How does the new mandatory composting rule in L.A work? Here is everything you have to do
The new initiative hopes to stop residents’ organic waste going to landfill and instead being used more productively.
Los Angeles becomes the first city in California to mandate composting food waste. Since 16 January people living in the city must seperate their food waste from their normal landfill-bound bins.
The initiative has been taken up by a number of US cities but there has never been a federal ruling on the issue. Other countries mandate the practice with the UK having a similar law which was codified in November 2021.
“Nearly 40% to 50% of the trash we collect curbside is compostable,” Michael Martinez, founder of L.A. Compost, said last year, when the law was enacted. “We need to stop seeing food ‘waste’ as trash and redefine our vocabulary to see it as a resource, something that needs to be transformed and reinvested back into the soil.”
The law aims to cut methane emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, rotting food waste causes 8% of all US emissions so finding an alternate use for it is crucial.
What you need to do
Pretty much every waste foodstuff can go in the green bin. This includes:
However the green bin is strictly food waste. This means objects listed as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ are not welcome.
The waste can be stored in anything though the Sanitation Bureau offers a free pail. If there is no space in a garden to form compost then you can contact the bureau to organise a pick-up of your waste.