Grandpa’s Composting 101 Lesson

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How Do You Make Compost?

As my Grandpa would say, “It’s simple!” His Composting 101 lesson was this:

Grandpa's Composting 101 Lessons circa 1980
“We delivered some of Grandpa’s tomatoes to a friend in McKinleyville, CA, then we went to this wood pile to chop and collect wood for burning in the fireplace. McKinleyville is about 10 miles north of Arcata, CA where they lived.”

“You collect all the food waste and compostable waste from the house, take it up to the 5’x 5’ wooden box I built in the back yard, and throw it on top of the rest of the material that we threw in last week. Take the pitch fork and turn it a couple of times a week to get some air to it. In the next couple of months, before planting the vegetable garden, we will have the perfect blend of Grandpa’s Barn Yard Tea!”

Thanks to his backyard compost pile, Grandpa’s tomatoes were always huge and full of flavor, the carrots were bright orange and sweeter than any, and the squash was greener and tastier than something from the store.

Composting 101 and SB 1383

Composting 101 for Large-Scale Operations
A trommel sorts compost at a commercial composting facility.

How does Composting 101 relate to the newly proposed requirements of SB 1383?  

“It’s simple!”

You collect all the food waste and compostable waste from the house and take it out to the compostables bin provided by your waste disposal company. Your waste company hauls it away for production of commercial compost used in commercial farming. A much bigger production than Grandpa’s yearly garden but the same requirements. Commercial Compost is a highly regarded soil amendment. It’s made from the table scraps we throw into the green compost bin provided by your waste disposal company. It’s used to raise vegetables, wine grapes, almonds, and many varieties of produce you purchase from the grocery store. It’s no different from Grandpa’s compost except instead of a 5’x5’ wooden box and a pitch fork, it’s 100,000 cubic yards of material turned by expensive machines on a 100 to 200 acre footprint.

So instead of food and compostable wastes being buried in a landfill, which produces an extremely large amount of methane, we turn it into a reusable product that reduces and helps the carbon footprint.

SB 1383 Enforcement is Coming

With SB 1383 enforcement lurking over businesses starting in January, 2022, there is less than a year to prepare. SB 1383 requires businesses that produce organic wastes to reduce their levels of disposal by certain percentages. Commercial Buildings and Multifamily Dwellings are required to separate food waste and compostable waste from the main garbage waste stream at that time.

See the articles below to learn more about what a business must do to meet SB 1383’s requirements.

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