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Fall 2016 Newsletter

Solana Center Newsletter

Update from our Executive Director:

We are witnessing a shift in thinking regarding disposal of resources. Increasingly, state legislation (learn about newly-passed AB1383) and local efforts (read about our school district-wide programs) are guiding us to a future of landfills free of recyclables, edibles, and compostables.

Within the next decade, I believe that the general public will understand that minerals and nutrients are mined from the soil when we grow food, just as aluminum is mined from the earth to make a soda can. Neither food scraps nor soda cans belong in our landfills. When they do end up landfilled, they have zero recovery value and do further harm to our soil and air. In the coming 5-10 years, expect to see waste streams include composting alongside recycling.

Join us on October 29th to learn the Bokashi method for recycling food scrap. Also, I wish to extend a special thanks to the San Diego Board of Supervisors for funding provided through a Community Enhancement Grant.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the great progress happening!

New Methane Reduction Law Promotes Organics Recycling

By signing SB 1383, on September 19, 2016, Governor Brown places California, once again, at the forefront of environmental progress. Solana Center for Environmental Innovation is proud to have been among those that encouraged the Governor to sign this important legislation.

The new law provides the direction and incentive for diverting organic material from our landfills, where it would otherwise create significant short-lived climate pollutants.

Organic waste materials make up two-thirds of the state’s waste stream and when disposed of in landfills they generate methane, a short-lived climate pollutant that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Read more here.

volunteers at Bro-Am

The Ocean is No Place for Foam Waste

We're excited to partner with the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project to raise awareness about protecting our oceans!  The Surfing Madonna Oceans Project is dedicated to bringing the community together to “Save the Ocean” and protect our coastline. Through youth education programs, ocean conservation project grants, marine mammal rescue/recovery initiatives and helping children with special needs experience the healing power of the ocean, they are helping to expand this community of ocean advocates.

VOLUNTEER with Solana Center at the Surfing Madonna Beach Run on Saturday, October 15, 2016. If you are passionate about keeping our beaches clean, don't miss this amazing opportunity! We'll be educating folks about how marine debris originates from land-based sources, the environmental impact of using expanded polystyrene (EPS) or foam food containers and promoting eco-friendly alternatives. SIGN UP TODAY! Email our Volunteer Coordinator at if you can join us!

Surfing Madonna Beach Run
Saturday, Oct 15, 2016
Encinitas' Moonlight Beach
Use PROMO CODE: SOLANACENTER to get 20% off registration

Learn How to Bokashi

The Bokashi composting method is used for composting all organic waste, including meat, dairy and liquids. It was developed in Japan and used in Asia to ferment food prior to composting. The process uses lactobacillus bacteria to predigest waste matter, which eliminates odors and decreases composting time. Bokashi is a great composting method for small spaces. 

Join us for a Bokashi Composting Workshop where you'll learn how to recycle your food waste, keeping it out of the landfill and producing a finished product that will add nutrient-rich organic material to your garden and soil.

In this workshop, we will cover the following topics:

  • What is Bokashi?
  • How is it used?
  • Bokashi bran making demo
  • Demo of actual Bokashi fermented food waste (FFW) compost
  • Bokashi compost bin build and setup
  • Creating potting soil from Bokashi

Saturday, October 29, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Solana Center's Eco Container at the Infield Farm
Del Mar Fairgrounds

Workshop Fee:
$35 per person


Get Rain Barrels BEFORE Rebate is Reduced

ORDER discounted rain barrels now! Only $15 (after $75 rebate) for a limited time! Don't miss out! Rebate will be reduced to $35 on January, 1, 2017. For more information contact

Why Rain Barrels?
1. Save water and money by collecting reusable water
2. Protect our watershed and oceans by reducing urban water runoff 
3. Rainwater is healthier for plants because it’s free of the salts, minerals and chemicals found in municipal treated water.
4. Save energy because moving water is actually the single largest use of electricity in California. 

Don't let all that water run off and go to waste...catch it, San Diego!

Leading School Districts Toward Zero Waste

Solana Center educators have been back to school! Our education team is working with a number of school districts to address new state organics recycling laws and provide waste reduction and prevention education for students and staff.

