Mandatory Food Composting Mandate Goes Into Effect in California in January

Organic waste accounts for about 15 percent of the methane emissions in America. And methane contributes to climate change.

The tops of strawberries and the peels of bananas are no longer trash in California. Senate Bill 1383, which creates a mandatory state-wide food recycling program, goes into effect in January.

 "The goal of the bill is to actually reduce methane emissions and other short-lived climate pollutants," Ned Spang from the Food Loss & Waste Collaborative at UC Davis said. "Now methane is released when we put organic waste into landfills."

Organic waste, like food scraps and animal bones, accounts for about 15 percent of the methane emissions in America, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And methane is one of the greenhouse gasses contributing to climate change.

With the new law, the local government must provide households with a green waste bin. When the contents are collected, they will go to a composting facility.

And according to one homeowner, the new process is easy.

"It's really easy," Joy Klineberg said. "I mean, all you're changing is where you're throwing things. It's just another bin."

Mandatory composting is not unique to California. Vermont has a similar household food-recycling law, and states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have statutes limiting food waste from businesses.   

These laws are another tool in the fight against climate change. 

"We're actually taking responsibility," Ramin Yazdani from Yolo County Integrated Waste Management states. "And not leaving it for a next generation to do something."

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