Three years after California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (SB 1383, Lara) was signed into law, formal regulations were adopted by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). As a part of a multi-pronged strategy, CalRecycle will be responsible for reducing organic waste disposal by 75% and recovering 20% of edible food that is currently thrown away by 2025.
Under this measure, local governments and generators will be required to compost, anaerobically digest, or otherwise recycle food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic waste by providing curbside compost collection services to residents and businesses, and to minimize food waste from businesses such as grocery stores, event venues and restaurants. They will also be required to procure organic waste products such as compost and mulch. The regulations go into effect by 2022.
The adoption of the regulations comes at a time when recycling rates have been dropping around the country due to China’s National Sword policy and other market conditions. CalRecycle announced that the state’s recycling rate has hit a new low of 40%, far short of the 75% target the state has set. Organic waste accounts for two-thirds of the state’s waste stream, so tackling this material is an inexorable part of putting the state back on track to reaching its recycling goals.