California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP): Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions

Program News...

General Information

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), establishing methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) in various sectors of California's economy. The bill codifies the California Air Resources Board's Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, established pursuant to SB 605 (Lara, Chapter 523, Statutes of 2014), in order to achieve reductions in the statewide emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. Actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants are essential to address the many impacts of climate change on human health, especially in California's most at-risk communities, and on the environment.

As it pertains to CalRecycle, SB 1383 establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The law grants CalRecycle the regulatory authority required to achieve the organic waste disposal reduction targets and establishes an additional target that not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption by 2025.

Methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to global climate change. Organic materials--including waste that can be readily prevented, recycled, or composted--account for a significant portion of California's overall waste stream. Food waste alone accounts for approximately 17-18 percent of total landfill disposal. Increasing food waste prevention, encouraging edible food rescue, and expanding the composting and in-vessel digestion of organic waste throughout the state will help reduce methane emissions from organic waste disposed in California's landfills. In addition, compost has numerous benefits including water conservation, improved soil health, and carbon sequestration. Anaerobic digestion produces biogas that can be used to create electricity or renewable transportation fuels. Food rescue has the added benefit of assisting Californians who are unable to secure adequate, healthy food by diverting edible food to food banks and pantries.

SB 1383 builds upon California's leading commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution statewide. Governor Brown identified reductions of short-lived climate pollutant emissions, including methane emissions, as one of five key climate change strategy pillars necessary to meet California’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 as established in SB 32 (Pavley, Chapter 249, Statutes of 2016). SB 1383 will further support California’s efforts to achieve the statewide 75 percent recycling goal by 2020 established in AB 341 (Chesbro, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011) and strengthen the implementation of mandatory commercial organics recycling established in AB 1826 (Chesbro, Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014).

Implementation Dates and Thresholds

  • 2017-2019: CalRecycle will conduct informal workshops in 2017, initiate the formal rulemaking in late 2017 or early 2018, and adopt the regulations in late 2018 or early 2019. Although the regulations will not take effect until 2022, adopting them in 2019 allows regulated entities approximately three years to plan and implement necessary budgetary, contractual, and other programmatic changes. Jurisdictions, haulers, and generators should consider taking actions to implement programs to be in compliance with the regulations on January 1, 2022.
  • 2019: CalRecycle will be networking, providing technical assistance, and developing tools, model ordinances, contracts, and case studies to support efforts at the local level to meet the organic waste reduction targets and comply with the regulatory requirements.
  • January 1, 2020: No later than this date, the state must achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level.
  • July 1, 2020: By this date, CalRecycle, in consultation with the Air Resources Board, must analyze the progress that the waste sector, state government, and local governments have made in meeting the organic waste reduction targets for 2020 and 2025. If the Department determines that significant progress has not been made in meeting the targets, CalRecycle may include incentives or additional requirements in the regulations to facilitate progress toward achieving the organic disposal reduction targets. The Department may also recommend to the Legislature revisions to the targets.
  • January 1, 2022: CalRecycle’s regulations to meet the organic waste reduction targets for 2020 and 2025 take effect and are enforceable on this date.
  • January 1, 2024: Effective on this date, the regulations may require local jurisdictions to impose penalties for noncompliance on generators within their jurisdiction.
  • January 1, 2025: By this date, the state must achieve a 75 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level. In addition, not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food must be recovered for human consumption.

2017 Stakeholder Workshops

CalRecycle is hosting the first of a series of workshops to provide an opportunity for informal stakeholder feedback on the development of regulations related to the implementation of SB 1383. CalRecycle staff will provide an overview of the law, topics for which regulations are necessary, and preliminary questions for consideration and comment. Both workshops will be broadcast.

Additional details and workshop materials coming soon.

Related Resources

Last updated: February 14, 2017
Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/SLCP/
Contact: SLCP.Organics@calrecycle.ca.gov