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Microbial Magic . . . Thanks to EDCO!

 "Anaerobic digestion" (AD) happens in huge, closed tanks without oxygen. Microbial breakdown helps heat the green and organic waste to 131 degrees; "stirrers" constantly agitate the matter to speed processing. The methane gas is contained and converted onsite into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), which EDCO uses to fuel its more than 200-truck fleet.  The AD opened in 2021 and operates around the clock, processing 1.5 million pounds of green waste daily. In fact, the digester needs constant "feeding" or the microbes die off and the decomposition process fails! A second AD facility is planned south of downtown San Diego next year. Learn more in this video.


   In addition to organics, EDCO processes recycled materials at its Escondido plant -- one of five it operates in San Diego County.  In the state-of-the-art, 70,000 square foot Escondido Resource Recovery (ERR) facility, your blue bin contents get fed into labyrinth of varied conveyer and magnetic belts -- and past a small army of human sorters. Recyclables are separated, processed, cleaned and baled (in the case of aluminum, paper, plastics and tin) or crushed (glass) and then are sold for repurposing.  EDCO says that 95% of its recycled plastics are made into new products by U. S. companies; only 5% now is shipped overseas. Clear milk jugs can be turned into colored plastic containers.  Stiffer, colored plastic jugs might become paint cans or plastic pipe. Aluminum cans become cans again. Baled paper is still shipped to Asia for processing into pulp. The company estimates that its ERR facility will keep 250,000 tons of recyclables out of landfills yearly. Learn more in this EDCO video.


   Perhaps it was flattery: EDCO told us that Solana Beachans are the best in the county at proper recycling!  Still, we can do even better to keep plastics and organic waste out of landfills.  How?


  • Don't put plastic bags into your blue bin. "Plastic bags are the number one contaminant in our recyclables stream," EDCO General Manager Jim Ambroso told us. No newspaper delivery bags or chip/snack bags, either. If you gather your recyclables into plastic bags, tumble the contents into your blue bin and save the bag for shopping.. Better yet, stop using plastic bags all together! Bring a tote to the grocery store.

  • Don't put soiled disposable plates, cups, paper towels, parchment paper or tissue in your blue bin; those can go into the green bins as part of the organics recycling stream. Same goes for pizza boxes.

  • Reduce the "ick" factor of saving kitchen scraps and other organics by requesting a free, dishwasher-safe caddie from EDCO. Dump the contents in a paper bag for transport to your green bin.

  • Never put batteries in your recycling bin; they can start fires as they move through the sorting facility.


   We learned so much from our generous hosts, Jim Ambroso, Bob Hill, Director of Recycling and Marketing, Elmer Heap, Director of Market Development, and Logan Betz, Accounts Representative.  Watch for more tips and tools for Recycling Right!

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