The new organic waste law comes into force on January 1

SAN DIEGO – SB 1383 (California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Act) will take effect January 1, 2022, and San Diego County already has a resource to help residents and businesses comply the new rules for the collection of organic waste in the State. The Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, a San Diego-based environmental nonprofit that has provided groundbreaking waste diversion services and environmental education for over 35 years, is already on the ground supporting CalRecycle and local city governments. in terms of awareness and education.

Prior to the deployment of the law, the Solana Center worked with jurisdictions to determine which companies will need to be in compliance and when. After January 1, the Solana Center:

● Continue to work with jurisdictions to identify companies that need to comply immediately

● Helping entities build their organic waste treatment infrastructure

● Offer technical consultations and inspections to companies to help them in the recovery of edible foods and the collection of organic waste

SB 1383, which will be implemented by CalRecycle in conjunction with local county governments and waste management companies (e.g. EDCO, Republic Services, Waste Management), requires each California jurisdiction to provide collection services to all residents and businesses for organic waste.

It also requires jurisdictions to inform grocery stores, restaurants and other food-producing businesses of their responsibilities and establish programs that connect companies with food recovery organizations that can help divert edible food from landfills and to direct them to people in need.

“The implementation of SB 1383 is a watershed moment in our state’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diverting organic waste from landfills,” said Jessica Toth, Executive Director of the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation. “It will also help feed more hungry people by avoiding the waste of edible food. SB 1383 is the biggest change in waste management in more than 30 years since California’s Integrated Waste Management Act. 1989 has made recycling a part of our daily lives. We are delighted to see that organic waste reduction and recycling is being addressed in California, and proud to be of service to government agencies in the San Diego County area to educate residents and businesses as this new law is rolled out. ”

Toth and the Solana Center have been at the forefront of working with local businesses, restaurants and the community, sharing resources and best practices to implement and stay in compliance with SB 1383. Now that the project passed and the January 1 deadline draws near, Center Solana’s sustainability educators are on the ground to meet with businesses and conduct waste audits to prepare local kitchens for success, as well as provide resources such as webinars, a hotline and one-on-one technical support for businesses, trainings for commercial kitchens in Spring 2022 and much more. The association has already contracted with 14 of the 19 jurisdictions in San Diego County to provide educational services to businesses and residents.

What is organic waste?

“Organic waste” means any biodegradable material originating from a plant or an animal. Organic waste to be collected under SB 1383 will include:

● Meat and bones, including fish and shellfish

● Cereals, breads and pasta

● Dairy products, including cheese and yogurt

● eggs and eggshells

● Fruits and vegetables

● Paper soiled with food, including compostable take-out containers

● Coffee filters, coffee grounds and tea bags

● Any leftover food scraped off the plates

● Garden sizes including leaves, branches and clippings

After January 1, residents and businesses can no longer dispose of these items with their landfill waste. They should be placed in a separate green bin, provided by their city or county. The timing of new curbside organic waste collection varies by jurisdiction and when their waste carrier partners will be set up to provide the service.

Why California adopted SB 1383

Nearly 40% of all food grown, produced, bought and sold in the United States is wasted, as the climate crisis worsens and one in five Californians face food insecurity. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Californians throw away 6 million tons of food waste each year, most of which could have fed hungry people, or been used for compost, biofuel, power generation or animal feed.

In the San Diego area alone, residents generate 1.6 million tonnes of organic waste per year and 500,000 tonnes of food waste is disposed of. When this food waste ends up in landfills and decomposes, it produces methane, a pollutant more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a major contributor to climate change.

Researchers estimate that the effect of SB 1383 on reducing pollution and greenhouse gases will be the equivalent of taking more than two million cars off the road for a year, and it will feed millions more Californians every year. Applying a nutrient-rich compost made from recycled food waste to crops will also improve the quality of California soil and food and help reduce agricultural water use in our drought stricken state. Compost also sequesters carbon from the air when applied to the soil, with benefits that last for 20 years.

Locally, organic waste recycled in San Diego County will fuel a more energy-neutral fleet of collection trucks and ultimately fuel the region’s gas pipelines. The Solana Center also predicts that the new law will create more jobs in communities in San Diego by creating a market for the processing, distribution and use of organics that would have gone to landfill previously.

The objectives of SB 1383 include:

● A 50% reduction in organic waste disposal statewide by 2020, compared to 2014 levels

● A 75% reduction in the disposal of organic waste from residents and businesses by 2025; and

● By 2025, donate at least 20% of edible foods that would otherwise go to landfills to Californians who don’t have enough to eat.

In San Diego alone, the impact of organics diversion is enormous and has the potential to:

● Free up 700,000 tonnes of landfill space per year

● Create new markets and jobs worth $ 2,000,000 / year

● Save local businesses $ 20 million per year in disposal costs

● Avoiding 127,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year

What residents and businesses can expect

Since January 1, jurisdictions are required to provide every business and residence, including multi-family complexes, with bins for recycling “green” or organic waste. They should also provide options for proper disposal, whether through part of regularly scheduled waste collections or through waste collection and return systems to organic waste recycling centers or waste disposal facilities. anaerobic digestion. It is in these types of facilities that organic waste will be converted into materials such as compost or biofuel.

All businesses classified at Level 1 (wholesale food vendors, food service providers, food distributors, grocery stores and supermarkets) are further required to have a formal system for directing leftover edible food to organizations that distribute food to San Diego residents in need.

According to the Solana Center, EDCO, Republic Services, and Waste Management have already provided many customers in San Diego County with green bins for organic waste collection, and other waste management companies in the region will follow soon. Cities can also provide kitchen caddies for leftover food, either automatically or on request.

Depending on the city or jurisdiction, some customers may see an increase of up to $ 5 per month in waste collection fees to fund new services. Residents and businesses who do not wish to participate in curbside recycling can collect their organic waste themselves for composting at home or take them to programs such as the Food Cycle project at the Solana Center or another waste treatment facility. organic waste in the area.

How to reduce organic waste

● Prevention – buy smart – create a list before you go to the store or place an order to find out what you already have on hand. Store food properly to prevent spoilage

● Optimal use – feed unnecessary edible foods. Get creative with leftovers, imperfect produce and excess seasonal produce

● Recycle – compost your trash or participate in your curbside organic recycling program to turn your materials into healthy soil amendments.

Anyone wishing to help prepare their jurisdiction or business in the San Diego area to comply with SB 1383 can contact Solana Center’s Director of Environmental Solutions, Mallika Sen at [email protected]

For more information on the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, to volunteer or support their work or attend an upcoming workshop, visit

For more information on SB 1383, visit

Submitted by the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation.