Raise your hand if you separate kitchen scraps, throw it in your green bin for municipal composting, and feel like you’re doing good for the environment.

Don’t be embarrassed, I’m with you here!

But, where does it actually go?  And, who is double checking to make sure it only contains organic matter? 

Global Community Monitor has recently launched a new Bucket Brigade in Arvin, CA; a city noted for having the worst air quality in The States.  The number one facility that the residents want to monitor, is a compost facility, that accepts municipal waste.

Nothing about this facility, Community Recycling, echoes the clean, green side of composting.  Recent, Bucket tests have even identified elevated levels of hazardous chemicals escaping across Community Recycling’s fenceline and into the community.

Is this progress?

Sure, it’s convenient for residents of Los Angeles County.  Waste Management delivers a little green bin to put in the kitchen, it’s then filled up with kitchen scraps, dumped into the large green waste bin and picked up by Waste Management weekly.  Residents in Alameda County, don’t have to go through the smelly, sometimes laborious job of composting themselves, but feel good about not throwing these items in the trash and often once a year get to go pick up free planting soil, generated by their ‘green’ waste.

But, residents of Arvin, CA live next to Community Recycling, a facility that accepts this ‘green waste’.  This facility is often impossible to drive past without choking and gagging a bit as you’re trying to have a conversation.  AND- from the looks of it, none of this ‘compost’ is something you’d want to use in your garden anyway!  Metal, plastics and even agricultural waste is visible in the ‘compost’ heaps and they have a contract with the Water District to accept grey water and sewage sludge to spray all over this ‘green’ waste.

What’s so green about that?!  Are we working towards a solution here or are we just relocating the problem?  Yes, municipal, curbside pick-up of green waste has many more people separating their food scraps from their trash, but at what cost?

Maybe the real solution here isn’t a free little green bin for kitchen food scraps, but rather a free little compost bin where residents can compost their own kitchen scraps into non-toxic planning soil to re-use in their garden.