We were thrilled when we got the call from the Governor’s office last night telling us that Jerry Brown has signed two landmark CAW-sponsored bills that will drastically cut down on the disposal of organic waste. These bills are the culmination of many years of effort, and we are incredibly appreciative of the support you’ve given us to help get us to this day.
- AB 1826, by Assembly Member Wes Chesbro, will require businesses to separate their food scraps and yard trimmings for composting or anaerobic digestion.
- AB 1594, by Assembly Member Das Williams, will eliminate a loophole in state law that allows yard trimmings, prunings, and other greenwaste that is used as landfill cover to count as being “diverted” from landfills.
This is huge news for California!
Despite California's robust recycling infrastructure for traditional recyclables, the state continues to landfill organic materials at an alarming rate. In fact, food is the most prevalent item in the disposed waste stream and over 40% of all material going to landfills is readily compostable or anaerobically digestible. This is simply unacceptable, and it is irresponsible of us to waste this valuable material.
Even in the best managed landfills, organic waste rots in an oxygen-deprived environment, which leads to the generation of upwards of 7 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, in addition to significant water and air pollution and long-term financial liabilities. Composting and anaerobic digestion not only avoid those impacts, but also build healthy soils through the introduction of organic matter, prevent soil erosion, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and significantly increase water retention at a time when we need it most.
Recovering this waste material doesn’t just make environmental sense, it makes economic sense. CalRecycle has estimated that digesting or composting a significant portion of our organic waste can generate an additional 14,000 jobs by 2020.
As we’ve learned over the years, being right isn’t enough. We couldn’t have done it without the calls, letters, and legislative visits generated by our members and coalition partners. Thank you.
As we await word on the statewide bag ban, the Governor has 36 hours to ‘score a Hat Trick’ by signing all three of CAW’s top priority bills!