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Tuolumne County And Sonora To Seek Food Waste Law Exemptions

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Sonora, CA — California is implementing a new mandatory food waste recycling law next year that will impact homes and businesses.

It is one of the latest efforts approved by state lawmakers to reduce pollutants.

Senate Bill 1383 is designed to keep food out of landfills. State leaders argue that food scraps and other organic materials emit high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane.

Cities and counties will be required to collect food waste in separate bins and put together the infrastructure to process the waste and find a beneficial use for it. State officials say it could be composted or used to create the energy source biogas, which is similar to natural gas. However, smaller cities and counties can request exemptions during the early years. The more urban areas have a larger customer base and can spread out the implementation costs.

Speaking before the Sonora City Council this week, Jim McHargue, Tuolumne County’s Solid Waste Director, stated, “SB 1383 is significant and the most landmark regulation CAL Recycle has been involved with in about 40 years.”

Both the City of Sonora and Tuolumne County are moving forward with plans to seek early exemptions.

McHargue said costs to eventually implement the program could be significant because it will impact all homes and businesses. Adding, “The infrastructure and the markets (to later sell the waste for other uses) just aren’t where the regulation is.”

The State of California reports the law aims to reduce organic waste in landfills by 75-percent by 2025.