New Organic Waste and Commercial Edible Food Recovery Requirements Established by California Senate Bill 1383 (2016) and Implementing Regulations
In September 2016, California set methane emissions reduction targets for California in Senate Bill 1383 Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016 in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. Senate Bill (SB) 1383 set statewide targets to reduce organic waste disposed of in landfills of 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025. It also set a goal to rescue for people to eat at least 20% of currently disposed edible food by 2025. The state reports that organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard, make up half of what Californians send to landfills and that landfills emit 20% of the state’s methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
SB 1383 expands upon the goals of the California Assembly Bill (AB) 341: Mandatory Commercial Recycling and AB 1826: Mandatory Commercial Organics. However, SB 1383 is unique in that it impacts single family residences in addition to multi-family residential properties, businesses, organizations and agencies and it requires some businesses, organizations and agencies to donate excess edible food to feed people in addition to recycling (paper and cardboard materials) and composting organic materials. Unlike previous laws, there are significant penalties for non-compliance by organic waste generators, Tier One and Tier Two Commercial Edible Food Generators and Food Recovery Organizations and Services.
The California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is the state agency responsible for creating the regulatory standards for SB 1383. The regulations were finalized in November 2020 and became effective January 1, 2022, and include extensive provisions related to the establishment of significant programs by local governments. The final regulations for SB 1383 can be found here.