Senate Bill 1383 – Organics Recycling


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What is SB 1383? Why is it Important?

California is implementing statewide organic waste recycling and surplus food recovery to reduce emissions of methane from food and organic waste in landfills. This new strategy to reduce the disposal of organics is part of California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Law, also known as Senate Bill (SB) 1383. The law also aims to reduce food insecurity by ensuring more surplus food reaches people in need instead of being discarded. SB 1383 was signed into California law in 2016 and requires the state to:

  • Reduce organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025
  • Rescue at least 20% of currently disposed surplus edible food by 2025

SB 1383 impacts all residents and businesses in Kern County and is a statewide coordinated effort of community partners, state agencies, local haulers, residents, businesses, and County staff and facilities with the goal to divert organic materials from reaching our landfill. The state defines “organic waste” as food, landscape, pruning trimmings, lumber, wood, manure, cardboard, paper products, printing and writing paper, and other plant and animal-based products. These organics make up over half of what Californians dump in landfills.

Methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gasses and a major contributor to climate change. Landfills are the third-largest source of methane in California, emitting 20% of the state’s methane as a result from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills. Methane is categorized as a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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Food waste alone accounts for approximately 17-18% of total landfill disposal. Increasing food waste prevention, encouraging edible food rescue, and expanding the composting and diversion of organic waste throughout the state will help reduce methane emissions from California's landfills.

Organic wastes may end up as compost feedstock and finished compost has numerous benefits including water conservation, improved soil health, and carbon sequestration. Edible 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 to feed people in need. Some organic wastes around the state may utilize anaerobic digestion to produce biogas that can be used to create electricity or renewable transportation fuels.

SB 1383 is a statewide organized effort to divert organic materials from reaching our landfill. You can help by composting your organic materials at home or by properly sorting and placing your organic materials in your green container so these nutrient-rich materials can be diverted to a composting facility rather than ending up in our local landfills. By properly sorting and composting your organic materials, we can all do our part to slow climate change and support local composting facilities. Here is some practical information on managing your organic materials at your home and business so that you can divert organic materials from landfills and help fight climate change.

For general questions about Senate Bill 1383 (organics recycling) or to report a violation for non-compliance (may be done anonymously), you may:

  • Call – (661) 862-8600
  • Email – organics@kerncounty.com
  • Mail – Kern County Public Works, 2700 M Street Suite 450, Bakersfield CA 93301