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kitchen scraps composting

Original post made by Joe, Barron Park, on Feb 6, 2011


I am encouraged to compost vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen in an effort to reduce waste, recycle and generally "go green". However:
1. I don't have yard space to do this at home
2. The City of Palo Alto forbids me from putting vegetable and fruit scraps from my kitchen, in my green garden waste recycling bin.

Strangely, the East Palo Alto, forbids residents from putting vegetable and fruit scraps in the general garbage and REQUIRES that these sraps be placed in their equivalent of the green garden recycling bin.

Why does East Palo Alto require residents to recycle kitchen cuttings in the city provided recycling bins, but Palo Alto. forbids the same practice?

Barron Park

Comments (4)

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Posted by Dude What's up
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

Are you kidding me?

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2011 at 9:46 am

Joe -

You raise an interesting point - especially since the schools and other businesses can compost all kinds of things including dirty paper towels, etc.

Why are the rules different for homeowners and businesses (not in a good way...)?

Like this comment
Posted by Worthless time ....
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

You folks have way too much time on your hands....

Like this comment
Posted by Annette Puskarich
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Food scraps can be composted with worms at your home. Worm composting requires little space and can be done in a container much like those you use to store holiday decorations in. The PA Zero Waste Program offers free workshops on worm composting. Call 650-496-5910 for information. It is low effort and not smelly or icky when done properly.

The difference in services between single family homes and the rest of the city (i.e., commercial services):

The landscape trimmings collected from PA residents (single family homes and complexes up to 4 units) is composted at the compost facility located out at the PA Landfill. The composting method is windrows (long, tall, uncovered piles/rows of landscape debris). The State permit for the compost facility does not allow food waste to be composted there so the food can't be placed in your yard trimmings cart.

The compostables (mostly food scraps, food-soiled paper) collected from schools, businesses and multi-family complexes does not go to the compost facility at the Palo Alto Landfill. It goes to SJ where it is consolidated with food scraps from other cities, then transferred to the ZBest composting facility in Gilroy. The compostables are stuffed into a 350-foot long bag. The bag is a controlled environment for aeration and decomposition, as well as, odor and vector control.

- If you look at the compostable waste collected from PA single family homes it is mostly landscape debris.
- If you look at the compostable waste collected from PA commercial customers (i.e., apartment complexes, businesses and schools), it is mostly food and food-soiled paper. Commercial customers have little landscape debris collected from their premises because they have landscape maintenance companies that remove the landscape debris at the time of service since they don't have room to store it. The landscape maintenance companies take the plant debris directly out to the compost facility at the PA Landfill.
- About 75% of all the waste in the PA community comes from commercial activities so it makes sense to offer the food composting service to commercial customers first.

The permanent closing of the PA Landfill will likely bring about more changes.

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