Can I Recycle That? The 411 on Recycling and Composting in San Diego

Some surprising items are not eligible to be recycled

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It's something a lot of us have questioned before-  can I recycle this? There are some rules with recycling and it's not as easy as just putting it all together and they'll figure it out later.

NBC 7 spoke with a Zero Waste Manager to get an idea of common mistakes we may be making while recycling.

“I would say the biggest thing I hear from people is they put stuff in the bin and they’re like, ‘oh they’ll figure it out.’  And it’s like no, no, no, that’s not how this works," explained Lauren Olson, Zero Waste Manager for World Centric. "You shouldn’t just put stuff in the bin with the hope that it’ll work out and someone will recycle it. That’s called wish cycling because it really does mess up the potential whole load of recycling."

The City of San Diego has a comprehensive list of items that should and should not be recycled.

Composting has also grown in popularity with more people adding gardens to their backyard during the pandemic.

It's a recipe of nitrogen and carbon with about three parts carbon, including branches and leaves.

Nitrogen would be your food scraps to make your plants are rich and green.

You'll want to mix it all together and make sure it can breathe and also has some water, but not too much. Continuously add to it and within six months to a year, you should have viable compost you can use on your garden at home. 

“All those things are really great to compost rather than put in the landfill because once they go in the landfill, they create methane and once they create methane, it’s a very powerful greenhouse gas,” Olson said.

San Diego has several programs in place to help residents get started with composting. The Compost Bin Voucher Program is year-round and provides residents a discount on one of three styles of compost bins. One voucher is available per household while supplies last and proof of residency required.

Learn more about the program here.

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