California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Food Scraps Management

Food Scraps Management Case Studies (Model Programs)

  • The City of San Diego hosts a commercial food scrap composting program at the Miramar Greenery. Some of the large venues participating in the program have realized not only a greater diversion rate but an additional significant cost saving in waste hauling and tipping fees. Participants include the City’s international airport, convention center, baseball stadium, Sea World Park, military facilities, and hotels. A summary of these case studies is featured on the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department’s website.
  • The City of San Francisco Recycling Program implemented food scrap collection programs at five local schools. The four participating elementary schools diverted a total of 1700 pounds of organic waste per week. The fifth school, a private high school, was able to reduce the number of bins used for collection by 50 percent. With the help of the program's subcontractor, each of the schools designed a food scrap program that encompassed education, outreach, organics collection for off-site composting, and some vermicomposting.
    Final report
    (PDF, 113 KB)
  • The Davis Joint Unified School District piloted comprehensive food waste diversion projects at three elementary schools. Two schools reduced their total waste stream by at least 40 percent. The third school has the potential to decrease its waste stream by 20 percent if the program continues. The programs included: a switch to the "offer versus serve" method to serve food, food recovery (also known as food rescue) for food banks, recycling, and the collection of organic waste for on-site composting and vermicomposting systems. The contract accomplished the goals of integrating the composting and vermicomposting systems into the school garden program, as part of a larger farm-to-school vision.
    Final report (
    PDF, 168 KB)
  • The West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority and one elementary school piloted a food scraps reduction program that included extensive recycling training. The program involved the separation of lunch waste materials in the cafeteria for off-site composting; the experimental use of biodegradable utensils and some recycling of aluminum lunch trays. Unfortunately, although the school cafeteria was able to reduce its waste up to 40 percent, the program was not continued into the next year. Final report (PDF, 2.2 MB)
  • The Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works, in partnership with the California Grey Bears and Organic Recyclers Anonymous, set up two Earth Tub™ in-vessel composting systems at the California Grey Bears’ food bank in Santa Cruz. Earth Tubs™ are a mid-scale composting option, appropriate for grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions generating 50 or more pounds of food scraps per day. The program diverted over 11 tons of food scraps from the landfill and it is projected that 28.91 tons could be diverted annually. As an added benefit, the compost that was generated from the Earth Tubs™ was made available for volunteers to use and as a salable item for the facility. Final report (PDF, 673 KB)
  • The City of Indian Wells, in coordination with the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens and EcoNomics, Inc., piloted a food scrap diversion program at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens. Food scraps were collected for off-site composting, and the finished compost was used at the Tennis Gardens. In addition to the Tennis Master Series, the project diverted more than eight tons of food scraps from two additional events. Food Scrap diversion proved to be both feasible and economically viable.
    Final report
    (PDF, 100 KB). Video: (Windows Media, 6 minutes)

Additional Case Studies (Model Programs)

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