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California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction law, often called SB 1383, establishes methane reduction targets for California. California SB 1383 is a bill that sets goals to reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills, including edible food. The bill’s purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, and address food insecurity in California. Aspects of this law ensure that food scraps are composted and compost is purchased by cities. Composting, industrial uses, and animal feed are good environmental uses for inedible food or other organic material.  Landfilling organic waste is a significant source of local air quality pollutants, which can cause respiratory issues and hospitalizations for community members. Beyond this, we are seeing the effects of climate change in California 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. 

To address the environmental and health concerns of surplus edible food, this law requires that, statewide, 20% of edible food that would otherwise be disposed of in the garbage or compost be recovered for human consumption by 2025. This means surplus edible food will help feed Californians in need instead of decomposing in a landfill while emitting harmful greenhouse gasses. The EPA recognizes feeding hungry people as the second best strategy to prevent food waste and benefit the environment, society, and economy. (The number one strategy to reduce food waste is prevention. Learn more about how your business or organization can prevent food waste and save money with our Prevention Tips and Resources.) Here we have developed some resources to help you understand the food recovery requirements of this new legislation:

The Food Recovery for Regulated Entities Slide Deck​ provides a great overview of this new law and how it applies to you.

Our Letter to Regulated Entities briefly explains the new law and the ways in which it might apply to your business.

Our Letter to Food Recovery Partners outlines how this law applies to our food recovery partners and what to expect as the law takes effect January 1, 2022.

Our Food Recovery for Regulated Entities Flyer ​is a great way to share information about the new regulation with your partners and staff members.

     

    • Tier One and Tier Two Businesses must arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills. They must establish contracts or written agreements with food recovery organizations, which can include a collection schedule, identification of allowable foods for donation, and cost-sharing options. They must keep records and report information to Santa Clara County. Along with food recovery, businesses must prepare to divert organic material from the landfill by subscribing to a local organics collection service or self-hauling to a specified composting facility or program. Records must be maintained for the amount delivered to each facility. Organic waste and recycling collection containers must be provided to employees and customers. These containers must be labeled to indicate primary materials accepted or prohibited and must be the correct color scheme. Educational information about the legal requirements and sorting methods for compost and recycling will be provided.  

    • Food recovery organizations and services that participate in SB 1383 must maintain records, and must also report to the County, including the total number of pounds collected in the previous calendar year.

    • Jurisdictions, meaning a city, county or special district, must establish food recovery programs and strengthen their existing food recovery networks. SB 1383 requires counties to take the lead to collaborate with jurisdictions to plan for the necessary organic waste recycling and food recovery capacity needed to divert organic waste from landfills. This waste will be redirected to food recovery organizations and/or​ recycling activities. Santa Clara County is currently developing its system to monitor compliance with this new law. Inspections of Tier One and Tier Two Businesses will be a part of the system.

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