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I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego county encourages residents to recycle their organic waste

SAN DIEGO – This fall season, I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego County encouraged residents to continue or begin recycling or composting their organic waste, including Halloween pumpkins.

"ILACSD provides educational webinars and resources to make organic waste recycling a treat, not a trick, this festive season," Amy Unruh, waste recovery manager at I Love A Clean San Diego, said.

According to the county's Department of Public Works, 40% of waste in landfills is organic materials, which includes food waste, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings. When organic waste decomposes in a landfill, methane is produced, a potent greenhouse gas and climate pollutant.

"Alternatively, when we compost pumpkins and other organic waste, the material is transformed into a valuable soil amendment. Composting recycles nutrients back into the soil, improves water retention, lessening the need for irrigation, and helps to grow healthier food," Steve Weihe, recycling specialist with the county, said. "It also saves valuable space in our local landfills."

To help unincorporated residents, recycle organic waste and identify what belongs in the green bin, the county reminded them: If it grows, it goes.

For Halloween, remember all parts of a pumpkin can be composted or placed in the curbside organic waste bin including the seeds, guts, stem and the pumpkin itself. It's important that all candles, lights and decorations are removed first. Painted pumpkins or those decorated with glitter should not be composted or placed in the green bin. Soiled Halloween party napkins as well as yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste can also be composted or placed in the curbside organic waste bin.

There are five best practice steps for proper organic waste recycling in your home.

Choose a container with a closable lid. It prevents flies and insects from entering the container and keeps your home clean.

Know what to throw. Residents can learn more about organic waste on the county's website at Or use the memory trick: If it grows, it goes.

Items that do not belong in the green organic waste bin include plastic bags, dirt, soil, rocks, concrete, pet waste or kitty litter, diapers, clothing, liquids, glass, metal and plastics.

Collect your scraps and food-soiled paper. Wrapping your scraps in paper will help with any potential odors or pest issues. Do not place them in plastic or compostable plastic bags.

Store your container in a convenient location. Having a convenient location for your container makes recycling organic waste easier. Try storing your container under the sink, on the counter or in the refrigerator or freezer. Tip: Add a dash of baking soda to your bin to help soak up extra moisture and combat odors.

Transport your food scraps container to the curbside organics bin. Adding food scraps to your organic waste bin the night before collection is preferable. Tip: Use shredded paper to help absorb any moisture in the cart.

Residents can find recycling guides on the county's website and learn more about sustainable practices by registering for one of I Love A Clean San Diego's workshops and webinars at

Founded in 1954, I Love A Clean San Diego is an environmental nonprofit supporting residents and businesses of San Diego County through youth and adult education, and local action through impactful volunteer events and workshops. As San Diego's most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego's programs are an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action to empower everyone to be leaders in conservation and waste-free living. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit or call 619-291-0103. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Submitted by I Love A Clean San Diego.


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