Council Receives Information on Organics Recycling Program

Through the California Waste Management Act, all jurisdictions in the state are required to divert a minimum of 50 percent of municipal solid waste generated annually from landfill disposal.

Included in the effort is the City of South Pasadena, which took a step in that direction when its City Council received and filed a report recently on an Organics Recycling Program in compliance with Assembly Bill 1826.

Landfill waste produces, according to health experts, a number of gases, including ammonia, sulfide, methane, and carbon dioxide.

“These gases, especially methane and carbon dioxide, also trap heat and contribute to local, state and national problems associated with climate change,” wrote Jennifer Shimmin, the city’s senior management analyst, in a city report. “While most modern landfills have systems in place to capture landfill gases, significant amounts continue to escape into the atmosphere.”

Reduction of landfill waste is intended to reduce concerns and improve the health and air quality for residents.

According to a City of South Pasadena report, the state’s waste reduction strategy was amplified in October 2014, when Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1826 (Chesbro) into law, calling for mandatory commercial and multifamily organics recycling to be phased in starting in April of this year. The law also requires local jurisdictions across the state to implement an organic waste recycling program to divert organic waste generated by businesses, including multifamily residential dwelling that consist of five or more units. Organic waste refers to food, green, landscape and pruning waste.

In addition, food waste, and food-soiled waste are also included. The law, cited in the city report, phases in mandatory recycling of commercial organics over time, with the minimum threshold of organic waste generation by businesses decreasing.

“California disposes of approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch,” explained Shimmin in the city report. “Organic waste, such as green materials and food materials, is recyclable through composting and mulching, and anaerobic digestion, which can produce renewable energy and fuel. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills have been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. Mandatory recycling of organic waste is the next step toward achieving California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals.”

“This is the state’s efforts to divert the amount of trash going to landfills and to make good use of it for composting and mulch.  As part of the agreement with the City, Athens Disposal is required to identify and educate those generating organic waste and arrange for pick up and proper disposal,” explained South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez.

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