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Supervisors OK Amending Organic Materials Ordinance to Reduce Food Waste, Promote Composting


Farmworkers harvest vegetables near Salinas.
Farmworkers harvest vegetables. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to amend an organic materials zoning ordinance to provide more options for community gardeners, farmers, commercial composters and residents.

After a required second reading of the proposed amendments, the vote will allow composters to discard organic materials such as food waste and agricultural and plant materials, and also pick up compost, which can be used as plant fertilizer.

The board’s vote also establishes a standalone zoning ordinance for organic materials management, amends a section on animal waste processing and develops a zoning verification permit for organic materials management.

According to the county Land Use and Environment Group, Wednesday’s vote “will build upon the progress the county has already made and make organic materials processing easier for those who want to set up composting practices.”

According to the board agenda, county officials said they expect “to see an increase of small operations, residential and community-led efforts that will benefit from the changes in this ordinance, as it reduces requirements and in many cases no permit is needed.”

On July 22, the county Planning Commission unanimously recommended an update to the Organic Materials Ordinance.

In 2017, supervisors approved the Department of Public Works’ plan to reduce waste, with a goal of reaching zero waste — considered 90% or higher — by 2040.

City News Service contributed to this article.


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