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Kern County residents’ respond to California law requiring composting organic waste

Food Waste Recycling
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 21:15:16-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Senate Bill 1383 went into effect January 1, 2022, and under state law everyone in California should have started making the transition to compost organic waste.

However, city officials say they don’t want to create penalties without first educating the public.

“One of the programs that’s coming about is they’re making these decals that go on the trash cans themselves with pictures and words. It’s like, okay, this trash can, or this green can, this blue can, these are the things you put in this can,” said Chuck Magee, Public Works Manager with Kern County Public Works.

Still, city officials understand it can be a difficult to understand what exactly organic waste is.

Joe Conroy explained what goes in the green bin: “Anything that is organic food waste. So, things like fruits, vegetables, cooked meat, bones, fish small amounts of grease, or maybe soups, that can go in the green bin.”

Magee said there’s an even easier way to remember it: “Really what we’re hoping for is to get everybody educated to go, ‘is it a plant? Was it a plant? It is a plant. It can go in the green cart.’”

“I can see it might be an inconvenience to some but it’s probably a good idea in the long run,” said Kern County resident, Alfonso Moreno.

While some residents, like Moreno can see the long-term benefits, others like Pamela McEnulty are concerned with the smell the food may produce.

Stating in her Facebook comment, “Rotting grass clippings in the green can is bad enough but food waste too? Not looking forward to that rank smell when it's 100+ degrees all summer long.”

Luckily officials had a few tips for residents who are concerned, like purchasing compostable trash bags for your green bin or even freezing your food until trash day.

“Everything, every change, always has some degree of difficulty and you know it comes with the territory. We’re prepared for that, and we understand that it may take some time and I think the state understands that as well,” said Conroy.