Costa Mesa officials are sorting through years of state legislation that says cities must create organic waste and unwanted food recycling programs, in an effort to reduce local landfill waste and avoid hefty penalties for non-compliance. Council members considered in a study session how they might meet the mandates of Senate Bill 1383, which requires California to reduce its organic waste by 75% — the equivalent of about 20 million tons per year — by 2025. The law also sets a goal for increasing the recovery of unused food by 20%.

The bill incorporates previous state regulations, which mandated commercial recycling and similar programs for properties whose organic waste exceeded certain capacities. But SB 1383 goes a step further, requiring cities to create residential recycling programs for organic waste, including food, paper, landscaping material and untreated lumber.

Cities must also set up an edible food recovery program, annually procure a prescribed amount of recycled organic waste products (mulch, compost and renewable natural gas, for example) and establish a framework for monitoring and enforcing local compliance. The deadline for bringing everything online is Jan. 1, 2022.

“That is the date when single family residences, multifamily residences and all commercial properties with 2 cubic yards per week of organic waste are required to have organic waste recycling programs in place,” San Juan Capistrano-based consultant Mike Balliet said. “None of this is easy,” he continued. “We have a very short time, from after these regulations were approved to actually have the programs in place.”

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Author: Sara Cardine, Los Angeles Times
Photo: Los Angeles Times