AB (Assembly Bill) 939, California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989  This act repealed the majority of the code regulating solid waste management and provisions of the Health and Safety Code related to garbage and refuse disposal. Among other provisions, AB 939 established the six-member California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), and required each city or county plan to include implementation schedules for diversion -through source reduction, recycling, and composting activities - of 25% percent of all solid waste from landfill or transformation facilities by January 1, 1995 and 50% by January 1, 2000. It also “established a comprehensive statewide system of permitting, inspections, enforcement, and maintenance for solid waste facilities,” and required “that state planning, implementation and operating costs be funded by a fee collected by every operator of a solid waste landfill and paid quarterly to the Board of Equalization, based on all solid waste disposed of at each disposal site, after 1/1/90.”

AB 341, Mandatory Commercial Recycling  California’s ambitious drive toward a 75 percent reduction in the amount of waste going to landfills by the year 2020, will be achieved through source reduction, recycling, and composting. Attaining this goal will require diverting up to 22 million tons of waste from California landfills annually. Infrastructure required to achieve this translates into a multitude of new businesses, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

AB 1826 - Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling  Introduced by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro, requires the state’s commercial sector, including restaurants, supermarkets, large venues and food processors, to separate their food scraps and yard trimmings and arrange for organics recycling service. Compliance will be phased in, starting in 2016 with the largest generators of food waste. AB 1826 builds on the success of the mandatory commercial recycling program established by AB 341.

- Commencing April 1, 2016, businesses that generate 8 cy or more a week must source separate food scraps and yard trimmings and arrange for recycling services for that organic waste in a specified manner.

- On January 1, 2017, businesses generating 4 cy or more per week of organics are also subject to the diversion requirement.

- The bill also requires a business that generates 4 cy or more of commercial solid waste per week, on and after January 1, 2019, to arrange for organic waste recycling services and, if CalRecycle makes a specified determination, would decrease that amount to 2 cy, on or after January 1, 2020.

AB 1594, Compostable Organics Management  Commencing on January 1, 2020, use of green material, as defined, as alternative daily cover (ADC) does not constitute diversion through recycling and would be considered disposal for purposes of compliance with California’s mandated 50 percent diversion from disposal (required by AB 939, California’s source reduction and recycling law). 

The Governor’s 2015-2016 Healthy Soils Initiative  Recognizes the important nexus between composting (and waste diversion), soil health, water, and climate change.  Applying compost to soil ultimately increases the soil carbon content and results in overall net sequestration of atmospheric carbon into the soil and plant substrate.

“…as the leading agricultural state in the nation, it is important for California’s soils to be sustainable and resilient to climate change. Increased carbon in soils is responsible for numerous benefits including increased water holding capacity, increased crop yields and decreased sediment erosion. In the upcoming year, the Administration will work on several new initiatives to increase carbon in soil and establish long term goals for carbon levels in all California’s agricultural soils."

CA Air Resources Board Draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy  Identifies methane emissions associated with landfill disposal of organics as a major source of short-lived climate pollutants, or SLCPs. “For landfills, ARB will work with CalRecycle to develop a regulation by 2018 to progress towards existing State targets for landfill diversion by 2020, and effectively eliminate organics disposal in landfills by 2025.” Diverting organic materials from landfills through composting will sequester more carbon in the soil and reduce what’s released into the atmosphere.

AB 551, Local Government: Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones (UAIZ)  The UAIZ act intends to increase the use of privately owned, vacant lands for urban agricultural uses. It also establishes a mechanism to incentivize landowners to lease their vacant land for urban agriculture for at least five years through lower property tax incentives. Urban agriculture provides many benefits to residents and the surrounding community including access to fresh, nutritious foods, education opportunities, green spaces, recreation, community-building and placemaking. Urban agriculture provides the opportunity to convert underutilized, potentially blighted lots to vibrant assets contributing to safer communities.

SB (Senate Bill) 1383  Establishes “methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). SB 1383 establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction of disposed organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The law also establishes a target that not less than 20 percent of disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption by 2025. The law grants CalRecycle the regulatory authority required to meet the organic waste disposal reduction targets.

AB 1045, Organic Waste - Composting   Requires the California Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with CalRecycle, the State Water Resources Control Board, the State Air Resources Board, and the Department of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement policies to aid in diverting organic waste from landfills by promoting the composting of specified organic waste and by promoting the appropriate use of that compost throughout the state. In short, this bill requires coordination of policies and regulations to cut red tape associated with conflicts amongst the agencies.

AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006  Creates a comprehensive, multi-year program to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 (and recently proposed target of removing all organics from California landfills by 2025). AB 32 requires that the Air Resources Board (ARB) develop GHG reduction strategies that do not interfere with existing air pollution control measures. The AB 32 Scoping Plan contains the main strategies California will use to reduce the GHGs that cause climate change. The Scoping Plan (Measure No. RW-3) commits ARB staff to work with CalRecycle, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, and others to provide direct incentives for the use of compost in agriculture and landscaping.

These “direct incentives” will include funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), which was established in 2012 by AB 1532, SB 535, and SB 1018. The GGRF receives Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds that are appropriated by the Legislature and Governor for projects that support the goals of AB 32.

AB 876 (Organics Management Infrastructure Planning)  Requires cities and counties to plan for organics processing facilities that can process organics diverted from landfills and organics generators. AB 876 “requires each city and county to assess the infrastructure necessary for implementing their commercial organics recycling programs”

Counties and regional agencies are required to report the estimated amount of organic discards in cubic yards that will be disposed by the county or region over a 15-year period, an estimate of additional organic material recycling facility capacity required to process the estimated amount of organic discards generated, and identify areas for new or expanded processing facilities.