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From Food Waste to Compost: Organics at SAN

Here at San Diego International we believe in the 5 Rs of Zero Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Rethink. We look for creative ways to manage the waste that comes with running a large facility. One of the ways we reduce the amount of material we send to the landfill is through composting (the “Rot” of the 5 Rs)!

Composting is the process of turning organic material into a nutrient-rich soil fertilizer. Instead of treating food waste as trash, composting allows us to turn it into a valuable resource.

The Airport Authority’s Food Waste Collection Program began in 2013, quickly growing into the successful and expansive program it is today. The Airport currently collects food waste from Authority breakrooms and all 34 food and beverage locations and their prep kitchens. The would-be trash is collected separately and then transported offsite to the Miramar Greenery where it is transformed into compost. Here, City of San Diego residents can pick up to 2 cubic yards of compost/4” mulch for free.

In 2018, we composted over 400 tons of food waste—keeping it out of the landfill and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, we encourage all of our concessions to donate any excess edible food. In 2018, our concessions rescued and recovered over 100,000 pounds of good food (almost 85,000 meals) and donated it to the onsite USO and also San Diego Rescue Mission.

These Airport programs would not be possible without our partnerships with our concessionaires, the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department, Flagship Janitorial, Republic Services, and Bradford Airport Logistics.

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