Photo: elaine faith, Flickr
The meal is done: Dishes hit the sink; plastic bottles and tin cans go into the recycling bin. But the scraps from dinner and cooking prep -- egg shells, garlic skins, vegetable stems and cheese rinds? A few counties in California have come up with a simple, smart solution for utilizing those, too.
"You put a small bin on your kitchen counter, divert all your organic waste into it, and then just dump it in the larger bin outside when it's full. The rest is taken care of," says Sarah Rich, co-founder of Foodprint Project, a traveling advocacy group and educational panel on urban agricultural. The larger bin is picked up at the end of the week during regular garbage collection. "You don't need to be a gardener yourself in order to make good use of your food scraps," she says. Foodprint Project was formed early this year to evaluate the viability and potential of local food in urban areas. So far, they've hosted panels in New York City and Toronto, and this coming January, they're headed for Los Angeles.
If you look at a landfill, most of the waste is food -- it'll decompose, sure, but then what? Where does all that nutrient-rich soil go? That was the thinking behind the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority's new Food Scrap Recycling Program, which started in September 2007 and is expanding this month to California's Walnut Creek area, along with existing areas: Lafayette, Orinda, and Moraga in Contra Costa County.