California is converting its organic waste into nutrient-rich compost using large-scale solar power

California State Law (SB 1383) went into effect on January 1, 2022, requiring most area homes and businesses to recycle all food and yard waste. In response to growing demand for processing compostable materials, Republic Services spent the three years constructing the Otay Composting Facility, which opened last year.

The facility is the first in the state to run entirely on solar power. Pledges to turn 100 tons of yard waste and food from neighboring San Diego communities into nutrient-rich compost.

Republic Services says production is expected to double to 200 tonnes per day when at full capacity.

From household waste to compost, the infrastructure of the whole process will require a change of mindset. However, the efforts are aimed at bringing significant benefits to the environment.

As any gardener knows, there is a distinct difference between soil and soil, so converting organic matter into an amendment that improves soil quality is essential for farmers, home gardeners and urban spaces.

To achieve the circular economy, residents and businesses put organic food in their organic waste bin instead of the trash can, which will reduce waste disposal costs and curb the increase in landfills.

Some experts estimate that up to 40% of the waste that ends up in landfills is made up of food waste. Instead of taking up space and contributing to landfill methane gas emissions, food scraps are trucked to the processing plant, where the zero-energy method turns them into compost. It is then returned to the neighborhoods and public spaces in the same community where the materials originated.

The process is not new to Republic Services. According to the company,recognized as the 2020 Organics Recycling Company of the Year, operates 12 composting facilities in five states and recycled more than 2.15 billion pounds of food and yard waste last year“.

Republic Services’ composting facility in the San Diego area has been named the best in the industry.

The National Waste and Recycling Association has named Republic Services’ Otay Composting Facility as organic product management plant of the year 2022, celebrating its innovative approach to the separation of organic products. Otay’s installation is the first composting facility in the state to run entirely on solar power and which recycles food and yard waste from across the San Diego area.

The solar-powered operation uses 144 photovoltaic panels and a battery backup system to power everything from the fans and temperature sensors used in the composting process to air conditioning the facility’s offices.

This advanced technology extends to control systems, which can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Since the facility operates entirely off-grid, municipal customers can achieve their own climate action goals, support energy independence and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Home Composting Guide

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