SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Starting Monday, residents in parts of San Luis Obispo County will begin to see green-and-white plastic containers appearing at their home. The one-gallon food scrap pails will be distributed by Waste Connections, parent company of San Luis Garbage, South County Sanitary, Mission Country Disposal and Morro Bay Garbage.

"These pails are going to be used for household kitchen scraps that can then be carried over to a green waste can, where we will collect it, and it will then be taken to a composting facility," said Rigo Diaz, Waste Connections operations manager.

The Santa Maria facility, operated by Engel & Grey, Inc. on W. Betteravia Road, will then convert the scraps into valuable compost.

"We are currently transporting all of the food waste to the landfill and burying it," said Diaz. "Doing it in this fashion, taking (scraps) into the green waste container to a composting facility, we'll be able to re-purpose our waste."

More than 50,000 households will be given the pails at no added cost to their current bill.

"With this pail, you can easily put it in the pail and then transport it over to your green waste can," said Diaz. "It's kind of an encouragement to make it easier on our customers to be able to participate in this program."

Diaz added the pails can be placed under a kitchen sink, on a counter top, or any other convenient location for the customer. An outside company will distribute the containers beginning Monday. Waste Connections hopes to have all pails delivered within a three-week time frame.

"The plan is to put it at an easy access point, so we would like to put it on the front door step if possible," said Diaz.

While food waste will initially be taken to the Engel & Grey facility, the long-term plan is for it to eventually be taken to a state-of-the art "anaerobic digester," which will be built by Swiss-based Kompogas on the Waste Connections property in San Luis Obispo.

"We will begin diverting all of our green waste and food waste to this facility, and this facility will not only generate compost, it will generate electricity that will be sold back to PG&E and power about 700 homes," said Diaz.

Plans are to break ground on the new facility later this year, with completion targeted for early 2018.