LA’s appetite for composting grows. More residents to put food waste in green bins

Written by Danielle Chiriguayo, produced by Giuliana Mayo

Soon, hundreds of Angelenos will be required to place food waste into green bins. Photo by Shutterstock.

The City of Los Angeles is expanding its composting program after years of COVID-19 disruptions. Now it includes food-related waste. But confusion has grown over how the program will work.

Some 40,000 LA residents are currently required to take part in this food waste reclamation program, and LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) has let them know, says James Roska, an environmental engineer with the agency. 

Roska says participants should place food scraps into their green bins, and by the end of the year, 750,000 additional residents will be expected to join the program.  

He explains, “The material that we collect will be going to larger-scale commercial composting facilities. These facilities will take the yard waste, food waste, all of that organic material, and basically compost it in large industrial commercial windrows, where the organic material will break down, turn into nutrient-rich compost.”

Then the compost will be sold to farmers to grow new crops.

“There's a whole system of basically the management of that material. And then right there is an end use. … They then introduce [it] into their soil, produce more crops, and then that gets sold back to consumption and markets.”

He adds that the new process shouldn’t create new waste, and the city will reconfigure its trash pickup routes to accommodate.