Food scrap re­cy­cling pro­gram is rolling out to res­i­dents

The Mercury News - - Local News - By Vic­to­ria Kezra vkezra@ba­yare­anews­group.com

The city of Sun­ny­vale is plan­ning to roll out its new food scraps col­lec­tion pro­gram over the next eight weeks and res­i­dents will soon be re­ceiv­ing new garbage carts.

The FoodCy­cle pro­gram, when fully im­ple­mented, will have res­i­dents in sin­gle-fam­ily homes and mo­bile home com­mu­ni­ties be­gin us­ing a garbage cart split in two. The larger side will be for reg­u­lar garbage, the other for food scraps that will be col­lected and turned into an­i­mal feed.

The new carts and trucks ar­rived at Spe­cialty Solid Waste and Re­cy­cling in Santa Clara on Sept. 7. Cart de­liv­ery be­gan Mon­day and will con­tinue through Nov. 3.

Ac­cord­ing to Nick Nab­han, gen­eral man­ager of Spe­cialty Solid Waste, res­i­dents can leave their old carts out on the curb and Spe­cialty staff will replace them with new carts.

“We’ll dump the old cart of garbage, put it down, we’ll pick it up and de­liver the new one the same day,” said Nab­han, adding that the old carts’ metal will be taken out, and cart bod­ies will be chopped up and used to make new ones.

Ac­cord­ing to Nab­han, if the old cart is not at the curb, Spe­cialty staff will try again dur­ing the fol­low­ing week’s col­lec­tion day.

Ear­lier this year, the city asked res­i­dents by mail for their pre­ferred new cart size. Ac­cord­ing to the city man­ager’s re­port, only 50 per­cent of res­i­dents re­sponded to the mailer. Those who did not re­spond will re­ceive a cart sim­i­lar to the size of their cur­rent one.

The FoodCy­cle pro­gram has been in the works for more than two years. A pi­lot pro­gram ran from March 2015 through De­cem­ber of that year with 500 house­holds in five neigh­bor­hoods across the city.

In the test run, res­i­dents were given carts that were split evenly be­tween food scraps and garbage. Ac­cord­ing to the city, 74 per­cent of the house­holds par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram by putting food scraps in the sep­a­rate com­part­ment.

The city said that a com­mon com­plaint from res­i­dents was that the garbage side of the test carts was too small. As a re­sult, the carts that res­i­dents will re­ceive in the com­ing weeks have a 30 per­cent to 70 per­cent split, with the smaller side in­tended for food scraps.

Ac­cord­ing to the city, roughly 31,000 house­holds in sin­gle-fam­ily neigh­bor­hoods and mo­bile home com­mu­ni­ties will be­gin par­tic­i­pat­ing in the FoodCy­cle pro­gram in the com­ing weeks. Res­i­dents liv­ing in multi-unit dwellings will not par­tic­i­pate.

Re­cy­clable food items in­clude fruits, veg­eta­bles, dairy, eggs, shells, meat, bones, tea, cof­fee grounds, left­over food, spoiled food and freezer-burned food. Res­i­dents can put scraps into clear plas­tic bags, pa­per bags and news­pa­pers.

The scraps will be pro­cessed at the Sun­ny­vale SMART Sta­tion and sent to the Sus­tain­able Or­ganic So­lu­tions fa­cil­ity in Santa Clara to be made into feed for pigs.

Jerry Nab­han, op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer at Spe­cialty Solid Waste and Re­cy­cling, said the pigs that will dine on the scraps are not in­tended to be sold for food. Their pur­pose is solely to dis­pose of the food scrap waste in an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly man­ner, he said.

The city wants to di­vert 8,000 tons of food scraps from land­fills each year, with a goal of di­vert­ing 75 per­cent of food waste by 2020 and 90 per­cent by 2030.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber why we are do­ing this, which has to do with green­house gas re­duc­tion,” Mayor Glenn Hen­dricks said. “This is im­por­tant for Sun­ny­vale; we want to be and pride our­selves on be­ing a leader in en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. This is an­other tool in our tool belt that we’re us­ing to be a more sus­tain­able city.”

JACQUELINE RAMSEYER — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Sun­ny­vale Mayor Glenn Hen­dricks, left, and Nick Nab­han, man­ager of Spe­cialty Solid Waster and Re­cy­cling, hold one of Sun­ny­vale’s new FoodCy­cle carts. The yel­low side will hold fruit and veg­etable scraps, eggs, meat and bones. The black side will be for trash such as to-go con­tain­ers, pa­per tow­els and pizza boxes.

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