Still have questions about California's composting law? | July 22, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 22, 2022

Still have questions about California's composting law?

Here's what you need to know

by Magali Gauthier

On an early February morning, the sun rises as a huge trailer filled with food scraps, soiled paper and yard trimmings is hoisted to a near vertical position at Recology's Blossom Valley Organics composting facility in Vernalis in San Joaquin County. Immediately, 25 tons of organic waste tumbles out. It'll soon get sorted by machinery and workers to remove any inorganic materials from the mix. Then starts the two-month-long decomposition process before it becomes compost. About 1,500 tons of organic waste are delivered to the facility every day, including what's generated by Mountain View's commercial businesses.

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Posted by Julia Sutter
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 25, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Julia Sutter is a registered user.

I just throw fruit/vegetable peelings, egg shells, seafood shells and bones directly into the backyard garden.

No need for any compost bin.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 26, 2022 at 12:03 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

There's a young movement about using human bodies for composting that solve two problems. The human body, after it degrades naturally, makes great compost. Also, human compost helps grow tall trees, fast -- one of the things that is causing climate change is the lack of shade from all of the denuded forests. A bonus byproduct of this is we could save billions of acres that are otherwise used for mahogany boxes buried six feet under that do not degrade at all. Web Link

Posted by Greg Pfister
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 26, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Greg Pfister is a registered user.

While your idea/concept has some environmental logic, human compost would also pose a potential public health problem/issue depending upon how the body was disposed of and cause of death.

Many people cremate and scatter ashes. This method works well in most cases providing one does not toss the ashes into the wind.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 27, 2022 at 6:26 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

"By 2024, jurisdictions need to start imposing penalties on residential and commercial customers who don't follow the law."
Ahh - the garbage can inspectors are on the way. Since animal waste has to go in garbage and not in the compost bin, they may have a messy job "pawing" through the trash.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2022 at 11:24 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Having visited with family/friends in other areas, I find that the rules are different everywhere. We seem to be able to compost a great deal more than other places. I still find it hard to believe that we are composting various paper products as well as animal bones and flesh which cannot be good for crops or even home grown produce.

Perhaps we should be told exactly what our compost is being used for. Can we actually buy the compost for our own needs? How long does it take for our compost to be usable? Can we be sure that rodents and other scavengers are not attracted to the compost as it is breaking down? Can general compost such as we produce actually be used by organic farming techniques?

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 27, 2022 at 3:07 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Greg, it's not my concept, that's why I posted the link. The concept is a real workable solution conceptualized by someone who applied science to solve multiple problems. Eliminate fossil fuels, and save a plot of land from going to waste. If you watch the video, you will see bodies being encased in pods where they are covered in other compostible natural plant material. The body takes a couple of months to decompose. All that's left after the process is complete is dirt. Safe dirt. No more dangerous than what you would buy in a bag at a big box store. Corpses that have had massive radiation or lived with a highly infectious disease like tuberculosis wouldn't be allowed. Washington, Oregon and Colorado have legalized the process, using the method as shown in the video. It's part of a "death positive" movement that strives for more death options -- or maybe to state differently, it opens up more avenues (and more affordable avenues, and more planet friendly ways) to dispose of a body (LEGALLY -- don't try this at home, practicing on your neighbors). Cremation requires as much fuel as a 600 mile trip in a car. Composting a body uses zero fuel and the best byproduct is useful for the planet. What you do with cremated ashes is your business but the ashes don't grow anything, they're just dead ashes. Compost can be used to grow plants that sustain life. Death and corpses are taboo subjects in most cultures. I hope I'm in OR, WA, or CO when I croak. CA is lagging behind in passing similar legislation.

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