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Manhattan Beach on Cutting Edge of Food Waste Recycling

Sep 30, 2015 04:10PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Mystifying...convenient...or revolutionary? No matter what you think about Waste Management's new little white and tan food-waste buckets, they have brought Manhattan Beach to the forefront of Southern California recycling efforts.

With the addition of the new buckets, the city Manhattan Beach has become the first Waste Management serviced city in Southern California to launch a full-scale food waste recycling program that turns food leftovers into renewable clean green energy.

The program’s implementation was approved in conjunction with newly adopted rates by city council on July 7, expanding the city’s pilot program. Food waste collection is now offered as part of standard waste and recycling services provided by Waste Management.

By now all of the Manhattan Beach residents who did not opt out have received the pails, said Eloisa Orozco, area communications manager for Waste Management of Southern California. Waste Management has distributed approximately 13,000 pails to households around town, she said.

Food waste allowed in the white bins include fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood (bones and shells), bakery items, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, fat, oil, and grease. 

Consumers are asked to collect the food scraps in small recyclable plastic bags, seal the bag up securely, and place it in the green waste cart. Orozco noted that if you are unsure whether a food scrap can be recycled, it is better to throw it out with the regular trash than risk contamination.

Once collected, the food waste is transported to a facility in Orange where it is processed by Waste Management’s patented Centralized Organic Recycling equipment (CORe®) system, and turned into Engineered BioSlurry (EBS)™, which is used for the creation of green, renewable energy at a waste water treatment plant.

The new food waste recycling program is not the same as composting. This new approach allows for the capture of carbon for use as renewable energy. Every ton of food waste recycled through the CORe process is equivalent to eliminating CO2 emissions from 30 cars on Southern California's roads, according to Waste Management.

In addition to the consumer efforts, 24 Manhattan Beach businesses are participating in a "yellow bag" commercial food waste pilot. They include: American Martyrs Church, Beckers Bakery, Bristol Farms, BrewCo , California Pizza Kitchen,, Farmers Market, Grandview Elementary, Islands, Le Pain Quotidien, Manhattan Bread and Bagel, Manhattan Beach Market, MB Middle School, Nick's Restaurant, Olive Garden, Pacific Elementary, Petros, Rock’N Fish, Robinson Elementary, Sesame Moe’s, Shade Hotel , Starbucks and Tin Roof Bistro.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the single largest contributor to the nation's landfills.

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