Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Most [apartments], perhaps 90 percent, do not yet have a food waste option, Migliore said. But a number of complexes have begun testing organic waste programs, including the Coddingtown Mall Apartments. Some residents had installed their own small compost tumblers on their porches, so there was clearly an interest in providing the service, said Harry Brown, one of the property managers.
When Carlos Calzontzi lived in Chico, he and his wife had a little house with a garden and a compost pile where he would throw most of his kitchen scraps.
It felt good to return those nutrients back to the Earth and fertilize the soil to help grow vegetables for his family.
But when the retired city maintenance worker relocated last year to Santa Rosa to be closer his kids and grandkids, he moved into an apartment complex that at the time had no green-waste disposal option. The Coddingtown Mall Apartments, like most apartment complexes in the county, provided its 230 units with garbage and recycling service, but no bins for organic waste.
So he threw his leftover avocado pits, unused vegetable chunks and bread scraps into the garbage, where they went to the landfill.
“We felt bad because we knew all of that could be used in the garden,” Calzontzi said. “We care about the Earth.”
Organic material makes up about 34 percent of the material that Californians throw into landfills every year, according to a 2014 study by CalRecycle, the state waste management agency.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a 2014 law meant to improve organic recycling efforts, in part by requiring businesses like restaurants and food processors to have an organic waste program. But multi-family apartment complexes were exempted from the law.