California has always been America’s environmental trendsetting state, from specifying targets for zero-emission vehicles to committing to goals for the emissions of greenhouse gasses. Now, a bill that would apply widely is about to take effect. The bill applies to approximately 540 jurisdictions in California, thousands of businesses, hundreds of haulers and food recovery organizations, hundreds of material recovery facilities (MRFs), processors, recyclers, and landfills, dozens of local government environmental enforcement agencies, and all schools, federal agencies, and State agencies.
About Senate Bill 1383
In September 2016, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1383. This bill required the state board, no later than January 1, 2018, to approve and begin implementing that comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to achieve a reduction in methane by 40%, hydrofluorocarbon gases by 40%, and anthropogenic black carbon by 50% below 2013 levels by 2030. The bill also established specified targets for reducing organic waste in landfills.
SB 1383’s target for landfill reduction is to achieve:
- 50% reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020
- 75% reduction by 2025
Legal Requirement for the Diversion of Organic Waste from Landfills
The law provides CalRecycle the regulatory authority required to achieve the targets for the reduction in the disposal of organic waste. CalRecycle defines organic waste as solid waste containing material originating from living organisms and their metabolic waste products, including food.
How Senate Bill 1383 Applies to Residents and Businesses
Organic waste makes up approximately 67% of the total disposal stream (according to CalRecycle). This total includes organic waste currently sent to landfills for uses considered “diversion” or “beneficial reuse” under previous statutes.
All organic waste generators, both residents and businesses, as well as non-local entities and local education agencies, are required to participate in organic material collection programs.
Penalties for noncompliance can be assessed by CalRecycle beginning in 2022.
All waste generators must procure eligible recovered organic waste products. Compliance can be achieved through recycling organic waste by means of composting, mulching, and other forms of bioenergy conversion.
On average, California residents and commercial businesses can expect a 13% increase on their monthly waste management collection bill. The increased fees will go towards an estimated 50 to 100 new organic material recycling facilities the state of California anticipates building to help process and recover up to 27 million tons of organic waste annually by 2025.
Residents typically have low impact on food waste in landfills and should focus more on reducing food waste before and as it happens.
Businesses generate the most organic waste from daily operations and should look for long-term, sustainable alternatives to landfills to comply with SB1383. Though many commercial waste management organizations offer hauling the waste to compost facilities or anaerobic digestion facilities as a service, it is expensive, laborious, and can cause odor and pest issues when improperly timed.
Businesses can highly benefit from utilizing on site organic waste management services to save money, improve operations, and reduce their carbon footprint. On-site options for the disposal of food waste include dehydrators (also known as composters), grinders, and biodigesters. It is important to recognize that each of these disposal solutions has its own impact on the environment. If you’re going to make a decision to divert your food waste and reduce your carbon footprint, then it makes sense to choose the option with the lowest environmental impact. Read about the differences here.
Biodigesters come in two different varieties: aerobic and anaerobic food digesters. Anaerobic digesters, which do not use oxygen in the decomposition process, are typically large commercial facilities that accept organic material from a variety of sources. The organic material is broken down anaerobically to produce methane that is then burned to produce electricity and heat. Though this is the more environmentally friendly option to dispose of food in the landfill, there are many disadvantages to using anaerobic food composting. Aerobic digesters use oxygen in the decomposition process. The output of this process is mostly water and carbon dioxide. This process is similar to traditional composting and can be a completely odorless and simple process. To receive a free quote on an aerobic digester and calculate the ROI on your business, contact Power Knot here.
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