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Meeting the Challenge: New Local Organic Waste Laws

Many state governments have adopted or are looking to adopt organic waste diversion and management legislation. APTIM experts can help you comply.

Organic waste, which includes materials such as yard clippings, paper, cardboard, and food waste, makes up more than 25-30 percent of our total waste stream. In the U.S., more than 60 million tons of food waste is produced each year, worth well over $160 million. When organic waste decomposes in landfills, it produces a tremendous amount of methane gas, a powerful “greenhouse gas” that traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S and a significant contribution to global climate change.

Policy leaders from many state governments have adopted or are looking to adopt organic waste diversion and management legislation to address the collection, diversion, and processing of organic waste to help fight climate change. California was one of the first states to adopt legislation to regulate commercial businesses, residential customers, and the collection and processing of organic waste. California’s Senate Bill 1383 went into effect on January 1, 2022, requiring residents and businesses to divert organic waste to support a statewide goal of 75 percent organic waste disposal reduction and a 20 percent edible food recovery goal by 2025. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont also have similar organic waste laws. Even at the municipal level, certain cities have expanded their organic waste diversion or curbside collection to advance their own zero-waste goals.

Most recently, on March 25, 2022, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed E2SHB-1799 into law, a bill to reduce organic waste in landfills. The law sets a target to reduce organic waste disposal by 75 percent by 2030 and increase the volume of edible food recovery by 20 percent by 2025, both relative to a 2015 baseline. The state law will take effect on January 1, 2027, requiring each jurisdiction to implement an organics management plan and provide collection services for all customers. Additionally, similar to California’s Assembly Bill 1826, Washington’s law will phase in compliance for large commercial customers beginning on January 1, 2024. Washington State is now the ninth state in the U.S. with laws or regulations that require diversion of food and yard waste from disposal.

These organic waste laws have created challenges for the hospitality industry, large public institutions, the food service industry, and the retail industry. Impacted businesses are required to subscribe to and participate in organics collection services; provide collection containers for employees, contractors, and customers; train and educate employees on diversion practice; and identify and implement edible food recovery partners for food donations. This can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process for any business to properly set-up, implement, monitor, and maintain for on-going compliance.

APTIM has experience implementing organics management programs, developing organics policies and procedures, identifying edible food recovery partners, and monitoring organics diversion performance. APTIM’s team of professionals understand the unique needs and challenges clients from a broad range of industries face when working to manage and minimize their organic waste and comply with evolving state and municipal regulations. Our experts understand that, particularly for food waste, prevention helps avoid organic waste from reaching landfills and precludes additional upstream emissions involved in food production, management, and transportation.

APTIM’s holistic and customizable waste services include:

  • Waste Characterization and Composition Studies
  • Data Management and Reporting
  • Project Planning and Design
  • Contract and Procurement Support
  • Solid Waste Planning and Development
  • Education and Outreach

Let our longstanding experience and expertise help you address your state’s organic waste laws and develop solutions to your complex waste challenges.

Contact:

Amy Martinez, CHMM, PMP, TRUE Advisor
Client Program Manager
Amy.Martinez@APTIM.com

Patti Toews
Sustainability and Waste Minimization Business Leader
Patti.Toews@APTIM.com

 

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