California’s Composting Laws

PASADENA, California– California’s Compost law, passed in January of 2022, calls for people and organizations throughout California “to separate organic material (mainly food scraps and yard waste) from other garbage”. This means that cities in California need to provide compostable waste bins and organic waste collection for all residents. 

This environmental law was established to reduce greenhouse gasses that form as a result when organic materials end up in landfills. Despite taking effect, awareness of the new composting expectations is minimal.

Out of 71 Mayfield students surveyed on whether they had heard or knew about the state’s law, nine responded yes and 18 people knew nothing at all. Forty-four of the respondents said they didn’t know of the new rules, but that they wanted to learn more. 

The dismal results are a clear sign that more outreach will be needed before the law goes into full effect in 2024.

Of the respondents, less than a one-third said their family currently composts a sign that even though there are impending requirements, there has been little follow-up in educating California residents on how they could compost. 

Other results from the poll found that only a quarter of those surveyed already compost. Over 50% of the respondents said they would like to learn how to compost, with 20% responding “I’m okay”. 

California’s law requiring composting is a great step in the right direction. When organic waste is put into landfills it is not able to decompose properly and releases methane gas that leads to global warming. Another exciting part about this law is that it will require some food service businesses to donate their extra food that they cannot sell. Many workers in restaurants have to throw away extra food like donuts or bagels that are still fully edible at the end of the day  because of corporate policy. Diverting food from probable waste to feeding some 23% of California’s population that is food insecure will be a big advance socially and environmentally.