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What is The Organics Project?

The Organics Project is a Sierra Club campaign to reveal and change the story of how food scraps and yard trimmings are handled by the cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties. We combine research, education, and grassroots advocacy to bring about sustainable alternatives to wasting.

What happened in Phase One?

The Zero Waste Committee of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter has concluded Phase One of The Organics Project survey to find out how cities in L.A. and Orange counties manage food scraps and yard trimmings, known as “organics.” This nutrient-rich and carbon-rich material makes up a whopping 35 percent of everything we throw away. All too often it is squandered and becomes an environmental hazard when dumped into landfills while it could be composted and used to replenish agricultural soils. We evaluated the Phase One survey responses and rated cities by awarding points to policies, programs, practices, and plans that suggest a proactive and environmentally sound approach to organics management. 

The outstanding cities we identified in Phase One of The Organics Project survey are Burbank, Glendale, Irvine, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Clarita, and Santa Monica. Cities that have the longest way to go are Artesia, Commerce, Fullerton, and La CaƱada/Flintridge.

What do we mean by “organics”?

We use the term “organics” to describe food scraps and yard trimmings that are typically thrown away as garbage. We use “organics” as opposed to “organic waste” to support the notion that these materials are by no means “waste” or that they are valueless. On the contrary, if managed properly these materials are valuable resources. For example, organics can be composted and used to nourish the depleted agricultural soils upon which we depend to nourish ourselves. Organics only remain waste as long as we think of them and treat them as such.

Team Members

Hillary Gordon, Chair, Zero Waste Committee

Jeremy Drake, Project Lead, The Organics Project

Jennifer Robinson and George Watland, Conservation Program Coordinators

 

Phase One Activists

Veronica Hernandez, Kenneth Licea, Michael Mikulewicz, and Marjorie Phan

 

Phase Two Activists

Anthony Cross, Steffen Eikenberry, Cecile Ledru, Kenneth Licea, Michael Mikulewicz, and Marjorie Phan

 


Photos at the top of the page are courtesy of Dean Cleverdon and Ocean View Farms Community Garden