CSAC Bulletin Article

Cal Recycle Releases Proposed Updates to SB 1383 Organic Waste Diversion Regulations for Public Comment

June 28, 2019

Cal Recycle released an updated version of its SB 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Regulations for a 15-day public comment period. The public comment period is open now and closes on July 5 at 5 p.m.  These regulations will require individual local jurisdictions, including counties, to require residents to separate and sort their own organic waste and pass a series of local ordinances by January 2022 to implement and enforce a state wide organic waste diversion program.

The goal of the regulations is to implement a statewide reduction of the landfill disposal of organic waste to a 50 percent reduction by 2020 and 75 percent reduction by 2025 using 2014 as the baseline year. Organic waste diverted through these regulations must be disposed of at a permitted recycling center, a compostable material handling facility, a biomass conversion facility, as soil amendments at a landfill (with restrictions), through land application (with restrictions), or for use as animal feed. In addition, the regulations also require the development of a commercial edible food recovery program.

CSAC has been working closely with Cal Recycle throughout the development of these regulations and has made some progress in making the regulations less burdensome; however the regulations remain complex and will be expensive to implement. In order to meet the 75 percent organics diversion goal by 2025, California will need to finance, site, permit, and build 50 to 100 new or expanded organic waste recycling facilities in the next 5-7 years at a cost of $2 billion to $3 billion in capital investment. CSAC is signing on to joint letter requesting an extension of the 15-day comment period to allow stakeholders more time to analyze the recently proposed changes and to generate quality feedback. CSAC will submit a comment letter regarding recently proposed changes to the regulations and urges counties to do the same.

Counties may submit comments directly to Cal Recycle by the July 5, 5 p.m. comment deadline by emailing them to SLCP.Organics@calrecycle.ca.gov. Please send a copy of your comments to CSAC as too, care of Nick Cronenwett, Legislative Analyst at ncronenwett@counties.org.

In their current form, the proposed SB 1383 regulations will require counties to do the following:

  • Adopt, enforce, and provide extensive reporting on a jurisdiction-wide organic waste collection services program using methods prescribed by Cal Recycle,
  • Requires counties to educate the public about organic waste recycling and edible food recovery,
  • Requires counties to conduct county wide organic waste recycling capacity planning in conjunction with local jurisdictions including cities and special districts, and
  • Requires counties to procure a minimum level of recycled organic waste based products including renewable natural gas, paper, and compost.

Organic Waste Collection Services:

Under the regulations, local jurisdictions will be responsible for requiring residents to separate out and sort their organic waste into the proper container. Local jurisdictions will be required to use either a three container system, a two container system, or a single unsegregated container system. Local jurisdictions may use any combination of these programs to provide organic waste collections services to waste generators. Depending on which systems the county chooses, there are specific bin and lid colors and labeling requirements along with a list of specific materials that must be disposed of in each bin.

Route Checks & Contamination Inspections:

Local jurisdictions will be required to verify the contents of bins for contamination or presence of organic waste on an annual basis. Counties may verify contamination using either a route inspection method or waste characterization sample method. Generators are required receive written notice if contamination is found using either of the two prescribed methods.

Reporting:

Counties will be required to submit an initial implementation report on April 1, 2022 with adopted ordinances, program contact information, and lists of chosen collection methods and numbers of generators served. Cal Recycle will also require an annual report that must be submitted every August. In addition, Counties must keep an implementation record documents of all ordinances, policies, contracts, violations, exemptions, education and outreach efforts, container contamination results, edible program food program information, procurement information, and organic waste processing capacity planning documents for at least five years and must give Cal Recycle access to these files upon request within 10 days. Incomplete records or policies could lead to fines from Cal Recycle.

Exemptions:

The proposed regulations provide for two major types of exemptions; locally granted exemptions and state granted exemptions. The locally granted exemptions include waivers from organic waste collection for generating too little organic waste, not having enough space to put a collection service, and a request to reduce collection frequency. State based waivers from the regulations include low population exemptions for unincorporated areas with less than 75 people per square mile, a rural exemption based on a declaration of need by the county, and an exemption for communities above 4,500 feet in altitude.

Education & Outreach:

Counties will be required to do specific outreach regarding organic waste collection service, generator compliance requirements, the benefits of methane reduction, methods to reduce organic waste, and programs for edible food donations. These materials may be provided through print or electronic media. In addition, the county must provide these materials to certain groups of non-English speaking generators that meet specified thresholds.

Capacity Planning:

Counties will be required to issue a report to Cal Recycle on the development of organic waste processing and edible food recovery capacity for all of the local jurisdictions within the county. This will include reaching out to cities and special districts to quantify the amount of all organic waste disposed of in the county, identifying available organic waste recycling capacity by ton, and estimating the amount of capacity still needed in the county. In addition, if the county determines that more capacity is needed, it must notify local jurisdictions contributing to this lack capacity to submit a detailed implementation plan to Cal Recycle in order meet the county needs.

Procurement:

Counties will be required to procure a specified amount of organic waste based products either renewable gas, paper, or compost. Cal Recycle will determine the target procurements based on a specified formula and will adjust the target procurement rate every five years.

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