories deep and it sits on 1,400 acres of land. That means that 15 San Diego Zoos could fit inside. Our goal is to try to produce less waste, recycle and compost as much as we can, and hopefully extend the life of our Miramar Landfill.
Food Scrap Collection Tips:
Place fruit and vegetable peels, plate scrapings and food-soiled paper in the kitchen pail or in a container of your choice during meal prep or following a meal. Make sure to remove all packaging (produce stickers, plastic wrap, twist ties, foil and containers) from your food scraps.
- Drain liquid from your food scraps. It is best to refrigerate or freeze food scraps until collection day. On the evening before your collection, dump your food scraps into your green bin so they are only sitting in there overnight!
- Sprinkle baking soda on top of food scraps to eliminate potential odors.
- Wrap leftover food in newspaper, paper bags, paper towels, napkins, or parchment paper before discarding in your green bin.
For a more detailed list, you can view the city’s step-by-step guide here.
What is NOT allowed in your curbside green bin:
- Plastic bags
- Pet waste
- Bricks, rock, dirt or cement
- “Compostable” or “Biodegradable” plastic products and foodservice take-out cutlery/packaging
- Ceramics or metals
- Rubber bands and twist ties
Bins must be placed outside on the curb by 6 a.m. on collection day. This is encouraged even if your bin is not full. Visit the city’s website for more tips on how to keep your green bin clean and odor-free. You can also access a more detailed step-by-step guide on what goes into your green bin here.
You can find your neighborhood’s curbside green bin collection dates here.
Upcoming Organic Waste Recycling Webinars and Workshops
The City of San Diego offers free informational presentations virtually and in–person for city residents on the new green bin collection schedule, giveaways and tips. There are virtual Zoom webinars or in-person workshops at select locations to help answer any of your questions. Helpful tips and important information will be shared on: What goes in the green bin, green bin cleaning and storage tips, Q&A with City staff, and free compost and GIVEAWAYS!
Join a free informational webinar:
“Your Home’s New Green Bin”
July 5, 2023 from 6 to 7 p.m. – Register here
July 19, 2023 from 6 to 7 p.m. – Register here
Free Informational in-person workshops:
“Organic Waste Recycling”
Allied Gardens Recreation Center (5155 Greenbrier Ave, San Diego, CA)
June 3, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Register here
“Your Home’s New Green Bin”
Point Loma Library (3701 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107)
June 10, 2023 from 11 a.m. to noon – Register here
Pacific Beach Library (4275 Cass St, San Diego, CA 92109)
June 17, 2023 from 11 a.m. to noon – Register here
Rancho Bernardo Library (17110 Bernardo Center Dr, San Diego, CA 92128)
July 15, 2023 from 11 a.m. to noon – Register here
Mira Mesa Library (8405 New Salem St, San Diego, CA 92126)
July 29, 2023 from 11 a.m. to noon – Register here