SB 1383

What’s New in Solid Waste?

California is fighting climate change with a new mandate called SB1383 that established methane reduction targets for the state. Everyone in the state will be a part of this effort. Why? Because half of what Californians currently dump in landfills are organic materials like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard. 

When these organic materials are sent to a landfill, they produce methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 84x more potent than carbon dioxide that is greatly contributing to the effects of climate change in California. Organic waste in landfills emit 20% of California’s methane.

With more severe and lengthy droughts, warmer temperatures that contribute to the increasing number of wildfires (also impacting air quality), bigger storms, and coastal erosion due to rising sea levels, everyone has a part to play in the effort. The law was passed in September of 2016 and went into effect this year. 

When available, all residents, including businesses will be required to either subscribe to a County provided collection service or self-haul organics to an authorized collection site where organics will be composted rather than landfilled. Some waivers/exemptions may be available. The County and all generators will eventually be subject to enforcement. 

Although residents are not required to start putting their compostables in a different bin right away, now is a good time to start preparing yourself for the transition by making changes to your habits that help reduce waste.

What can you do now? Become a smart shopper by preparing ahead of time checking what you already have at home before going to the grocery store.  By making a plan for your food, you are more likely to use the food you buy. Freeze any extras right away to enjoy at a later date and buy bulk to cut down on packaging waste. Composting at home, if done in a sanitary manner, is also a great idea. More ideas for reducing and reusing can be found here.

Single-Family Home Residents and Multifamily Complexes of Less than Five Units 

Businesses, including multifamily residential dwellings, are required to provide organics bins and education to staff, customers, and residents. Some waivers/exemptions may be available. Residents are required to:

 Subscribe to and participate in the County’s organics curbside collection service.

  • Properly sort their organic waste into the correct containers.
  • Residents are also allowed to self-haul their organic waste to an eligible organic waste collection site.

Multifamily Residents and Multifamily Complexes

Multifamily complexes of five units or more are required to either:

 Subscribe to and participate in the County’s organics curbside collection service OR

  • Self-haul organic waste to a specified composting facility, community composting program, or other eligible site.
  • Residents of multifamily complexes must properly sort their organic waste into the correct containers.  

The following activities would be conducted by the multifamily complex property owner or manager:

 Provide organic waste collection services for employees and tenants

  • Supply and allow access to an adequate number, size, and location of containers with the correct labels or container colors.
  • Annually educate employees and tenants on how to properly sort organic waste into the correct bins, AND
  • Provide information to new tenants within 14 days of occupation of the premises.

In addition to the goal of reducing organic waste disposal statewide 75% by 2025, California aims to recover 20% of edible food currently being thrown away to help feed the 1 in 4 Californians without enough food to eat. Businesses that generate edible food must recover edible food that would otherwise be disposed by contracting with food recovery services or organizations, or self-haul the edible food to organizations that will accept it. Therefore:

  • The County is developing a food recovery program and strengthening their existing food recovery networks
  • Food donors must arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills
  • Food recovery organizations and services that participate in SB 1383 must maintain records.

Remember, keeping your materials separate and clean (avoiding contamination of organics with trash and recycling) will keep costs down for everyone. 

Frequently Asked Questions can be answered here.

Read the SB1383 legislation here

More information on edible food recovery requirements for generators may be found here

Zero Waste Humboldt also has great resources on their website.

For more information on SB1383, please visit CalReycle’s webpage or contact Humboldt County Public Works at 707-441-7491.

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