It required a wholesale change in thinking for Shawna Rousseau to view discarded chicken bones and vegetable stems as something that still held value.
But six months after the Costa Mesa Sanitary District launched the first municipal organics recycling program in Southern California, Rousseau, 42, now sees separating old food from the rest of her garbage -- so it eventually can be turned into energy -- as just another part of normal life.
Most Costa Mesa residents apparently feel the same.
Two-thirds of the city's single-family households have begun saving and separating their leftovers since the program begin in late June, according to a recent UC Irvine study. And the sanitary district intends to use the results of that study to get more people into the program, promoting food recycling as the new normal.