California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction law, often called SB 1383, establishes methane reduction targets for California. California SB 1383 is a bill that sets goals to reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills, including edible food. The bill’s purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, and address food insecurity in California. Aspects of this law ensure that food scraps are composted and compost is purchased by cities. Composting, industrial uses, and animal feed are good environmental uses for inedible food or other organic material. Landfilling organic waste is a significant source of local air quality pollutants, which can cause respiratory issues and hospitalizations for community members. Beyond this, we are seeing the effects of climate change in California with more severe and lengthy droughts, warmer temperatures that contribute to the increasing number of wildfires (also impacting air quality), bigger storms, and coastal erosion due to rising sea levels.
To address the environmental and health concerns of surplus edible food, this law requires 20% of edible food that would otherwise be disposed of in the garbage or compost be recovered for human consumption by 2025. This means surplus edible food will help feed Californians in need instead of decomposing in a landfill while emitting harmful greenhouse gases. The EPA recognizes feeding hungry people as one of the most preferred avenues to prevent food waste and benefit the environment, society, and economy. We have developed some resources to help you understand the food recovery requirements of this new legislation: