What happens during composting and why do we do it?
When the green compost bin is serviced from your home or business, Recology takes compostable materials to the “Compost Annex” located at Tunnel Road. From this facility, the compostables are taken to Jepson Prairie Organics in Vacaville, California where the curbside material is transformed into nutrient-rich, organic compost for local farms.
Operations at Jepson Prairie Organics in Vacaville, CA.
When compostable materials arrive at Jepson Prairie Organics, they are:
Sorted for plastics and other non-compostable items, otherwise known as "contaminants"
Compostables are shredded to facilitate the naturally-occurring microbes in breaking down materials
The shredded material is laid out in rows and covered to retain heat, so the naturally-occurring microbes can process the organic matter and destroy harmful pathogens. The difference between your household compost pile and commercial composting facilities (as some home composters know - meat, bones, and dairy cannot be composted at home because backyard compost piles do not reach temperatures high enough to kill pathogens).
After 45 days, the transformation is complete and nutrient-rich compost can be sold to local farms to grow produce and protect the soil.
Why We Compost
Nigel Walker form Eatwell Farm in Dixon, CA shows off his organically grown heirloom tomatoes using organic compost from food scraps collected in San Francisco.
Participating in a compost program helps prevent sending valuable materials to the landfill, as well as provide a nutrients and other benefits to the land to which it is applied.
Food scraps and other compostables sent to the landfill break down in an anaerobic environment and create methane gas, which is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide as a harmful greenhouse gas.
Compost used on farmland reduces the need for artificial, chemical-heavy fertilizers. In addition, compost improves soil structure and density which provide a better environment for plant roots and produce to grow, increases moisture in soil which reduces erosion, improves and stabilizes soil pH, and supplies a variety of nutrients. The economic benefits associated with compost involve the reduction in the need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.