- More than 50,000 of Waste Connections' residential customers in San Luis Obispo County, CA will have access to organics recycling by the end of the month.
- Residents will receive kitchen bins for their food scraps and can then dump them into larger green carts for curbside collection. All material will be taken to a composting facility in Santa Maria until the county can build its own facility.
- Plans are underway for Hitachi Zosen Inova to build a Kompogas anaerobic digester on property owned by San Luis Garbage — a Waste Connections subsidiary — that will have the capacity to power more than 600 homes.
The county has been searching for an organics processing solution since its composting operation at the Cold Canyon Landfill shut down in 2010 due to odor complaints. California's state legislature passed a law requiring 75% of waste be diverted from landfills by 2020 and in 2014 further requirements were added for commercial generators. The county is currently at 66% and organics account for 20-30% of its waste stream, so this is seen as their best option for meeting the state goal.
The 43,000-square-foot Kompogas digester will reportedly be Hitachi Zosen's first in the U.S. The Japanese company has expressed an interest in growing its waste-to-energy portfolio throughout the world in recent years. Approval is still required from the county's planning commission and Waste Connections is working to renew enough hauling contracts to meet capacity for Hitachi Zosen's required 20-year commitment.
Though California has recently seen diversion rates dip below 50% and landfill tonnages increase, the state is still making good progress on organics recycling. Five new organics laws were adopted in January, aimed at increasing diversion and growing infrastructure, and the state continues to be a national leader on this front.