SAN ANTONIO – A west-side neighborhood has become part of a sanitation experiment that has gone “organic.” At Mary Pastrano’s home, today’s breakfast is tomorrow’s plant fertilizer.
“This is carne guisada,” Pastrano said, as she collected the remaining food to dispose in a special bin.
Pastrano is one of 30,000 residents taking part in the city’s organic recycling program. She’s already recycling aluminum, plastics and paper, and for a year now, there’s a third bin she places weekly on her curbside: for leftovers.
“I’ve enjoyed it. And, it is good for us,” said Pastrano.
David McCary, director of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management said, “You can now recycle your pizza boxes that may be soiled, as well as looking at coffee grinds, fruits, vegetables, mixed fruits, all those types of materials can now by recycled."
Food scraps and yard trimmings make up more than a third of what San Antonians throw away. That trash puts an added strain on the landfill. So, the city is piloting a program to collect that organic waste and convert it into compost material.
McCary added, “It’s cheaper to process it than throw it away at the landfill.”
The City of San Antonio expects to recycle 60 percent of our garbage by 2020.
And what goes around comes around: as the compost from Pastrano’s scraps makes it back into her yard and garden. The city has been returning the compost to neighbors free of charge.
If successful, the program will be unloaded city-wide. It is projected to cost households another $3 a month in garbage collection.