Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The Hancock Park Garden Club Embarks on Composting Train in Time for 2022 Mandates…and So Can You

To help California meet our climate goals of reducing methane gas, a new law requires that all food waste must be placed in the green bins…but composting it is even better!


Composting is far from a new innovation (I checked my sources and Nature says she’s been doing it since the dawn of time), but a piece of legislation effective this January is requiring the entire state of California to try something new, and cities are in a frenzy. Eliminating 75% of organic waste from landfills by 2025, with enforcement starting in the new year, seems like a profound shift. As it turns out, this mandate is one of many aligning with other sustainability targets outlined within the Los Angeles Green New Deal and LA County’s Our Plan.

What does this mean for our current waste hauling system? Recently, the LA Times reported residents and commercial establishments alike are expected to see “waste collection fee increases of 5% or less” although most cities “expect to raise rates between 1% and 20%” of their collection fees.” Check your bills, you may already notice a change in your typical rate.

The LA Times article reports on the large-scale anaerobic and compost infrastructure that is being developed on the outskirts of urban municipalities — waste haulers will likely drive as far as Bakersfield, Riverside and Oxnard to process the large quantity of organic waste generated by millions of people living in big cities like Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, I spoke with a recycling expert in the City of Burbank who conveyed their apprehension around the enormous inputs required to run these facilities. It takes both dollars and energy to feed these systems, and so a constant procurement of organic material is needed in a paradoxical dance with waste generators (us) to consume, consume, consume. At a large scale, things like inevitable contamination and the long distances waste travels make it harder to profit, which can put the pressure on cities who are contracting out these haulers in exclusive franchise agreements. This new industry competes with local economic opportunities, and poses its own challenges with sustainability. There is another, perhaps more nuanced point of contention, why should we as generators of a material in such high demand (and such value, both environmentally and financially), be paying multimillion dollar organizations to take our “waste” away from our communities?

The truth? It’s complicated. Eliminating the need for landfill altogether (aka achieving zero waste) is a big ask, so the solution must be inherently stratified. This is why the Larchmont Buzz became very interested when Van Ness resident Lauren Gabor invited the Hancock Park Garden Club to her house for a composting workshop.


Members explore educational resources on sustainability, provided by non-profit Full Circle Compost.


Garden Club members gathered at Van Ness resident, Lauren Gabor’s house for a composting workshop.


Taking a peek inside Gabor’s compost bin to find her food scraps beginning to look like a healthy forest floor.


Garden Club members gathered around her new compost bin tucked beneath a tree to the side of her driveway. Gabor, a passionate gardener and champion for local pollinators, is excited to introduce composting as sustainable practice members can implement in their homes today. The bin she uses is made and installed by Full Circle Compost, a Topanga-based non profit specializing in climate education, specifically soil regeneration.

The procedure is easy to adopt— instead of tossing food scraps in the trash, they are collected in a counter-top receptacle or small tote to then be added to the larger composting bin. The same can be done with your garden trimmings. Layering nitrogen rich organic material (think leftover dinner, banana peels, carrot tops, etc.) and carbon (dried brown leaves that have fallen from the tree, small twigs and stems) creates the perfect “habitat” for microorganisms to thrive and effectively breakdown household “refuse” into bioavailable resource your garden will love.



“It’s never felt good throwing away perfectly good organic material in the trash” says Gabor, “I am so relieved that there is an opportunity to put it where it belongs, which is directly back into the soil. I feel like I am participating in an act of creation that is in fact a natural process for planet earth. It’s so simple and incredibly gratifying.”

Is the movement growing?? The Buzz thinks so, especially after our very own Patty Lombard hopped on board!!


Patty Lombard and her new bin installed by Full Circle Compost.


Lombard, and Full Circle Compost team member sort through kitchen scraps.


“I’ve always wanted to do this but was a little intimidated,” said Lombard.  “But it’s actually really easy, thanks to Full Circle Compost for setting us up. I have even drafted some helpers to chop up the compost and add to the bin.  You really can’t make any mistakes and it makes me feel better that we are keeping the compost in our yard instead of adding to the landfill.”

Our relationship with waste is just one facet of a very intricate and also flawed food system. This new mandate however, offers Californians the opportunity to take a critical look at our relationship to the food we grow and the food we eat. We are being asked how our actions can foster sustainability and a just economy. As we all come together around the climate crisis, there are so many different areas for improvement and therefore multiple entry points for each of us to discover. Part of the beauty in this global challenge is the role of diversity in swinging the pendulum from code red to verdant green. To do so, we need diversity in the soil’s microbial life, diversity in the plants our environment can grow, and diversity in the people contributing to this revolution. And if there’s one thing all our gardeners out there can tell you, it’s that you will grow the most green using compost.


Here’s Lombard’s compost bin after a few months of accumulation.


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Calli Sara Goldstein
Calli Sara Goldstein
Calli Sara Goldstein is a contributing writer for the Buzz, specializing in sustainability, ecology, and agriculture.

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