Placer introduces new ordinance requiring residents and businesses to comply with state organic waste regulations
Published Feb. 24, 2022
The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the introduction of a new county ordinance Tuesday that would enforce the reduction of organic waste disposal for commercial businesses and residents, as required by California Senate Bill 1383. The ordinance will be presented to the board for final adoption on March 8.
SB 1383 was passed in 2016 to reduce methane emissions in California by diverting organic waste from landfills. The state law requires jurisdictions to adopt an enforceable ordinance in 2022, and begin enforcement in 2024 after a two-year education period for constituents.
“The statewide goal of SB 1383 is to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills by 75% come the year 2025 and recover at least 20% of edible food for charitable organizations and other food recovery programs that would otherwise be thrown away,” said Placer County environmental resources specialist Sadie Caldas. “Many businesses already participate in food recovery programs. However, SB 1383 hopes to reduce food insecurity by making food donation a requirement for some larger businesses.”
Common organic waste materials include food scraps, yard waste, paper and cardboard. Planned improvements at the Western Placer Waste Management Authority materials recovery facility will divert a high percentage of organic waste material through sorting onsite. Because of this process, residents subscribed to the One Big Bin in unincorporated western county areas, the county’s single-container waste collection system, will not need to make any changes to their organic waste disposal to comply with this law.
Much of eastern Placer County is exempt from complying with SB 1383 due to low population. Other areas in North Lake Tahoe are eligible for elevation waivers that would exempt residents and businesses from some requirements. The county is working on an alternate compliance approach for eastern county residents by using One Big Bin.
Nothing in the proposed ordinance prohibits a resident or business from reducing organic waste onsite or using organic waste for compost or for animal feed.
Like residential customers, commercial businesses will comply with most organic waste collection requirements by using their trash service, and material will be sorted at the materials recovery facilities. Some businesses in Placer have separate bins for certain materials, such as food waste, and those businesses will need to continue to participate in those programs, but there will be little changes for businesses to comply with new requirements.
Businesses should follow direction from county staff and their waste hauler if changes are required. Businesses may need to provide organic waste containers to employees, tenants, contractors and customers. SB 1383 also requires businesses to educate employees and tenants on proper compliance.
Commercial businesses that are identified as edible food generators will be required to recover and donate as much edible food as possible. Examples of these businesses include wholesale food vendors, large grocery stores, restaurants with seating over 250 and hotels with over 200 rooms. These businesses must enter into an agreement with a food recovery organization, such as a food bank, and maintain donation records.
The county is required to conduct inspections on commercial food generating businesses to ensure compliance of SB 1383. Inspections for businesses identified as edible food generators will take place during routine retail facility inspections already being conducted. Based on the estimated time required to satisfy inspection and education requirements of SB 1383, the county will be issuing a $103 annual fee to eligible businesses.
Learn more about how Placer is implementing SB 1383 at https://www.placer.ca.gov/SB1383.