“That’s a great number,” said Robert Reed, public relations manager for resource recovery company Recology, which operates the composting pilot. Composting initiatives collect food scraps and landscape materials for recycling into soil amendment.
Between January and May, approximately 100 San Bruno Recology customers have switched from using 32-gallon gray garbage bins to 20-gallon gray garbage bins, which are used for trash that is neither recyclable nor compostable, said Reed. The company recently presented an update report to the City Council on the Organics program.
“We see our numbers changing daily; we are seeing changes in the commercial sector as well,” Kirsten Pinochi, general manager for San Bruno Recology, said of composting practices in the community.
The smaller bins are cheaper for consumers, Pinochi noted at the City Council meeting.
While some Bay Area cities, such as San Francisco, require residences to compost kitchen scraps and yard waste, San Bruno’s Organics program is still voluntary.
It is too early in the program to predict if or when the city of San Bruno will require businesses and residences to compost, Reed said.
“All of our city facilities are participating in the Organics program,” Pinochi said.
Residents of San Bruno are provided kitchen pails specifically for composting, and have been sent literature explaining proper materials to compost at home.
“One of the keys to the future is to help people understand why they do it,” Reed said.
The city of San Bruno is using community outreach to continue to connect and educate local residents on ways to compost and the benefits of composting, Pinochi said.
“Customers are engaging,” said Pinochi. “They’re excited about it, they’re asking questions,” she said.
Community outreach efforts have included presentations at Skyline College in San Bruno, senior centers and other events, Pinochi said.
“We know this program takes a lot of time to mature,” Pinochi acknowledged.
As part of the initiative, the various compost collected is transported to and processed at South Valley Organics in Gilroy and converted into soil amendment as well as fertilizer to be used at orchards and farms, Reed said.
“There’s a whole new generation where composting is just a part of the culture now,” Reed said of the progression of such initiatives.