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Californians Composting For Climate Change

Californians Composting For Climate Change

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California’s new mandatory composting law just took effect January 1, 2022. Yes, this is another mandatory climate change law, born out of California’s AB 32 is the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act, which was born out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s claims that “global warming pollutants have risen to levels unseen in the past 800,000 years.”

Senate Bill 1383 authored in 2016 by then-Senator Ricardo Lara, now California’s State Insurance Commissioner, mandates that your “organic material” goes into separate bins from garbage, plastic and glass recyclables.

Here is Lara’s reason for the bill: “According to the author, ‘California has been a proud and bold leader in pursuing environmental policies to reduce climate change and address the sources that cause it. These policies have mainly focused on reducing CO2 emissions, which is the main driver of climate change. This strategy is the next step of those efforts. It establishes a goal for reducing short-lived climate pollutants that are amongst global climate change’s most damaging emissions.’”

This new law, passed in 2016 but not effective until 1/1/2022, is a holdover from Lara’s time in the Legislature and not part of the spate of new environmental lawsRecently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom created laws to limit plastic utensils, change recycling labelling, limit plastic waste exports, and boost individual composting. These new laws will tax plastic spoons, knives, and forks while requiring that they be recycled.

The Senate Bill 1383 requires that California Air Resources Board to approve and begin implementing the comprehensive strategy to reduce “Short-lived climate pollutants”  in the state to achieve, from 2013 levels, a 40% reduction in methane, a 40% reduction in hydrofluorocarbon gases, and a 50% reduction in anthropogenic black carbon, by 2030.

It also “establishes a target of 50% reduction in the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75% reduction by 2025, and requires CalRecycle and ARB to adopt regulations to achieve the organic waste reduction targets,” bill analysis said. It’s still not clear how composting will reduce methane since one of the goals of composting in large amounts is to capture the natural gas from it – are we just moving composting from one location to your home?

What is “organic material?”

Senate Bill 1383 mandates that Californians separate unused food, coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels and other leftovers into bins they use for other “green” waste, including garden trimmings, lawn clippings and leaves.

You can get a lot out of composting if you keep it and fertilize your garden. It’s easy. However, government doesn’t need to tell us that, or mandate that local waste management companies issue us proper bins, and then pick up the kitchen garbage alongside our recyclables and other household garbage.

Most kitchen green waste can be composted and used in the garden. You don’t need a victory garden to make use of your homegrown compost.

The The EPA has tips for composting:

Backyard composting

  • Choose a dry, shaded spot near a water source to place your compost pile or bin.
  • As they are collected, add brown and/or green materials.
  • As they are added, moist dry materials
  • Once you have established your compost pile, add grass clippings to the pile. Then, bury vegetable and fruit scraps under 10 inches of compost material.
  • Optional: You can cover the top of the compost with a sheet of tarp to keep it from drying out. Your compost is ready for use when the bottom material is dark and rich in color. This usually takes between two and two years.

They also offer a listWhat is compostable and which is not.

We don’t need the state government to legislate this, largely because compostable kitchen and yard waste garbage is not the problem in landfills.

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