Waiting for Food Recycling to Begin in Chula Vista

Several cities still haven't started recycling food waste.

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Food waste recycling is going to become a way of life in California. It’s just taking a while to get off the ground in places like Chula Vista.

“Food waste counts for about 27% of what people throw out every year,” said Victor Sanchez.

That food waste ends up in landfills.

“What happens?” asked Sanchez. “Gases get released. We’re talking greenhouse gases, methane, the worst contributors to global warming.”

Sanchez is a senior recycling specialist for the City of Chula Vista. Chula Vista was supposed to start its food recycling program with Republic Services on Jan. 1, 2022. Residents were to put food waste in green yard waste bins to be recycled into compost.

However, that was derailed by a strike by Republic’s union drivers. The fallout from the monthlong strike delayed the rollout even longer.

At the same time, the City of San Diego has been slow to roll out its program, too.

A spokeswoman said in a statement, “The program will begin when essential equipment, staff and policies are in place. Households will be notified in advance of their green bin delivery and will also receive a new weekly pick-up schedule.”

Sanchez said EDCO already started its food waste recycling program last year in several service areas like National City.

“Every city has its own challenges, their own hurdles that they have to jump through,” sighed Sanchez.

He said Chula Vista is ramping back up again. He said Republic is delivering green bins to households that need one. Concurrently, Chula Vista is passing out one free small kitchen caddie to each household. It allows people to store old food inside until it’s taken to the bin outside.

“It’s very basic. You can keep it on your counter, or you can put it underneath your sink,” explained Sanchez.

The city wants people to get used to the caddy and the process of recycling food. However, it doesn’t want people to add it to the green bin until the program is ready.

“Hopefully, if all goes well, the program will begin July 1,” hoped Sanchez.

”This is going to be a part of everyday life,” he added. “We’re used to recycling already because we’ve been doing it for 20-plus years.”

And 20 years from now, food waste recycling may be a regular part of life.

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