Residents in Santa Monica are collecting their food scraps and saving them to create a natural soil.

Recently Global Green, Santa Monica based non-profit has educated over 650 households on the benefits of composting food scraps and provided valuable training and resources. This action has led to nearly 85,000 pounds of organic waste being composted.

Composting is the natural recycling of organic materials like food scraps and yard waste. Through the natural process where bacteria and other living organisms break down the scraps and yard waste are formed into a more basic building block of soil.

The end product of the process is something that you can add to soil to give it greater nutritional value, for the plants, and aid in its ability to retain water.

Global Green is an advocate for sustainable living and launched the food scrap pilot project in 2014 with the goal being to divert food scraps from landfills and find the best practice in effective tenant outreach engagement.

They wanted to see what could guide a large-scale program. It gained a lot of support in 2016, and financial support from the Walmart Foundation.

It wasn’t long until Global Green expanded to 17 new and mostly low to middle income multifamily dwellings.

Global Green is consistently working in collaboration with municipalities, housing association, haulers, and property managers throughout this initiative, including the City of Santa Monica, including the Community Corporation of Santa Monica.

Community Corporation of Santa Monica Project Manager, John Mimms said, “We are taking on this initiative to try and help our residents in their buildings. Many municipalities already require organic composting in single-family homes and often in commercial establishments. Multifamily housing has been overlooked often because of a number of barriers to implementation.”

Mimms using the example of a single family home or business generates the trash and tasked with paying for its removal and dealing with it. In a multifamily property, those who generate the trash do not have to pay for its removal nor are responsible for its removal. Instead it’s a 3rd party, the property manager, who is responsible. That gap between generation and responsibility is one of the challenges in a successful program.

Community Corporation of Santa Monica believes the partnership will bring positive actions to the City and will educate and engage residents to be responsible and aware of their trash production.

The reaction to this program has been positive as many tenants felt the program was and is important and viewed it favorably, despite the extra work.

“The idea is to create a culture within our resident community’s and also with our partners and management agencies to develop ways to improve the resident experience by including things like composting,” said Les McCabe, President and CEO of Global Green in a recent press release.

Mimms explains Community Corporation of Santa Monica is assisting residents with resources to make composting as easy as possible.

“Through Global Green we provided each participating property individuals small composting pails for them to collect food scraps. There were outreach events to educate residents on what types of things could go into the organic bin,” said Mimms.

More recently Community Corporation has installed dispensers and are providing compostable liner bags to help encourage participation and perhaps reduce the unpleasant byproducts of the process.

All of the participating properties are located in Santa Monica, from the Pico neighborhood to Mid City to Ocean Park.

For residents who want to learn more and participate, the City of Santa Monica has community gardens, master gardeners, and compost give away. They also sell more contained composting systems like a tumbler bin or even a worm bin where people, even in apartments and limited space, can divert their organic waste and create high quality compost they can use in their own houseplants, outdoor plantings, and raised bed gardens.

“While we’re taking on the initiative to try to help our residents at our buildings, people don’t need to wait for someone else to take the first step,” said Mimms.

For more information you can visit http://www.globalgreen.org.

marina@smdp.com

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