Next month, reports the L.A. Times, some L.A. residents will be asked to recycle their organic kitchen waste egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit peels in addition to the usual paper, plastic and aluminum.
The kitchen scraps will go into their own small indoor recycling bin, according to the L.A. City Council, which voted in favor of the experimental program that will affect 5,000 households in Harbor Gateway, Lincoln Heights and South Los Angeles.
The article explains that residents there currently are required to separate trash into three bins: blue for recyclables, green for lawn clippings and black for other trash.
The small bin for kitchen scraps can be emptied into the larger green bin that holds lawn clippings. That yard waste will "absorb fugitive liquids" from food waste, according to the article, limiting the smell.
Los Angeles city officials conducted a survey in 2002 and found that nearly 27 percent of the garbage in those black bins was food waste that could be composted.
The Times quotes Stanton Lewis of the Bureau of Sanitation: "It's really not that big of an imposition to ask them to do this. But it is a mind-set change, to take that extra step of putting [leftover food] into our kitchen pail rather than the regular trash bin."
According to the EPA, organic materials yard trimmings, food scraps, wood waste, and paper products are the largest component of our trash, making up more than two-thirds of the solid waste stream.
The EPA website lists a number of case studies that discuss successful composting implementation programs.
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