Is Santa Barbara Going to Introduce Residential Compost Bins?

I was wondering if Santa Barbara/Marborg had any plans to start supporting residential food composting trash cans. I know they support commercial composting for restaurants, so I imagine it wouldn’t be too much different to support residential. Lots of Southern California cities are starting to provide compost trash cans to help cut back on CO2 emissions caused by food waste disposed in landfills and comply with California’s SB1383 law. Couldn’t find anything online about it happening here. —C.

There are no plans to introduce special bins for composting—but that’s only because the county is already separating out organic material.

Last July, the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department unveiled its new ReSource Center at Tajiguas. From a recent press release: “Commercial and residential waste that is thrown into a trash cart or bin in Buellton, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Solvang, and the unincorporated areas of the Cuyama Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and South Coast is processed at the County’s newly opened ReSource Center. Recyclable materials are recovered and sold and organics (including food waste) are separated from trash and transformed into compost and energy that powers up to 3,000 homes per year. With this new facility, approximately 60% of additional waste from our trash cans is diverted from the landfill, bringing our region’s diversion rate to above 85% while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This means that residents who live or work in these areas are following the new state law by continuing to throw their waste into the same bins as you are today.” (Underline mine; the grammar turns mushy at the end, but you get the gist.) 

At the heart of the process is what’s called an anaerobic digester. The video below shows how it works, and to see the ReSource Center firsthand, you can take a tour. (Update 1/10: And Edible Santa Barbara recently ran an article about the process.)

Finally, if you want the thrill of composting yourself, the County has a Backyard Composting Program, with tips and discounted bins.

Got a question? Email [email protected] or text 917-209-6473.


Previous Burning Questions:
••• When will Santa Barbara Junior High’s flagpole be replaced?
••• What’s the point of this light pole?
••• Why is the Hermosillo exit on the 101 closed?
••• Has Victor the Florist closed for good?
••• Why are the city’s parking lots scanning license plates?
••• What’s inside Paseo Nuevo’s State Street tower?
••• What’s the point of these markings on Laguna Street?
••• Why is there a giant red shoe off Highway 101?
••• Will the Dorinda Triangle ever get beautified?
••• Are we no longer allowed on the SBHS baseball field?
••• What does “SBTP” on this post mean?
••• What’s up with the “no e-bike” signs on local trails?
••• Why is Franceschi House in a holding pattern?
••• Why is there a train station inside this State Street storefront?
••• What’s happening with this derelict house in Summerland?
••• Is there a story behind Lucky Penny’s bell?
••• Why is there wood on some power lines?
••• Can you explain how sundowner winds work?
••• Why is there a pressure cooker attached to this utility pole?
••• What’s this concrete ramp thing on East Beach?
••• Why does “USA” get written on the street?
••• What are those poles in the ocean near the Ritz-Carlton Bacara?
••• Are people really allowed to set fires in the middle of Montecito?
••• What’s the story with the half-finished lot next to the Montecito Country Mart? 


Sign up for the Siteline email newsletter and you’ll never miss a post.


One Comment


Harrison collects trash in carpinteria and just launched a separate compost program last week – customers put their food compost in plastic bag (!!) with their yard waste bin.