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In 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of short-lived climate pollutants including methane from organic waste disposed in landfills. When organic waste such as food, yard trimmings, and paper products break down in a landfill they release methane - a potent greenhouse gas. Reducing methane is the fastest way to slow global warming. Landfills are the third largest producers of methane in California, responsible for 20% of the state’s methane emissions.
SB 1383 is the largest and most prescriptive waste management legislation in California since the California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 (AB 939).
SB 1383 sets several statewide goals, including:
- Reduce statewide disposal of organic waste by 50% by January 1, 2020 and 75% by 2025.
- Recover at least 20% of the currently disposed edible food for human consumption by 2025.
By diverting organic waste away from landfills to anaerobic digesters or composting operations and recovering edible food for human consumption, California can make significant strides toward fighting climate change and improving public health and the environment.
To meet SB 1383’s statewide goals, the California Department of Resource Recovery and Recycling (CalRecycle) created regulations that require all jurisdictions to implement very specific actions:
- Provide mandatory organics collection service to all residents and businesses.
- Establish an edible food recovery program that keeps edible food from the waste stream and redistributes it to feed people in need.
- Conduct outreach and education to the community.
- Purchase recycled organics products such as compost, recycled-content paper, and energy derived from organic waste.
- Secure access to organic waste processing and edible food recovery capacity.
- Monitor compliance and conduct enforcement.
Requirements for the City of Palo Alto
Palo Alto already meets most of SB 1383’s requirements through existing Zero Waste programs and ordinances.
To be fully compliant, Palo Alto will have to take the following actions:
- Establish an edible food recovery program, including a new ordinance requiring food generators to recover the food they generate to feed people instead of disposing of it (in the landfill or compost).
- Increase City procurement of products made from recycled organics (e.g., compost, recycled-content paper and energy derived from organic waste).
- Increase capacity for edible food recovery in our region.
- Adjust the Zero Waste enforcement program to incorporate the new monitoring and compliance requirements.