GreenTown Los Altos

Keep Calm and Compost


Jun 2019


~Chloe Olsen

The Los Altos Farmers’ Market is a much anticipated time of the year, where family and friends can come together every Thursday during the summer to try some of the best food and drink in the Bay Area. From fresh organic fruits and veggies to colorful snow-cones and gourmet take-out, it is an event where adults and kids alike can find just about anything to suit their fancy. While it may not be difficult to find amazing food, the harder part surprisingly comes after: deciding where to put any wrappers, plastic utensils, or leftover scraps. That’s where GreenTown comes in! You can find us by the waste stations, which consist of recycling, compost, and landfill bins, where we help direct you on where to put the remainder of your meal and drink. Additionally, there are signs on the front of each bin that list which items go where. Some examples include:

→ Recycling:

  • Plastics 1-7 (usually listed on the bottom of item with a recycling symbol and the number in the middle)
  • Glass
  • Foil

→ Compost

  • Food
  • Food-soiled paper
  • Compostable cups (with liquid)

→ Landfill

  • Plastic utensils (this one is surprising!)
  • Foam containers

By the end of our first night at the Market, we were very happy with what we saw! The most amount of waste was in compost which was filled to the very top, destroying the competition. Recycling came in second and took up about ¼ of the bin. The amount of landfill was minimal and was less than ¼ full. Throughout the Farmers’ Market, we noticed that many people were apt to looking to put their waste in either landfill or recycling first, but then saw the signs or received instruction from us and put it in the correct bin. Most people are confused with where to put their waste, so don’t worry–you are not alone! For some more guidance, here is a comprehensive list of where other items can be composted, recycled, or put in landfill.



The fact that this much waste was composted is exciting. Not only does that mean less landfill, but composting adds nutrients to the soil without the use of chemical fertilizers, prevents soil erosion, and reduces the amount of methane by preventing organic material from rotting in landfills without oxygen (a greenhouse gas that is 70 times more powerful than carbon dioxide). The more composting, the better!

Being on the lookout for compost bins is just one way you can help. You can also compost in your own backyard to minimize food waste, help your plants, and protect the environment! If you are interested, check out this link that shows you the types of composting, what foods to compost, and the steps to take to start your own composting at home.

So next time you are at the Farmers’ Market, finished with your incredible meal and ready to throw away your leftovers, look to the green bin first! Your environment will thank you for it.

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