By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – You may not be aware of this but landfills represent the third largest source of methane emissions in California. When buried in landfills, organic waste—which includes paper products as well as food scraps—emits about 20 percent of the state’s methane which is about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a contributor to climate change.
Organics wastes make up half of what Californians send to landfills. Thus many believe by reducing the amount of organic waste in landfills, it can have a direct impact on climate change.
SB 1383 was signed into law in September 2016. The law established methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. The target was a 50 percent reduction in the level of organic waste by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025.
In a letter from a consulting group, “SB 1383, the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy Regulation, requires jurisdictions to make significant changes to divert organics from landfill disposal. A key part of the regulation is the requirement for specific types of businesses, defined as Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators in the regulation, to participate in food recovery programs.”
The consultant adds, “Jurisdictions must establish local ordinances to require food recovery organizations and services to report specific data to the jurisdiction. They must also establish an inspection and enforcement protocol for edible food generators, recovery organizations, and recovery services.”
A report will be presented to the city council at their meeting this Tuesday, where they will receive a presentation on key elements of the law and an update on the city’s implementation process.
Among the regulations set forth by this bill, was new requirements for organics waste collection and food recovery programs that must be implemented by local jurisdictions. These rules were completed by CalRecycle last November and go into effect on January 1.
“Fortunately for Davis, solid waste programs and policies already in place contribute to the community being well on the way toward compliance with SB 1383, especially with the introduction of mandatory organics waste collection in 2016,” staff writes in a staff report.
There are six elements of SB 1383.
The organics and recycling collection program has already been in place since July 2016: “Davis already has recycling and organics collection available to all customers.”
Contamination monitoring: “The regulations require waste audits to be conducted on each trash, recycling, and organics route regularly, to check bins for contamination.” According to staff, “While some audits are conducted by Recology Davis drivers, this is not currently done on all routes in order to monitor contamination levels.”
Education and outreach: “SB 1383 regulations will require the City to conduct specific outreach to residents, schools, businesses and edible food generators on an annual basis.” According to staff, “The City does already provide annual outreach to these groups regarding waste sorting and recycling.”
Capacity planning: “The City must collaborate with the County and the other jurisdictions located within the county to determine the necessary organic waste recycling and edible food recovery capacity needed to divert organic waste and edible food from the landfill as required under the regulations.”
According to staff, “Recology Davis brings all the organic waste collected in Davis to the Yolo County Central Landfill composting operations, however this arrangement has not been formally approved.”
Procurement requirements: “Beginning January 1, 2022, the City must annually procure a certain quantity of recovered organic waste products. Jurisdictions can fulfill their target by procuring any combination of eligible products such as compost, mulch, and renewable energy.”
According to staff, “The City has a long-established purchasing policy in place that requires the purchasing of recycled-content paper. The City does use some compost in parks and greenbelts each year, but not enough to fulfill the SB 1383 target.”
Edible food recovery: “The City must identify the edible food recovery generators that are required to implement edible food recovery programs, connect them with local food recovery organizations, provide annual outreach to the edible food generators about their requirements under SB 1383, and perform annual inspections to ensure they have contracts in place with edible food recovery organizations, and are keeping records of all recovered edible food.”
According to staff: “The efforts related to edible food recovery programs are being led by the County. More detail on this is included below in this report. The City has been working with the County to identify all the edible food generators in Davis that will be affected by SB 1383.”
Following this presentation to council, a draft implementation plan will be presented to commissions for review starting in October, including a presentation to the Natural Resources Commission. Council will receive the draft plan between October and December with the ordinance having its first and second reading by the end of the year.