Thousands of San Luis Obispo County residents soon will receive free food-scrap pails so they can turn their banana peels, cornhusks, apple cores and other toss-aways into compost, reducing the load on local landfills.
In the long term, methane produced during the composting process could eventually produce power for up to 650 homes a year.
Waste Connections, the private garbage disposal company serving most communities from San Simeon to Nipomo, will start distributing the containers Monday to 51,000 homes countywide.
Food waste — such as cooked and uncooked meat, fish, fruits and vegetables — can be disposed of in the containers. Peels, rinds, pits, grains and pasta can also be thrown in.
The scraps then can be discarded into green bins for weekly curbside pickup, along with lawn trimmings, raked leaves and other plant waste. The green waste will be recycled at an outdoor compost facility in Santa Maria that is operated by Engel & Gray Inc., which already takes Waste Connections’ green waste and works closely with vineyards and retail stores to supply them with the finished compost.
“The goal is to keep all organic waste out of the landfills,” said Patrick Fenton, Waste Connections’ district manager.
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