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Emptying a home composting bin into an outdoor compost bin. (Photo: Electric Egg, Shutterstock)

The California Nanny State Invades Household Kitchens

At some point millions of Californians have to wake up and demand sanity from their legislators and bureaucrats

By Edward Ring, July 1, 2022 2:30 am

Unsurprisingly, every top search result for “Senate Bill 1383 food waste” yields links to propitious, upbeat summaries of what’s coming to every household kitchen in California.

For example, from CalRecycle, under the heading “Recycling Organic Materials into New Products,” there is a photo of two women in the kitchen, one of them preparing to dump a plate full of food scraps into a special new container. Both of them appear to be deliriously happy. From RethinkWaste, under “residents,” there is a photo of a smiling woman pouring “organics” out of her special kitchen collection bucket into the large “compost only” can that she will roll out to the curb.

Happiness, apparently, is intimately connected with reducing “short lived climate pollutants,” and so to further our collective happiness, the state is going to turn our kitchen scraps into “biogas” (good), before it can degrade and release methane (bad). How much biogas? How much methane? Compared to what? And at what cost?

Don’t ask. Be happy.

But as usual, our state lawmakers have abandoned common sense. As it is today, most people already either throw their banana peels and apple cores into a “green waste” bin, or pulverize them with the garbage disposal in their sink. But bones and meat scraps typically go into a trash can that’s lined with a plastic bag, which is tied off when it’s filled and dumped in a garbage bin. That’s sanitary. It’s also efficient.

Do people really want to pour every festering bit of scum scraped off their frying pans and every half gnawed chicken bone into a state-issued “organics” bucket that takes up space on their counter, then periodically empty that bucket into their compost bin which has previously only contained grass clippings and hedge cuttings? Who is going to clean up the smelly, putrescent dead animal fluids that will inevitably migrate to the bottom of these buckets and bins and accumulate, week after week? That’s unsanitary. It’s also an intrusive nuisance.

When you consider the new requirements as specified by SB 1383, what households already do ought to be good enough. Because these “organics,” i.e., garden waste enhanced with banana peels, half eaten ribs, bacon grease, chicken bones, etc., are now going to either be delivered to an “anaerobic digestion facility” that generates biogas, or they’ll continue to be delivered to existing composting facilities. Since California’s composting facilities are already well established, most of this modified waste stream will continue to be composted, and they will release greenhouse gas as they break down. As for the anaerobic digesters, they will need to be built at taxpayer expense and cannot possibly be built at sufficient scale to handle all of California’s residential yard waste and food scraps without spending hundreds of millions if not billions. They will then produce fabulously expensive biogas, which will then be burned to generate fabulously expensive energy, still releasing CO2 in the process.

At some point, millions of Californians have to wake up and demand sanity from their legislators and bureaucrats. If greenhouse gasses are truly an existential threat, and if the world is really going to be so impressed by California’s example that they emulate everything we do, can’t we at least still indulge in honest carbon accounting? How much energy will be expended constructing anaerobic digesters big enough to accommodate the garden clippings and kitchen waste of 40 million Californians? Can’t much of this methane from kitchen scraps just get harvested from existing landfills? And if not, what percentage of California’s total methane emissions come from household food scraps?

There might be legitimate answers to these questions. But then again, remember these are the same politicians who have regulated California’s timber industry nearly out of existence. If you’re serious about sequestering CO2, there is nothing more effective than lumber. California’s timber industry used to harvest 6 billion board feet of lumber per year as recently as the 1990s. Now California’s annual timber harvest is less than one-quarter that much. Instead of the CO2 embodied in harvested trees being sequestered as lumber, these unharvested, overcrowded and unhealthy trees burn like hell every summer. But let the forests burn, fouling the air year after year with more greenhouse gas than kitchen scraps from California’s households would emit in a hundred thousand years. Then blame it on climate change, instead of forest mismanagement, and use that to justify doing anything you want.

These are the politicians who are now coming into your kitchen.

Who Supported the Politicians That Sponsored SB 1383?

It is always useful to follow the money when evaluating legislation. After all, complying with SB 1383 will require more government spending. More government employees will need to be hired. More employees at every public waste management agency will need to be hired. So did government unions and unions representing government contractors – whose membership will grow thanks to SB 1383 – contribute to the campaigns of SB 1383’s sponsors in the state senate? Yes they did.

SB 1383 was passed in 2016 and is taking effect this year. The two main sponsors of the bill were Senators Benjamin Allen and Loni Hancock.

Allen is running for reelection this November. He has four donors so far who each gave the maximum $9,700 contribution. They are the California Teachers Association, the SEIU Small Contributor Committee, the SEIU Local 721, and the California Association of Realtors. Three out of four are unions. Back in 2014, when Allen was running for Senate, he had five donors that contributed what at that time was the maximum, $8,200. Along with the realtors, they were AFSCME, the California Association of Electrical Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the California State Council of Laborers, and the United Nurses Association. Four out of five were unions. And back in 2018, Allen’s campaign had six donors who contributed $8,800, the maximum in that year. They were four SEIU affiliates, along with the California Federation of Teachers and the State Building and Construction Trades Council. Six for six.

