October 1 - California Air Resources Board Proposes Phaseout of Organic Waste Disposal by 2025

In a historic move, the California Air Resources Board has announced a regulatory strategy to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, black carbon, and f-gases. This proposal includes the adoption of regulations by 2018 to effectively eliminate the landfilling of food scraps, yard trimmings and other organic waste by 2025.

According to the plan, “eliminating the disposal of organics in landfills as part of a broad effort to put California’s organic waste streams to beneficial use can generate thousands of jobs and provide billions of dollars in value” from the organic waste we currently pay to landfill.

The following individuals and organizations issued statements in response to this announcement:

Nick Lapis, Legislative Coordinator, Californians Against Waste:

“We commend Governor Brown for his bold vision and leadership in tackling climate change. In the near future, the concept of letting millions of tons of plant trimmings and food scraps rot in a landfill will be seen as an antiquated notion, similar to the 19th century practice of dumping waste directly onto our city streets. We are far too advanced, in terms of technology and our awareness of climate change, to let this material rot in landfills and generate enormous amounts of methane, especially when we know we can turn this so-called ‘waste’ into valuable compost and a source of bioenergy. The recycling of cans, bottles and other materials has been a boon for our environment and economy, and recovering organic waste will be no different.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles:

“Given the need to urgently reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, I applaud the Governor for taking this step to eliminate food waste from our landfills. Composting and anaerobic digestion are not only the next frontier of recycling, they are an indispensable part of LA’s zero waste vision and climate efforts - and a priority in my Sustainability City pLAn. We are excited to partner with the Governor and the State to achieve this ambitious target.”

Debbie Raphael, Director, San Francisco Department of the Environment:

“We applaud this bold move by the California Air Resources Board and the Governor to protect our climate. San Francisco has mandated that organics be kept out of landfills since 2009 and during that time we have proven that there is a higher and better use for our food scraps and plant trimmings.Organic material collected in San Francisco’s green bins results in a win win win scenario by reducing methane and other short-lived climate pollutants, by acting as a sponge to help California battle the drought and by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.”

Mike Sangiacomo, President & CEO, President, Recology:

"Recology strongly supports the thoughtful and progressive step taken today by the California Air Resources Board and Governor Brown. Composting and other organics diversion programs can create four times the number of jobs as do landfill disposal operations.  This action is good not only for California's climate but for the state's economy as well."

Ron Herrera, Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division, and Teamsters Western Region International Vice President:

"On behalf of the 1.4 million workers represented by the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, we hail this important move to protect our environment and support good green jobs. By keeping organic waste out of landfills, new jobs can be created. From the Ports to Waste and Recycling and beyond, we know how critical partnerships between labor and the environmental community are to improving conditions for our members and the environment they live in."

Darby Hoover, Senior Resource Specialist, Natural Resources Defense Council:

“NRDC applauds the goals set by Governor Brown and the Air Resources Board to reduce the amount of organic material sent to landfills by 2025. Landfilling organics not only contributes to the generation of methane, but represents a waste of valuable material. Directing organics to be recycled, along with building markets for compost and other products of organics recycling, will help add organic matter to soils, improving soil health and enhancing water and nutrient retention capacity. These goals will also bolster efforts to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and to recover more edible food to direct to people in need.”

Roxana Tynan, Executive Director, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy:

“This proposal is an incredible leap forward towards a healthier environment and economy, thanks to the leadership of Governor Brown and the California Air Resources Board. In Los Angeles, we recognize the benefits possible to everyone, from communities and workers to local businesses and governments, when recycling and composting are maximized. For example, with our recently adopted Zero Waste LA system, compost collection will eventually be provided for all customers, and high standards will ensure quality job creation.”

Neil Edgar, Executive Director, California Compost Coalition:

“Our members are thrilled to see the continued climate leadership of the Brown administration result in meaningful methane reduction, among other prudent measures, which will include the banning of organic wastes from California landfills by 2025. We are hopeful that this strategy will not only help mitigate global warming impacts but will send a clear signal that much-needed investment into organics waste processing infrastructure is both sound and sustainable.”

Paul Relis, Senior Vice President, CR&R Incorporated:

“As the developer of the largest facility in North America to recycle municipal organic waste to renewable fuel and soil products, we are delighted that the State Air Resources Board has announced plans to eliminate organic materials going to landfill by 2025. With this and other actions, California is giving companies like CR&R the greenlight to continue to invest in technology that will enable all the cities we serve (some 50) to no longer rely on landfills for managing organic waste. This is a milestone!"

Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air:

“Reducing these super-pollutants will improve Californians' health and help protect our vital snowpack.”

Read the full report here.