SB 1383 Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is the City of Arcata talking about organic waste, including food waste collection and composting?
The City of Arcata is required by the state to comply with Senate Bill 1383. This state law is an effort to reduce organic waste to the landfill by implementing organics waste collection services. According to CalRecycle, this law will reduce the impacts of climate change by creating the opportunity for organics to be recycled and used in another way instead of going to the landfill.
- What is Senate Bill 1383?
California Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) requires all residents and businesses to reduce organic waste (food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings) sent to the landfill. When organic waste decomposes in a landfill (anaerobic decomposition), it releases methane, a harmful gas that traps the sun’s heat and contributes to climate change. Recycling organic waste (aerobic decomposition) will release carbon dioxide instead, which is a far less potent greenhouse gas. By recycling organic waste, we can create compost or clean energy which will help reduce the impacts of climate change. Designated businesses that generate large amounts of surplus edible food will be required to have an edible food donation program.
- When will this law go into place?
The City of Arcata was required to come into compliance with SB 1383 on January 1st, 2023. The City of Arcata is currently collaborating with other jurisdictions in the region, as well as with CalRecycle to implement all requirements by creating a Compliance Action Plan. City of Arcata residents and businesses will receive more information in the coming months regarding compliance with SB 1383.
- When will curbside organics recycling collection service be required?
Organics recycling collection service by the City’s authorized collection contractor is expected to begin in 2024 or 2025.
- Am I required to compost?
Composting is not required but is a helpful tool for reducing the amount of waste generated. Composting is useful for in-home gardens and personal disposal of food waste and organic materials. When curbside collection of organic waste is offered, all of your food waste including meat/bones, dairy and soiled paper can be collected and processed. Home composters will continue to manage appropriate household organic waste through composting.
- How will this law help the environment?
Landfill gas created by anaerobically decomposing organic waste is a significant source of overall greenhouse gas emissions. This law helps California achieve its aggressive recycling & greenhouse gas emission goals by encouraging people to dispose of their waste in a less damaging way. This is because as food waste and organic materials decompose anaerobically, they produce methane which is a leading greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. On the other hand, when decomposing organic waste is aerated with oxygen it produces carbon dioxide, which is far less harmful, and can break down into compost (a useful soil additive).
- What are some ways I can reduce my organic garbage?
- One way to reduce food waste is by cutting down on the amount of food you buy. You can do this by meal prepping (planning the week’s meals), buying only the amount you need for one meal, using partially used vegetables and fruit first when making a meal (putting these in a clearly designated spot in your refrigerator in a clear container can help), repurpose leftover food such as vegetables and meat in sauces or soups. Freeze any extra food for a later date, especially meat, cheese and tofu.
- When evaluating your food waste, one viable solution is to consider donating extra food to food pantries, since this allows it to still be used and gives back to your community.
- Another strategy is to switch out disposable products for reusable ones. Such as using cloth napkins or towels instead of paper.
- Will my garbage and recycling service fee from Recology increase?
It is likely that your fee will increase in order for the City of Arcata to comply with this law. Residents will have bundled service for solid waste, recycling and organic waste, which will help reduce the additional costs of complying with SB 1383 requirements.
- How can I learn more about potentially increasing fees?
The City of Arcata anticipates noticing residents of proposed rate changes in 2023. All residents will receive a letter and have an option to provide input at an Arcata City Council meeting before new rates are adopted.
- What if my business/residence does not generate organic waste?
You may be surprised to learn that a large amount of trash qualifies as organic waste such as food scraps, napkins, yard trimmings and paper towels! Information about waivers and exemptions can be found in the City Ordinance 1560 regarding SB 1383.
- If I backyard compost or I use a community compost service, can I opt out of curbside organic service when it is available?
Backyard composting is great, but not all food scraps or organic waste can be composted in a backyard system. Residents will have to comply with the citywide organics recycling collection service that will be offered through an authorized collection contractor. Also, residents will have bundled service for solid waste, recycling, and organic waste, which will help keep the costs down for everyone.
- If a resident currently has a green waste bin, should they place food waste in the bin?
No, you should not place food waste or food soiled paper products in your current green waste bin. The city does not yet have food waste collection services. If you have a curbside bin for yard waste recycling at home, please continue to only place yard waste inside. This includes grass, leaves, branches, and other plant trimmings. City of Arcata residents will receive more information in the coming months regarding compliance with SB 1383 and how to comply with the organics waste collection service that is expected to begin in 2024 or 2025.
- Can businesses or residents provide their own curbside containers for organics collection at a discounted cost?
No, the authorized collection contractor must provide curbside containers to businesses/residents. Containers provided by the businesses/residents themselves for collection at the curb would not comply with the regulations.
- What do food-soiled/paper-based items include?
Food soiled/paper-based items include items such as tea bags, used napkins/paper towels, paper plates, cupcake/muffin liners, coffee filters, and pizza boxes.
- Where can I find out what belongs in my current garbage, recycling or green waste bins?
Recology is a great resource for what belongs in each respective disposal bin. Recology’s WhatBin website is a helpful tool in determining what items go in each bin. Once more information regarding organic waste collection services is developed, this website will be updated for users to determine what items go in the organics waste collection bin.
- I have more questions about Senate Bill 1383 and organics waste collection…
You can contact the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department by phone at (707) 822-8184 and/or email at email@example.com.