Composting Comes to Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles

Global Green compost pilot For those of you who have read my previous blog posts, you know how much I love getting out of the office and bringing Global Green's work where it's needed most. This past week, I got to head down to an apartment complex in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles to launch the largest multi-family residential composting project in the city to date.

In partnership with Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) members Athens Services and EcoSafe, we hosted a building-wide composting kickoff complete with multi-lingual training on how to compost, a raffle for gift certificates and Dodgers' tickets, a bin-and-bag giveaway to residents, a six-foot party sub, and demonstrations by a few of the younger residents on how it's done. There's nothing more rewarding (or adorable) than watching kids argue good-naturedly over who gets to be the first to put the food scraps in the compost dumpster. As property manager Cristal Gonzales stated, “[Composting] is a great way to give our tenants the opportunity to act on their desire to reduce landfilled waste, and teach their children about caring for the environment.”

Young resident tosses compostable bag of food waste into new compost dumpster at Lincoln Heights apartment.

 

According to the EPA, 95% of food scraps are landfilled each year, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to seven coal-fired power plants. While some cities have begun introducing residential composting programs to reduce these impacts, multi-family buildings are often the last to be included in these programs due to their complexity relative to a grocery store or a single-family home. In our usual fashion, we’re tackling this system precisely because it is the toughest: Our pilots focus specifically on multi-family residences to help set the stage for broader implementation across the country. With Los Angeles aimed at 70% waste reduction by 2020, the Lincoln Heights neighborhood was a great place to start.

With support from building management, the residents, and the waste hauler, we look forward to tracking the successes and challenges of the program. As we launch additional residential composting pilots in Los Angeles and beyond, our findings will serve as a toolkit to share with policymakers and property managers across the country. Stay tuned for more as the project continues!

Read more about the Lincoln Heights project here.

If you’re interested in bringing a compost pilot project to your multi-family building in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York City—contact us here!

For field updates and news from Lily Kelly, follow her on Twitter @LilyKellyGG.