After learning that residents are more likely to particpate in separating food waste if they believe their neighbors are too, Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) asked the community to share tips to help neighbors recycle food waste. This input was solicited via their Spring 2021 community newsletter, Living Green, a publication produced by Eco Partners, Inc. for CMSD.
Readers were asked to submit their ideas via email to the District. CMSD also received some input from community members on social media posts promoting the Organics Recycling Program. Here’s the resulting suggestions which can apply to any community food waste program! Our thanks to CMSD for sharing the following article.
We [Costa Mesa Sanitary District] asked if you had any tips to help your fellow neighbors recycle food waste, and here’s what you said:
• Freeze or refrigerate your food scraps and leftovers until your trash day to avoid odors in your countertop kitchen pail and Organics Recycling Cart. On trash day, dump the food waste into your Organics Recycling Cart.
• Moisture leads to odor! Drain any excess liquid from food scraps before disposing of them to slow decomposition and avoid odors.
• To save yourself the cost of purchasing compostable bags to hold food waste, reuse newspaper or brown paper bags from the grocery store.
• Pick up a free countertop kitchen pail to make collecting food scraps easy! CMSD solid waste customers can contact us by email to arrange contact-free pickup while supplies last.
• If a kitchen pail is too bulky for your countertop, use any container that fits your food scraps, such as food storage containers, yogurt or butter containers, zip bags, coffee tins, or glass jars.
• Instead of keeping one large trash container in your kitchen, keep three small containers: one for recyclables, one for landfill waste, and one for food scraps.
To avoid contamination, recyclables that have been rinsed clean can be placed loosely into the Mixed Waste Cart while miscellaneous landfill waste can be bagged and placed in the Mixed Waste Cart. Food scraps can be collected in compostable bags, brown paper bags, or newspaper and tossed into the Organics Recycling Cart.
As you can see, recycling organic waste doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all endeavor. We love hearing all of the innovative ways that our customers fit recycling into their lifestyles, so keep the tips coming! Email us with your ideas so that we can share them with your fellow neighbors and environmental enthusiasts. 
According to Gina Terraneo of CMSD, “Neighbors who responded typically provided detailed information and sometimes photos depicting how they store their food waste until collection day.” Thanks to the success of this effort, CMSD is continuting to solicit more tips and suggestions from its residents.
Alongside this, CMSD implemented a “Sustainability Hero of the Month” program to feature environmentally friendly businesses, public figures, and community members on social media. Community members nominate a neighbor or share an example of how they go above and beyond to protect the environment. CMSD then shines a spotlight on these “Sustainability Heroes.”
Photo credit: svetikd | E+ | Getty Images Plus