Solana Center applies a closed loop approach by reducing waste, recycling, and reusing recovered resources. This is achieved through waste assessments, lunch waste sorting education, and providing waste management strategies, including traditional composting and vermicomposting.

Read more here.

"Less to Landfill" chopping greens

Sending Less to Landfill in Del Mar

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation is partnering with the City of Del Mar to help restaurants respond to the new organics recycling law AB 1826 and keep food waste out of the landfill. En Fuego Cantina and Grill stepped up to work with us to divert their food scrap. We audited the restaurant's waste stream and made recommendations for reducing food waste. Next step is to establish processes to minimize waste, hold staff training, and create kitchen signage. Kudos to En Fuego for being a food waste reduction champion!

Once fully implemented, Solana Center's system for diverting food waste at En Fuego Cantina and Grill could result in:

  • 71,000 lbs. food scrap reduction per year
  • 85% post-consumer waste recycled
  • Elimination of 19.3 MT (metric tons) of greenhouse gases, if all the food waste is kept from the landfill.  This is an equivalent emissions reduction to taking 4 or 5 cars off the road.

Reducing waste make good business sense! Visit our website and read more about how your business can benefit from Less to Landfill. Solana Center can suggest simple steps, customized for your business, to ensure that you are in compliance with new state waste disposal laws. Program benefits include: cost savings, ensured compliance, marketing boost and environmental value. For more information, contact our Zero Waste Coordinator, Mark DiMaggio at

volunteers at EcoFest

E-Waste Recycling Drop Off at Solana Center

Solana Center has partnered with San Diego Urban Corps to recycle e-waste. Solana Center accepts e-waste drop off on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM or by appointment by contacting us at (760) 436-7986 x 700. Please do not leave e-waste unattended.

E-waste acceptable items include:

  • computers, laptops, monitors
  • computer mice and keyboards
  • CD players
  • VCR/DVD players
  • cell phones and landline phones
  • small home office printers
  • fax machines
  • printers
  • TVs, radios, and MP3 players
  • electronic toys and games
  • photo and video cameras

a lot of bees

Adults with Special Needs Learn to Reduce Food Waste

By learning how to compost their kitchen waste, residents of TERI’s McNealy House, a residential home in Oceanside for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, has reduced the amount of organic waste it sends to the landfill, and the resulting carbon emissions.

Solana Center for Environmental Innovation developed a successful composting program that diverts food scrap from the landfill, taught composting skills and engaged TERI clients in healthy, physical activities. With financial support provided by the City of Oceanside, TERI, and the Oceanside Charitable Foundation, Solana Center’s composting experts, developed a composting program for the residents and staff at McNealy House and also involved day-use clients from the Learning Academy.

“I didn’t realize how much we actually wasted…CRAZY…we do toss so much more than I ever realized.”– McNealy House manager

Read more here.

Rotline Question

Q: Is the water that collects in my worm’s catchment bin considered compost tea?

A: No, the water that collects in your worm’s catchment bin is NOT compost tea; it is leachate. Leachate is produced when water drains over compost. It is the liquid that is leached out of a compost pile or worm bin. Since the liquid has possibly traveled through uncomposted matter, leachate is not recommended for foliar application on edible plants.

The good news is that compost tea is easy to make and great for your plants. By steeping worm castings in water for 24 hours to make a “compost tea” you can take a 32 oz container of worm castings and make gallons of this precious liquid! The vermicompost infuses the water with beneficial nutrients and can be sprayed on foliage to reduce pests and disease or used as a soil drench around plants to enrich the soil in the root zone.


  • Use potable water when brewing
  • Avoid additives (molasses, kelp, fish byproducts, etc.) when making compost tea as these can promote growth of harmful organisms.
  • If compost tea is being used as a foliar application on food crops, it is recommended that it be used 3-4 months prior to harvesting.

