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City of Santa Cruz Launches Residential Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program

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 | July 13, 2022

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — In August the City of Santa Cruz will roll out its new Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program serving residents in compliance with SB 1383 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Food scraps will be collected on the same day as trash/recycling pickups. Initially the scraps will be turned into mash that is processed into animal feed; eventually they will be transformed into energy.

Following a successful pilot program in the Seabright neighborhood, the residential Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program will roll out in phases. Starting with delivery of food scrap collection pails to single-family residents in the Prospect Heights/DeLaveaga neighborhoods on Aug. 1, the program will gradually expand west. (“Single-family” includes residents in one to four unit dwellings. The Curbside Food Waste Collection program is already underway for multi-family residents in units that are five-fold or larger.)

All single-family residents will receive a 6-gallon collection pail with an animal-proof locking handle. The pail is made of recycled plastic and is reusable and recyclable.

Food scraps such as vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products, seafood, solid fats, and more may be placed in the pails which fit under most kitchen sinks. The pail will arrive with a reminder flier of what is and isn’t accepted as food scraps. Residents will need to place the pails curbside with their trash and recycling bins on collection day.

All single-family residents have been mailed a postcard explaining what can be placed in the pail. This information and a video demonstration of how to use the pail in English and Spanish can be viewed at www.cityofsantacruz.com/foodwaste.

Currently, all of the collected food scraps will be delivered to Sustainable Organic Solutions in Santa Clara to be made into animal feed through a dehydration process. Eventually, the City plans for all food scraps to be processed into energy at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

“Our investment in new equipment at the Resource Recovery Facility allows us to turn the food scraps into a ‘mash’ that will eventually be compatible with the anaerobic digester process at our Wastewater Treatment Facility,” said Resource Recovery Operations Manager Bob Nelson. “After the digesters are upgraded they will turn the mash into biogas that will become electricity used to operate the plant.”

The Curbside Food Scrap Collection program is part of the residential bundled Resource Recovery service that includes garbage, yard waste and recycling collection. Customers are billed based on the size of their garbage container. Properly sorting and diverting food scraps, yard waste and clean/dry recyclables is a great way to reduce garbage container size, thus ensuring a cost savings.

Please note: City of Santa Cruz residents may not add food scraps to their yard waste bins as is done in Santa Cruz County. Yard waste is processed separately in accordance with the City’s use permit.

Residents who are eager to divert their food scraps before pail delivery, may start their own backyard composting with a $40 City rebate. Details on this rebate and the Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program are available at www.cityofsantacruz.com/foodwaste.

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