What about Loni Hancock? Hancock ran for reelection in 2012, before retiring in 2016 after co-sponsoring SB 1383 during her final session in the Senate. The maximum allowable contribution in 2012 was $7,800, and for that amount, Hancock had five donors. They were the IBEW Local No. 302, the Electrical Workers Local 595, AFSCME, the California Teachers Association, and the California Federation of Teachers. Five for five.

These maximum donations are indicative. On the links above that point to the contributions received by these politicians, download the spreadsheets and sort by amount. From the top down, the dominant source of contributions are either public sector unions or public sector contractors. Why the teachers union? How do they benefit? Because these public sector unions support each other. That’s why the firefighters union marched with the United Teachers of Los Angeles in January 2019, instead of using their political clout to lobby to revive the timber industry – which is the only practical way to dramatically reduce wildfires.

Loni Hancock was beholden to public sector unions for her political career. Benjamin Allen is beholden to public sector unions for his political career, as are scores of politicians that currently wield a supermajority in both houses of the California state legislature. What these unions want, these unions get. Their agenda, naturally enough, is more pay, more benefits, more hires, and more contracts. That agenda may or may not be in the interest of all Californians. Sometimes, it will reach right into your kitchen.

This isn’t just about food scraps. Climate change is a convenient excuse for politicians and their benefactors to profitably interfere with just about every activity we engage in that produces a scrap of greenhouse gas. Anywhere. Everywhere. No matter what the cost, or the inconvenience, our legislators are going to demand “mitigation.” They’ll claim it’s to save the planet. Only a cynical “denier” might think it’s actually just to create more jobs for public sector employees and contractors.

The tragedy is that intrusive, expensive schemes like this, of marginal if not counterproductive utility, are how taxpayer money is wasted in California, when there are practical and urgently needed public works – water supply projects come immediately to mind – that remain unfunded. Everyone, certainly including those union members and leaders who still care about this state, should think carefully about what they’re going to do next.

Meanwhile, and from now on, Californians are now compelled to periodically clean rotting, rancid, liquified detritus of food scraps from their compost buckets and bins. Be happy.

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26 thoughts on “The California Nanny State Invades Household Kitchens

  1. As a friend said to me when I told him about this law – “it just means that more things are going into the garbage disposal”.

    1. The plumbers union is gleefully rubbing their hands together at the anticipated future call volume….

      How about capturing all the CO2 from these mouth-breathing pols’ exhalations??? There’s more of that than bovine flatulence in this state…. most of it emanating from all those brain-dead FEELERS out of San Franfreakshow that feel compelled to save the world from itself, while the State (and their own CITY) crumbles around them…

      But the weather’s nice….

  2. And how are we supposed to clean these rotten, drinking bins? Hose them with water and allow it to run into storm drains. Ridiculous.

  3. Hey California, how do those shackles and chains feel around your neck, hands, and feet?

    Talking about what elected politicians did or do is one thing. The unelected slave masters at CalRecycle actually changed the definition of Organic Waste Generator from what the legislature wrote to make you all slaves, working for the gods of climate change without compensation. They did it behind your back.

    Now they are going to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to condition you into being good slaves. Hey, the plandemic mass formation worked, so why not keep it up?

    Not a single politician has made so much as a peep about CalRecycle usurping the power of the legislature to write law.

    When 40 million people are absolutely happy and content with their slavery, why should the few remaining freemen stick around?

    The old song, “California Here I Come,” is now “California Here I Go.”

  4. Appreciated this rather entertaining blowup as well as the follow-the-money research behind a prime example of the never-ending absurdity that at the very least ruins our day (every day) and at the most reminds us of the constant jackboot that always hovers above when not actively pressing down on our necks.

    I’m not doing this latest absurdity. I will not do it. Collecting fetid and bacteria-laden garbage juice on the kitchen sink or anywhere else in my house or even near it is definitely not on the checklist of how I have or will ever run my household. And it won’t matter, because as you have noted it is just another money-waste to support unions and politicians and special interests and bureaucrats, none of which I hold dear or want to support or actually want to spend one moment thinking about. Locally I have attended all of the meetings and spoken up against all of this nonsense. Nothing. Crickets. A waste of time with this crowd. A large coalition would send them into the fetal position, I suspect, but good luck getting a bunch of people who will stick for more than an hour or a day. And the bureaucrats and politicians know it.

    On the plus side, from threats of water police and Covid police to everything else one can think of, over time one observes and learns that it’s all hot air, a bunch of threats. Locally this stuff has killed my neighborhood cohesion and only empowered a bunch of totalitarian-lites and “E-2 cooks,” as my husband likes to say, referring to petty little insignificant people with a super-low-level military ranking who are on a power trip. The State of California definitely doesn’t have it together enough to enforce this “garbage.”

