December 2021

EDCO, a California Leader in Waste Management and Recycling, is Helping Businesses and Residents go Greener in the New Year

Subscribe to "Escondido Business Insight" for more stories like this delivered monthly to your inbox.

EDCO, a California Leader in Waste Management and Recycling, is Helping Businesses and Residents go Greener in the New Year

Recycling is changing in the new year. Starting on January 1, 2022 all Californians are required to put food waste scraps in their green bins, along with their yard trimmings and other organic waste. Food waste includes, fruit, vegetables, bread, pastas, processed foods, fast foods, and  meat and bones. Additionally, compostable paper such as used pizza boxes, paper coffee cups, tea bags, or other food soiled papers excluding wax or plastic coated papers can now be recycled in green bins. 

The Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law (Assembly Bill 1826) was signed in 2014 to help achieve California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals. Currently, organic waste in landfills emits 20% of the state’s methane, a short-lived super pollutant approximately 84 times more potent on a 20-year timescale than carbon dioxide. When diverted from landfills, this material can be composted or used to produce renewable energy, and edible food can be diverted to feed Californians in need.

Escondido waste collection business EDCO has been planning for this change and the company is helping their customers ease into the change. 

“This new change affects both residential and business facilities,” said Jennifer Schoeneck, Deputy Director of Economic Development. “We are fortunate to have EDCO, a thriving business and active local employer, as a California leader in recycling and waste management, here in Escondido.”

EDCO presents information and detailed videos regarding the new changes in waste disposal on its website. Californians can also learn more about Organic Recycling, and have a better understanding of what can go in the green bins. EDCO also offers a free kitchen caddy so residents can store their waste in their home before they take it out to the bin.


A kitchen caddie for kitchen waste scraps.

Today, EDCO continues expanding sustainable solutions by opening one of the first Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants in Southern California located in Escondido. This state-of-the-art advanced technology system works like a giant compost bin where microorganisms break down the food waste, green waste, fats, oils, and greases and convert it into renewable fertilizer, compost, and natural gas. The fertilizers and compost will then be used in farming and agriculture while the natural gas will fuel the company's trucks.

Examples of food waste for the green bin.

Recycling at the curb may seem ordinary today, but it wasn't always that way. EDCO was always ahead of its time and grew from just a waste hauler to a waste and recycling collector and processor. One of the first curbside recycling programs in the State of California was launched by EDCO in La Mesa in 1990. EDCO has always embraced and has successfully evolved with changing environmental regulations, which has made the company a leader in the industry. From the development of Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs), well ahead of its time in the early 1990s, to recent conversions of old diesel trucks to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles, EDCO continues its trend of sustainability. 

EDCO was founded in 1967 by Ed and Sandy Burr and has flourished from a business that began from one small trash collection company into a hugely successful business and California's largest family-owned and operated waste and recycling company. In more than 50 years, Ed and Sandy have grown EDCO into a combined fleet of more than 700 collection vehicles and is home to more than 1,100 employees. From one city 54 years ago, they’ve expanded into the current collection service of 21 cities in Southern California.

EDCO has embraced its unique role as a family-owned and operated premier service provider that is firmly committed to its employees and customers. There are currently three generations of Burr family members active in the company with the fourth generation growing up quickly and on the horizon. 

“We are also honored and humbled to have generations of employees working within the company as well,”  said Ed Burr. “The real success has been because of our people. There's actually no other reason. This most essential facet of EDCO has not changed through 54 years of service!”


Subscribe to "Escondido Business Insight" for more stories like this delivered monthly to your inbox.

Event Center on Grand Avenue Boosts Downtown Economic Activity

The Grand Event Center on Grand Avenue.

The Grand Event Center on Grand Avenue and Juniper Street is a gem in Escondido. The multi-use performing arts venue has entertainment options for people of all ages and can host large or small events and celebrations. Reconstructed in 2019 and opened in October 2020 it includes the Ritz Theater, an indoor theater space, which holds 467 people, an outdoor rooftop entertaining space for 158, the mezzanine banquet center for 250, and six small studio workshop spaces and a Black Box theater, which can hold up to 180 people. Additionally, the center houses the Manzanita Roasting Company, a storefront coffee house that serves premium roasts from independently-owned small farms in Africa, South America and Central America. 

