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Assemblymember Williams Gets the Green Light on Yard Waste Composting

Assemblyman Das Williams

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed a bill authored by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), to eliminate the loophole that gives local governments recycling credit for landfilling trimmings and other green waste.  Assembly Bill (AB) 1594 now awaits a vote by the entire Assembly.

“Despite California’s robust recycling infrastructure for traditional recyclables like bottles and cans, the state continues to landfill organic materials, like yard trimmings, at an alarming rate,” said Williams.  “We need to stop incentivizing this polluting practice.”

Currently, landfill operators are required to apply a daily cover to their landfill. In most cases, yard trimmings are used as a cover because local governments get recycling credit. This counter incentive discourages actual recycling and returning the green waste to the soil through composting.

“The use of recovered yard trimmings and other green materials as alternative daily cover at California landfills is the largest single impediment to the development of robust composting industry in our state and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas production,” said Bill Camarillo, an executive committee member of the California Compost Coalition. “The expanded use of compost here will not only aid global warming efforts, but will enhance the quality of California soils through the introduction of organic matter, preventing soil erosion, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and enabling water retention at a time when we need it most.”

AB 1594 is also being described as a job creator. Cal Recycle has estimated that recovering the organic materials through composting and anaerobic digestion can create 14,000 new jobs in the State by 2020.

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