Republic Services Inc., Phoenix, announced the opening of California's first fully solar-powered compost facility Oct. 6. According to the company, Republic's new Otay Compost Facility in Chula Vista, California, will recycle food and yard waste from the San Diego region to help communities meet the requirements of a new state law mandating diversion of organic waste from landfills while operating completely off the grid.
"Republic Services has made a long-term commitment to increase the recycling and circularity of key materials like organics from the waste stream," Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, says. "Recycling organic waste into compost is one of the many ways we're providing sustainable solutions to our customers in the San Diego region, and we continue to invest in organics infrastructure across California."
State law SB 1383 takes effect Jan. 1, 2022, and will require the majority of homes and businesses in California to recycle their food and yard waste. Recycling organic waste into compost creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment, which helps preserve natural resources and reduce water consumption. The law also requires cities to purchase and use organics-based products like compost, helping ensure this material is returned to the community through the circular economy.
The Otay Compost Facility uses solar power to run composting operations at the site, including fans that aerate the organic material as well as oxygen and temperature sensors. The site also employs industry-leading compost cover technology, according to the company. The facility can process 100 tons of organics per day, with plans to double capacity by the end of the year.
Republic Services operates 12 compost facilities in total, six of which are in California. In 2020, the company processed more than 2.15 billion pounds of food and yard waste and created nearly a half-million tons of compost.
Republic Services was named 2020 Organics Recycler of the Year by the National Waste & Recycling Association, a recognition of the company's innovation and leadership in the space. Additionally, organics recycling directly supports Republic's sustainability goal to increase recovery and circularity of key materials from the waste stream by 40 percent by 2030.
Republic Services recently talked with Waste Today about the Otay facility and its other organics processing operations. To read more, check out "Leading the Way," which appears in our March issue.