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Backyard vegetable garden. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Californians Composting For Climate Change

Are all Californians training to be organic farmers?

By Katy Grimes, January 3, 2022 2:13 am

California’s new mandatory composting law just took effect January 1, 2022. Yes, this is another mandatory climate change law, born out of California’s AB 32, the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act, which was born out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s claims that “global warming pollutants have risen to levels unseen in the past 800,000 years.”

Senate Bill 1383, authored in 2016 by then-Senator Ricardo Lara, now California’s State Insurance Commissioner, mandates that your “organic material” goes into separate bins from garbage, plastic and glass recyclables.

Here is Lara’s reason for the bill: “According to the author, ‘California has been a proud and bold leader in pursuing environmental policies to reduce climate change and address the sources that cause it. Those policies have mostly focused on reducing emissions of CO2, the most significant long-term driver of climate change. This strategy represents the next step in those efforts, to establish a goal to reduce short lived climate pollutants that are among the most harmful emissions to both human health and global climate change.'”

This new law, passed in 2016 but not effective until 1/1/2022, is a holdover from Lara’s time in the Legislature and not part of the spate of new environmental laws recently signed in October by Gov. Gavin Newsom designed to restrict use of plastic utensils, change recycling labels, limit exports of plastic waste, and even boosting individual composting. Those new laws will tax plastic forks, spoons and knives, all the while demanding they be recycled.

SB 1383 requires the California Air Resources Board to approve and begin implementing the comprehensive strategy to reduce “Short-lived climate pollutants”  in the state to achieve, from 2013 levels, a 40% reduction in methane, a 40% reduction in hydrofluorocarbon gases, and a 50% reduction in anthropogenic black carbon, by 2030.

It also “establishes a target of 50% reduction in the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75% reduction by 2025, and requires CalRecycle and ARB to adopt regulations to achieve the organic waste reduction targets,” bill analysis said. It’s still not clear how composting will reduce methane since one of the goals of composting in large amounts is to capture the natural gas from it – are we just moving composting from one location to your home?

What is “organic material?”

Senate Bill 1383 mandates that Californians separate unused food, coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels and other leftovers into bins they use for other “green” waste, including garden trimmings, lawn clippings and leaves.

Composting can be a benefit to you if you keep the compost and use to fertilize and improve the soil in your garden. And it is easy. However, government doesn’t need to tell us that, or mandate that local waste management companies issue us proper bins, and then pick up the kitchen garbage alongside our recyclables and other household garbage.

Most of the kitchen green waste can be easily composted and spread in the garden. You don’t need a victory garden to make use of your homegrown compost.

The EPA offers tips on composting:

Backyard Composting

  • Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.
  • Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.
  • Moisten dry materials as they are added.
  • Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.
  • Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.

They also offer a list of what is compostable, and what is not.

We don’t need the state government to legislate this, largely because compostable kitchen and yard waste garbage is not the problem in landfills.

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16 thoughts on “Californians Composting For Climate Change

  1. Ah the government to the rescue again. They just know so much more than we know and that is why they know what is so good for us. Here they are creating a problem because of a problem that DOES NOT EXIST! Climate change, global warming, global cooling, climate emergency, climate crisis, or whatever they are calling it this week is the biggest fairy tale since Mother Goose and Grim.

    1. Ha, ha yes CW!

      Quick funny story,
      In the 90’s my city offered composting boxes at wholesale prices to encourage everyone to compost to reduce waste. Being a young Mom and getting on the bandwagon, I purchased the box and started composting, throwing my daily scraps, turning it every week, having my boys do the same.
      Well one day, I go out to turn the box, as I am turning the scraps and they “move”on their own! I stop, get closer, look down and there are a few HUGE rats deep in the box! YIKES! I scream run away. That weekend my husband dismantled the box and I was done!!
      Remember rats bring disease.

      1. I’d like to reply to this but my skin won’t stop crawling enough for me to type more than a few words.
        EEW! 🙂

  2. I would assume everyone here took basic history and science. When I went to school we learned of this AMAZING thing called the earth rotating on its axis. When it rotates by the slightest degree we have what we call a change in the climate. For example; an area that used to get lots of snow, now does not have as much, but an area that got little snow for years now gets snow. It’s an amazing concept. Wildfires will happen when lightening strikes, a tornado will develop when the conditions are right, it’s going to rain, snow, sleet, or hail whenever mother nature feels the need. You can’t stop it, you live with it.

  3. I used to compost leaves and grass clippings but anyone that knows composting knows you don’t compost food. In the city you will have vermin but in rural areas you could get bears.

    1. Yes!
      Also organic material is needed to break down the other materials in the municipal garbage dumps.
      Again, the real science is not being followed.
      What does happen as you so well point out, another problem is created, such as an increase in vermin in your yard. If vector control suggest you do not leave pet food/water outside overnight then expect the same result for food waste.

  4. There is no problem that needs fixing here…. Watch for “carbon lockdowns” coming to your neighborhood soon…

  5. Um, no, composting food refuse ain’t happening here. I do think we’d all be better off not eating meat, but that should be a conscious, willful, individual choice, but that’s just me. But composting? How we gonna till with no gas-powered implements to work with? Oh, right, battery operated tillers…silly of me to ask.

  6. Gee, is that what the green barrel is for in the City of Los Angeles??? I’ve been disposing of green leafy, and other organic kitchen scraps as well as banana and orange peels in the green barrel for decades, in addition to grass clippings and used Christmas trees. Who woulda thunk it???

  7. This kind of government overreach reminds me of the Chinese Communist Party policy under Mao or Deng Xiapeng, as I recall, where each family was required to have a forge in their home to manufacture steel; ostensibly, to revolutionize the country’s steel industry. With everyone making steel for the state, of course, they ended up with a big quality control problem…crappy steel…DUUUH.

  8. Again… THIS is the most pressing problem confronting California???

    EVERYTHING else is taken care of and running fine???? Uh huh…..

    1. While in the meantime, our Climate Czar, John Kerry, is still flying on his private jet just to attend a birthday party like he did last August.

      Talk about total hypocrisy.

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