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Guest Opinion: Separating food waste, small fines makes sense

By Morgan White–
As a homeowner in Citrus Heights and a concerned citizen, I couldn’t help but notice an opinion piece that questioned the effectiveness of separating food waste as a means to reduce methane emissions.

Morgan White

While the author raises some valid points regarding the importance of renewable energy and sustainable farming, I believe it’s important to consider that small actions, like separating our food waste, can collectively make a significant impact on the environment.

Guest Opinion: Sorting requirement for food waste is ridiculous

Unfortunately, the author of the opinion piece appeared ignorant of the science behind the policy. The key to understanding the benefits of separating food waste lies in the processing methods.

When food scraps are sent to landfills, they break down anaerobically (without oxygen) and produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. However, by separating food waste and sending it to composting or anaerobic digestion facilities, we can manage the decomposition process more effectively.

In composting facilities, food waste breaks down aerobically (with oxygen), producing carbon dioxide instead, which has a much lower global warming potential compared to methane. Anaerobic digestion facilities, on the other hand, capture the methane produced during decomposition and convert it into a renewable energy source.

Regarding the concern about fines, I believe that small fines for repeat offenders who have received warnings but still don’t separate their food waste are justified. These fines can serve as an incentive to encourage compliance and make people aware of the importance of proper waste management.

Now, I must address the tone used in the opinion piece when referring to our local politicians. The sarcastic language used and the suggestion of an alternative agenda comes across as petty and insulting.

Debating the merits of a policy is one thing, but resorting to hyperbole and personal attacks does not contribute to a constructive discussion. Furthermore, characterizing the policy as “oppressive” seems exaggerated, especially when considering the various forms of real oppression people face around the world.

Of course, switching to solar power and promoting sustainable agriculture are essential steps in combating climate change, and I wholeheartedly agree with the author on those points. But that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the value of smaller actions. As the saying goes, every little bit helps.

Imagine the impact we could have on our environment if we all took the time to separate our food waste. It might seem like a small gesture, but when thousands of households participate, the cumulative effect could be significant. And if we can take this small step, who knows what other positive changes we might be inspired to make in our lives?

In conclusion, while we certainly should advocate for renewable energy and sustainable farming, let’s not overlook the value of separating food waste as an additional, tangible way to help our environment. After all, change begins at home, and we should all strive to do our part, no matter how small it may seem.

Morgan White is a Citrus Heights resident and small business owner. When not defending progressive policies he can be found at one of the many local parks with his wife and their energetic three-year-old.

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