“The Grand Event Center is a great community asset. Its strategic location in downtown adds to the economic vitality to the heart of our City, attracting patrons to local businesses.” said Jennifer Schoeneck, Deputy Director of Economic Development.

The anchor to the Grand Event Center is the historic Ritz Theater, which hosts both public and private parties and live events, movies and much more. 

“The Ritz has quite a rich history,” said Janet Lessnau, Operations Coordinator for the Center. Unlike the Grand, which was recently reconstructed and revitalized, the Ritz Theater has been a long-established theater in Escondido. It was first opened in 1938 and during the 30s and 40s, it hosted live events for the community and thrived. In 1951, a car ran into the building, which sparked a fire and shut it down until 1954. By that time, many had lost interest in going to the Ritz and it struggled to stay open. 

In the 1970s, it was purchased by a Las Vegas management group that turned it into a Pussycat Theater. However, the community fought hard to shut it down and in 1976, it was converted into a Spanish-speaking movie house. That conversion was also short-lived and the theater was vacant for many years. In 2003, it was renamed the Ritz with yet another revitalization that only lasted a few weeks.

Inside The Ritz Theater that hosts events throughout the year. 

The Ritz sat vacant for 18 years. In 2019 the revitalization of the former Arthur Murray Dance Studio and the Ritz started with the intention to create the current multi-use performing arts center it is today. COVID-19 brought a halt to construction for a while pushing the planned early 2020 opening to October. 

Despite the obstacles, the center is thriving today. Since its opening, the studio spaces have been used by community organizations such as homeowners associations, women’s groups, and for private music lessons. The non-profit Restoration Community Arts, who was on the forefront of the restoration as part of their mission to restore theater and provide programs for children, also hosts workshops, classes, camps, and childcare at the facility. 

Guests have been entertained in the larger spaces with concerts, plays, movies and other live events.

“We recently had a Star Wars trilogy event at the Ritz,” said Lessnau. “Then we had a cocktail costume party on the rooftop.”

An evening view of the Grand sign from the rooftop deck.

Several cover bands have played to sold out audiences, in both the indoor theater and on the rooftop deck, including the Ramones cover band Hey, Ho, Let’s Go

“The event sold out,” Lessnau said. “Surprisingly there were many young 20-somethings who came out to this event.”

An Eric Clapton cover band called Clapton Hook, and an evening called Mirage with a Fleetwood Mac cover and a James Taylor cover band have all played there as well. On Wednesday, Feb. 2, The Gilmore Project, a Pink Floyd cover band is expected to sell out.  

For live theater fans, the production company Off Broadway Theater Company performs in the Ritz. Their most recent performance was the musical “Grease.” Other events are also held at the center such as a Sunday service by New Vintage Church, which streams live at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. 

Throughout the holidays, family fun movie nights with movies such as “Elf “and “The Polar Express” were shown. Families enjoyed popcorn, treats and beverages while they watched these classic films. A New Year’s Eve event is in the planning stages. Most public events are open to all ages unless otherwise stated. “We try to stay family-friendly,” Lessnau said. Many events also provide beverages and snacks for sale as well. 

Additionally, private events such as receptions, work parties, and galas can also be booked online

Since its opening and while still under COVID-19 restrictions, Lessnau said that the venue does not require guests to wear masks but it is recommended. She also said each event space is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each event. Lessnau wants to assure the community that the Grand is open and that it hosts crowd-pleasing events for everyone. “I really want people to know that The Grand is open to the public,” she said. “There’s something for everyone here and we are open to all ages.”

The Grand is located at 301 E. Grand Avenue in Escondido. For more information, email  or call 760-309-7609. Contact The Ritz Theater at


Comments are closed on this post.