Organic Composting – Kick Starting Your Program
Friday, February 24, 2023
by: Teresa Henning – Sr. Property Manager, American Assets Trust

Section: Trends and Tips

Let’s talk trash about the elephant in the room, Organic Composting! First it was recycling, with random inspections by the City of San Diego. I recall the task of having our signage vendor fabricate vinyl signs for our recycling receptacles – circular patterns to fit the metal tops of our exterior, concrete containers. Then we educated, along with some coaxing to convince our tenants to actually…recycle – surprisingly, an ongoing challenge. The newest directive, organic composting, has dropped on our doorsteps. A new challenge that we’ll need to embrace. The good news, we have a little less than a year to be up and running with our composting collection systems at our properties and businesses. Let’s not wait until midnight on 12/31/23 to start thinking about this. I’m here to share our story – Organic Composting Roll-out 101. Buckle up!


Case Study – Solana Crossing - Organic Composting Roll-out

  1. Research, research, research - gathering information on SB1383, from out waste hauler, and from the City/County of San Diego. Study San Diego's Climate Action Plan. Understand what an anaerobic digester is. 
  2. Compile a tenant information packet – not too heavy, not too light – focus on the importance of sustainability, being a part of the process, make it interesting, email it.
  3. Purchase a starter kit – countertop composting bins for tenant break rooms.
  4. Stage a tenant information event at the property – food, drink, informational games.
  5. Hand out the starter bins and information packets, again at your event. This is your time to engage with your tenants, sharing the ‘excitement’ of being a part of the sustainability process.
  6. Schedule delivery and roll-out of composting service with your waste hauler.  They will advise you on how many containers you will need. We started off with 2 residential size green bins for a 4-building, multi-tenant office/medical campus. This remains sufficient for us.
  7. Meet with your janitorial provider. Discuss your composting roll-out plan and their involvement – nightly compost removal from tenant spaces, restrooms-regular trash containers only.
  8. Have a resource ready for tenants who ask for larger bins – your janitorial provider should assist.
  9. Keep talking about it. Earth Day is around the corner – make sure your events include Organic Composting 101… AND… free ice cream.
  10. Good luck and Happy Composting!