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Understanding the Upcoming CA Composting Law 

Did you know that about 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in California is wasted, with about 6 million tons of food thrown away in the state annually? State lawmakers have been looking for a solution to this problem, and it seems they have succeeded.

In particular, Senate Bill 1383 seeks to change how residents and businesses dispose of trash like kitchen scraps and leftover food. The upcoming law requires Californians to separate organic waste from other kinds of trash.

The Upcoming California Composting Law Dissected

Senate Bill 1383 is part of the efforts aimed to minimize emissions of pollutants such as methane gas across the state of California. It aims to reduce the amount of organic waste as well as edible food that ends up in landfills by 2025.

CalRecycle (also referred to as The California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery) completed drafting regulations to help attain these goals in November 2020. SB 1383 regulations were also enacted in January 2022.

The upcoming composting law reflects the state’s commitment to improving overall health and creating clean jobs to support sustainable economics locally. It requires local jurisdictions to carry out outreach and education programs on organic recycling. The programs target businesses, residents, food recovery organizations, local food banks, solid waste facilities, and haulers.

What the Upcoming CA Composting Law Means for Residents and Businesses

As a resident or business owner in the state of California, the upcoming composting law requires you to recycle all organic waste. The organic waste materials may include food-soiled paper, food scraps, yard materials, cardboard, and paper. Be sure to confirm with your local governments and trash pickup services about the specific regulations that apply to your community.b

If you run a restaurant that generates organic waste in the form of grease, contact your local grease and cooking oil recycler. Most of the waste food generated from homes or businesses will go to large composting plants or centers that will use it to generate natural gas.

The upcoming composting law allows local residential and commercial trash pickup services to accept all possible parts of food. These items include soups, bits of grease, fish, bones, and cooked meat. Fully-licensed anaerobic will help decompose these food residuals and kill any pathogens in them.

Are There Penalties for Dumping Waste in the Wrong Place?

As of 2024, Senate Bill 1383 will allow local authorities to charge fines to residents or businesses that intentionally dump organic waste in the wrong place. For a first offense, you may pay between $50 and $100, while third and subsequent offenses attract a maximum penalty of $500.

Sanitation officials across California counties will ensure the penalties are imposed on lawbreakers through their local ambassadors. They may charge you fines if you fail to separate the organic waste from other trash generated from your home or business. With penalties expected to be in place, there will be great changes in how residents and businesses dispose of trash.

Why Separating Organic Waste from the Rest of Your Trash is a Requirement of the New Law

Multiple scientific studies suggest that organic waste that ends up in landfills produces methane when it decomposes. Even more, methane is a super-pollutant known to have higher destructive effects on the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

The bid to separate organic waste from other waste can help slow the progression of global warming. It can achieve this goal by redirecting the trash to anaerobic digestion facilities or composting centers to capture the toxic gasses.

SB 1383, therefore, seeks to reduce the amount of edible food and other waste generated by businesses and residents. Regarding edible food, the upcoming law targets food providers and supermarkets while directing recyclable food to food banks.


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About the author: Access Publishing

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Paso Robles Daily News on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.