SB 1383

gavel, scales of justice, and books on a tableSB 1383: Addressing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Through Organic Waste Recycling

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 in September of 2016, aiming to reduce statewide emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). SLCPs, such as black carbon (soot), methane (CH4), and fluorinated gases, are estimated to constitute nearly half of the current net climate impacts. Unlike the long-term climate impacts of carbon dioxide (CO2), which can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, SLCPs remain in the atmosphere for less than 20 years (hence the term “short-lived”). However, in that relatively shorter amount of time, SLCPs have significantly larger climate warming impacts than CO2. Therefore, in addition to CO2 mitigation efforts, reducing SLCP emissions is seen as an effective and necessary strategy to rapidly address the impacts of climate change. For Californians, these tangible impacts include air pollution, sea level rise and coastal erosion, extreme weather events resulting in droughts, and increased fire risks.

While SB 1383 affects various sectors of the state’s economy, one major area of focus is the reduction and recycling of organic waste. Organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, that end up in landfills make up about 20% of the state’s methane emissions. Since methane is 84 times more potent of a pollutant than CO2, SB 1383 has set targets to reduce organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) successfully diverted over 50% of organic waste from landfills. During the pandemic, diversion dipped to approximately 50% and the District continues to maintain a goal of achieving 75% of diversion through its Organics Recycling Program. In addition to its diversion goal, CMSD is in the process of developing a plan to increase education and outreach about organics recycling, decrease contamination of organic waste, and conduct enforcement to comply with SB 1383.

Luckily, we’re not alone in this! CMSD must work cooperatively with the Cities of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach to achieve SB 1383 compliance, since there is overlap between our jurisdictions. While CMSD is responsible for residential waste collection in Costa Mesa, the City of Costa Mesa is responsible for commercial waste collection. And, while the City of Newport Beach oversees the majority of trash and recycling within its city boundaries, CMSD services Santa Ana Heights. In addition to providing organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses, SB 1383 requires city jurisdictions to establish an edible food recovery program, conduct education and outreach to the community, procure recyclable and recovered organic products, ensure access to facilities for recycling and edible food recovery, monitor compliance, and conduct enforcement.

To learn more about the local impacts of SB 1383, check out the video presentation below by City of Costa Mesa consultant, Mike Balliet.