A new California law will require residents and businesses to separate their organic waste from their usual garbage into green waste bins beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
Senate Bill 1383 was originally signed into law by then Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 with the goal of reducing toxic gasses generated during food waste decomposition.
The bill, authored by former Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), requires homes and businesses to recycle organic food waste, which will be decomposed into reusable products. The law’s purpose is to eliminate toxic gasses generated during food waste decomposition.
For individuals and businesses who don’t comply with the soon-to-be-enforced law, the state plans to fine up to $500 a day, and cities that don’t comply could pay up to $10,000 a day, with inspections to enforce them.
When organic waste is put into a landfill, it decomposes anaerobically, or without oxygen, which produces methane. So by reducing the amount of organic waste put into landfills, there will be less methane gas produced.
Given that one-half of waste put into California landfills every year is organic waste, according to the state, the law is intended to remove a majority of it, with a goal of reducing organic waste disposal by 75 percent, or 17.7 million tons of material, by 2025.
In an effort to reach the goal, all cities and counties must adopt food recycling programs by Jan. 1 that are consistent with SB 1383, with garbage trucks diverting the organic waste to facilities that can process the material into compost, renewable gas electricity, mulch, and more.
Additionally, starting in January, the majority of jurisdictions will also need to meet certain goals for “recovered organic waste product” of 0.08 tons of organic waste per resident.
These waste processing facilities will also need to meet an annual organic waste rate of 50 percent in January 2022 and 75 percent in 2025.
SB 1383 also boasts an edible food recovery program, which along with reducing organic waste going into landfills, will help feed needy Californians.
Under the program, “food generators” such as grocery stores, wholesalers, and large event venues will be required by 2025 to recover 20 percent of edible food that would be thrown away, and donate it to food banks in order to feed food-insecure Californians.