The Coast News Group

Solana Center pilots composting project

ENCINITAS — The Solana Center for Environmental Innovation has kicked off a pilot project in which they are asking the community to do one thing: bring us your scraps. 

The call is part of a pilot community composting program in which the Solana Center will turn residential food scrap and “browns” from landscaping companies into compost that residents can then pick up for use. 

Residents pay $50 for the startup kit, which includes a five-gallon bucket and a bag of bokashi bran, which is used to ferment food scraps and break them down for composting use. 

Once the bucket is full, residents return it to the Solana Center, which takes the fermented food stuff and allows it to cure, and then distributes the finished compost to residents in exchange for their foodstuffs, and the cycle continues, said Jessica Toth, the Solana Center’s executive director. 

Each drop off costs $5. 

Toth said the program’s process and costs mirror similar successful programs in other regions. 

“Some people ask why should they pay to compost their food scrap rather than just throw it in the trash,” Toth said. “I tell them that we are doing it because it is important for the environment, to downsize the amount of trash in your home and divert that waste away from landfills. It’s good for the environment.”

The county’s Department of Environmental Health Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency approved the pilot in September with limits of 100 cubic yards of food waste from single-day events in addition to the residential returns.

The processing of the food scrap and browns will take place on a 750-square-foot section of the Solana Center’s property.

County officials have asked the Solana Center to report the results of the companion food decomposition study in six months, at which time Toth said they could choose to expand the project. 

“We feel the program has the potential to be the seed of a very impactful movement for Encinitas and beyond,” Toth said. 

For more information about the community composting pilot visit the Solana Center’s website at or stop by the office at 137 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas