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Food Waste Diversion Program: In-Sink Pilot

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Sustainability pLAn and the City’s Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan (SWIRP) outlines the City’s long-term plan for achieving 90% landfill diversion by 2025. The City has a current landfill diversion rate of 76.4%. In order to increase landfill diversion, LA Sanitation (LASAN) is conducting several pilots for the diversion of food waste. One of these programs is the residential food waste in-sink disposal pilot program.

Food Waste in the Landfill

Food waste is the largest portion of residential disposed waste. According to CalRecycle’s 2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California, food waste accounts for approximately 21% of the residential waste stream.

The decomposition of food waste generates greenhouse gases, such as methane. When food waste decomposes in landfills, these greenhouse gases may not be efficiently captured and utilized.
Food Waste

Food Waste Disposal at Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant

The City’s pilot program focuses on diverting food waste from landfills by using the garbage disposal and the sewer system.

When you place food waste into the garbage disposal, the disposal grinds the food waste and it is then carried to the wastewater reclamation plant through the sewer system. The idea is that food waste may be captured at the reclamation plant and utilized to create renewable energy in the wastewater treatment process. This pilot program will look at how food waste is treated through the sewer system and at the water reclamation plant.

Renewable energy can be used for lighting, heating, transportation, and more.
Anaerobic Digesters

Pilot Area and Duration

The designated area for the pilot program is comprised of 522 homes in the Northeast quadrant of the North Kentwood neighborhood of Westchester.

The implementation phase of the pilot will take place for 12 months, from September 2017 through September 2018.
Pilot Area Map

Program Participation

Residents in the pilot area noted above were asked to use in-sink food waste disposers to handle their food waste instead of throwing it away in the trash bin. Participants were asked to:

  • Enroll! From July 22nd to September 15th, residents were surveyed and invited to join the pilot. Participants were offered the option to use their existing garbage disposal or to install/upgrade to a high-power, ultra-quiet, InSinkErator Model Pro 1100XL unit with purchase and installation covered by LA Sanitation.

  • Use it! Place food scraps into the garbage disposal instead of using the trash bin. Participants in the program receive complimentary maintenance and plumbing services for 15-months (September 2017 through December 2018).

  • Enjoy it! Useing the garbage disposal can save money on trash bags, reduce trips to the black bin outside, and eliminate unwanted food odor in the home.

Outreach and Education

LA Sanitation has contracted with APTIM Environmental and Infrastructure and their sub-consultants S.Groner and Associates (SGA) to provide education and outreach to residents on the benefits and use of their food waste disposers.

SGA will be distributing outreach materials, sending reminder emails, and utilizing other forms of communication with residents to get their feedback on the program.

For information about the pilot program, plumbing related services or repairs, please call 1-833-388-4324

Additional Tasks for Pilot Program

Behavioral SurveySurveys will be taken throughout the duration of the pilot to get feedback from residents on their use of the garbage disposals.

Resident feedback will be vital to evaluating the success of the program in terms of user experience as well as identifying potential barriers or concerns.
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