Free compost available Saturday, part of OC’s growing organics recycling program – Orange County Register


Orange County residents can get free compost for their landscaping and gardens on Saturday, Nov. 5, at any of the three public county landfills.

The compost giveaway is a new thing OC Waste & Recycling is trying. It did a trial run at just the Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine in March and got a good response and interest in making more compost available, officials said.

And with new programs for handling organic waste, it has more compost available.

In 2016, new state laws put much more focus on recycling organics so they aren’t going in landfills and taking up valuable space and adding to methane emissions, David Tieu, OC Waste & Recycling deputy director, said.

To meet the new expectations for putting yard clippings and now, more recently with new laws that went into effect this year, food waste to use, the agency opened two large composting facilities at its Bowerman landfill and its Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano and in January expects to open one at its Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea.

For now, the compost being generated for public use comes from the yard clippings hauled to the landfills. OC Waste & Recycling has created a process for composting that waste and having it certified with the Seal of Testing Assurance by the US Composting Council.

Saturday is expected to be the first of several future giveaways – it’s also geared at educating residents about recycling ahead of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 – and the agency will be also be updating its website with information on how bulk compost can be picked up at its Irvine and San Juan Capistrano landfills, Tieu said.

Some 40% of the material hauled to the local landfills is organics waste, so there is a “huge opportunity” for the agency to take that material in and compost it and make it available for use, he said.

Composting the yard clippings into quality compost that can be properly certified is a first step. Next will be developing the processes and technology for doing that safely with food waste, he said, and the Brea facility that is being developed is expected to open with that technology in place.

Saturday’s compost giveaway will run from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m., while supplies last. If planning to get compost in Irvine or San Juan Capistrano, residents should take a shovel and containers or heavy-duty yard waste bags to load the compost – limit 60 gallons. In Brea, pre-filled bags of compost will be distributed – limited four bags per household.

The composting facilities are:

  • Bee Canyon Greenery, 11002 Bee Canyon Access Road, Irvine
  • Capistrano Greenery, 32250 Avenida La Pata, San Juan Capistrano
  • Valencia Greenery, 1942 N. Valencia Ave., Brea




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