Have a composting question? Call our Rotline at: (760) 436-7986 x700

Upcoming Composting Workshops

Solana Center offers 2-hour presentations where you will learn the basics of backyard composting and vermicomposting (composting with worms). Using trial-tested advice and interactive demonstrations, our expert educators will teach you all you need to know to get started with a bin that fits your needs and lifestyle. Held throughout San Diego County, there is sure to be a workshop near you!

sign for san diego botanic garden in foliageComposting Workshop in San Diego 

  • Saturday, October 22, 2016
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Tecolote Nature Center
  • Free
  • Funded by the City of San Diego

Begin your day with a nature hike led by the San Diego Audubon Society from 8 AM -10 AM


Composting Workshop in Encinitas 

  • Saturday,November 12th, 2016 
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Sunshine Gardens
  • $10 Encinitas residents
  • $15 Non-residents
  • Funded by the City of Encinitas

Attendees receive a $10 off coupon on merchandise at Sunshine Gardens!


Support Global Worming

Join us for our Advanced Vermicomposting Workshop on December 3rd. Vermicomposting is an environmentally friendly way to use your food waste to create nutrient rich castings for your potted plants or garden beds. Learn how easy it is to compost your food waste with red wriggler worms at this interactive presentation.

In this workshop, we'll cover the following topics:

  • How to feed your worms and which foods are suitable for worms
  • Learn about the biology of worms so you can keep them healthy and happy
  • How to make your own worm bin
  • What tools and materials you'll need

Saturday, December 3, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Barrels and Branches Nursery

Workshop Fee:
$15 Encinitas Resident
$20 Non-resident


Solana Center Volunteer Teri LeaVolunteer Spotlight

Solana Center Volunteer Milan Kothari          

How did you find Solana Center?

I would have to give credit to my wife, Ella who introduced me to Solana Center and encouraged me to take the Master Composter course which I completed this year. We have had a traditional compost bin in our backyard for several years and started a worm composting bin this past summer with the knowledge gained from the course.  I have also been a compost volunteer at the San Diego Zoo for the past year.

What is your favorite type of composting?
I would say that vermicomposting is my favorite type of composting.  The worms in our bin are my "babies" and I love to feed them and watch them make amazing castings. It is fun to see what worms like to eat. Watermelon rinds are one of their favorite foods and I have found that they are not fond of kiwi skins!

What are some of your hobbies?
Besides volunteering at Solana Center and the Zoo, I spend my free time woodworking, making beer, hiking, camping, backpacking, gardening and now as if that is not enough hobbies, I am starting to learn bread baking. Our youngest child just went off to college so we are officially empty nesters which means that I have more free time for my hobbies. My life goals are to enjoy my hobbies, have good caring friends, take care of our planet and to be compassionate to others.

Solana Center is seeking dynamic VOLUNTEERS to help us make schools more sustainable and teach kids how to reduce waste.

Volunteer Opportunity at San Ysidro School District
Monday, October 17th
8:00 AM-1:00 PM
Tuesday, October 18th 
10:30 AM-1:00 PM 

--Assist with assembly presentations
--Help students with lunch waste sorting

SIGN UP TODAY! Email our Volunteer Coordinator at if you can join us! 

Solana Center bin sales

Your Source for Compost Bins and Accessories

Solana Center sells both traditional and worm bins and composting accessories.  Composting bins are subsidized for Encinitas residents, and offered at a substantial discount. Residents of Unincorporated County and City of San Diego are able to get subsidized bins through a voucher program. More info here.

Need worms?
We sell red wigglers, coconut coir, food scrap containers, aerators and thermometers.

We are open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30 AM-4 PM or call us at (760) 436-7986 x700 to arrange a conventient time to come by.

Have a composting question? Call our Rotline at: (760) 436-7986 x700 or email us at

Empower a New Generation of Environmental Stewards

If you have attended a workshop, enjoy receiving this newsletter and support composting, recycling, food waste recovery and protection of our region's precious resources, please consider making a donation to support our environmental work in the community. The smallest donation makes a significant difference!

Wish List

If anyone has any of these items that they'd like to donate...please email Jamie Higgins at Thank you!

  • Surge protectors
  • A iPhone 4S charging cable in great condition
  • Old PCs or parts
  • Cordless drill
  • Digging bar
  • Pole saw
  • Van or SUV for our educational and outreach programs

Special Thanks to Our Donors and Supporters

Whether it is a donation of worms, tools or a financial contribution,
we appreciate all of our donors and supporters!

This newsletter was made possible through generous support from