    Also on the plus side is that a completely annoying, stupid, and useless law like this one could very well be the last straw for many people, at least for the ones who even know about it in the first place.
    And then…..? Who knows? I sure as heck don’t.

    1. That’s what happens when we (supposedly) elect brain-dead FEELERS (and their cousins, “community organizers”) into legislators…

      Remove DVS (devious) voting systems and see what happens then….

  5. Disease outbreaks will follow which is no doubt all part of their plan. I suggest sending all your compost to Hair Gel.

  6. “At some point, millions of Californians have to wake up and demand sanity from their legislators and bureaucrats.” I have just about given up hope for that.

  7. “But as usual, our state lawmakers have NO common sense.”

    There, fixed it for ya….

    They DO however, have VERY DEVELOPED senses of VIRTUE-SIGNALING and IGNORING important topics like energy and water supply management, that actually require INTELLIGENT THOUGHT from SENTIENT LIFE-FORMS (are there any of those in Sacramento??? Maybe – Kiley & McClintock and a handful of others, but otherwise – nope… no signs of intelligent life there…)

  8. BUILD RESERVOIRS, NOT “anaerobic digesters”….. these people are so EFFING stupid….

  9. We live next to a greenbelt, one that is full of rats, mice, possums, skunks, racoons and yes, coyotes. There’s no way in hell we are going to put rotting animal matter in bins and place it on the curb overnight where it will attract all these critters. Say goodbye to your pet cats and dogs as your feted, rotting meat attracts more coyotes to your neighborhood. What a bunch of clueless urban morons.

  10. All this will do is attract rats which create disease. Corporations and the military bases will still be spewing toxic waste to poison our air, water, and soil. Zero carbon means zero humans. As for building using this money to build more water infrastructure, we already gave them the money, it didn’t get built.

  11. My wife started separating the organic materials a couple months ago. The stench and flies are awful. This is a real health hazard and those that voted for this idiotic idea should be held accountable.

  12. CalRecycle starts out with this gem of a lie. “California is now experiencing the effects of a climate crisis: hotter summers with world record-breaking temperatures, even more devastating fire seasons, more extreme droughts”.
    The actual DATA of the last 100 years or so, shows none of this is true. “Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the ‘truth'”

  13. There are many of us here in Kalifornia that do try to take a stand against the lunacy of those that hold office. These are people who were not legally voted in, but forced on us by the overwhelming numbers of the “public service” unions. So hey, let’s initiate another useless government bureaucracy and shove it down the publics’ throat creating another of many, many paid voting blocks. And when we the public vote no against any of these follies, they do a little tap dance with language and do it anyway. That and the fact that Kalifornia is infamous for it’s’ voter rolls leaves those of us hoping and praying for some sanity and relief from the tax burden we must support out in the wind.

  14. I will simply completely ignore this so-called “rule” and continue what I’ve always done, dump kitchen waste into the black container (usually in a separate trash bag, which keeps my kitchen trash can clean). It’s impossible for them to enforce it anyway. Who cares what they want?

  15. LISTEN UP! The one, single, solitary reason why these stupid laws keep popping up is because the authors are interested in one thing, and one thing only — to be able to attach their names to a piece of legislation that passed so they can say/show they “did something.” These people know the laws they write are stupid, unenforceable, unrealistic, etc., but they don’t care one bit. ALL that matters is that they have their name on something. That’s it! Nothing more! Campaign time: “look what an effective legislator I am, I enacted legislation that PASSED! Vote to re-elect ME!” It’s not about the law or making life better, it’s about the authors and their political careers. End of story, over and out.

  16. Imagine if you will, in 2022 we can’t water our lawns, can’t use electricity without penalty after 5:00, $7.00 gas. All because the world temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius in the last 140 years world wide. Wake up people

    1. And the Chinese industrial complex (to which our business “leaders” and their politician friends) have OUTSOURCED the majority of our manufacturing capability over the last 20 years, continues to spew its by-products into the atmosphere with impunity….
      And the same CCP leaders cut their checks to our California “legislators” who advocate for the Chinese-sourced rare-earth materials used to manufacture EV batteries and build the majority of the solar panels that are being advanced by these same California legislators….
      You know, like Eric Swalwell, who was BANGING a Chinese spy named “Fang Fang”, and our own senile, senior Senator, Diane Feinstein, who kept a Chinese spy as her personal driver for DECADES….
      California is basically FOR SALE to China, who want the Central Valley farmland to produce for their populace and helps explain why OUR reservoirs are being continually drained, to advance the economic WAR against California agribusiness and smaller family-owned farming and ranching outfits….
      WAKE UP, people – you’re being PLAYED as pawns in a globalist/Communist slow-motion takeover….

  17. those little plastic recycle containers are good for only one thing. THEY WILL HOLD A 6 PACK OF BEER
    The the fools that implemented S1383 will next establish the GARBAGE SQUAD AGENCY. Prowling the streets of our cities they seek out offenders. When offenders are found they will either be lobotomized or sent to a Eco Rehabilation Camp.

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