If you’re reading my column, you may have already heard about SB 1383 and the composting, recycling and landfill requirements that went into effect on January 1, 2022. If you haven’t heard of this new law, here are the basics.
— All people (homes, apartments, businesses, etc.) are now required to compost (i.e. diverting organic “waste” from landfills/garbage to compost carts).
— It is now “illegal” to dispose of compost or recycling in landfills/trash cans. Also, recycling carts and composting carts must not be contaminated with inappropriate materials.
— Restaurants where customers throw their stuff away must have all three bins.
— All carts must be color-coded. Recycle = blue. Landfill/garbage = black/grey; and manure = green!
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And the law imposes little-known requirements on jurisdictions like the city of Napa.
— To regularly check carts/bins for contamination.
— Flip the lid to see what’s inside and complete the cart audit.
— To complete waste segregation at our recycling and composting facilities (all commodities and landfills: cardboard, mixed paper, cartons, metal, etc.).
Why does the City of Napa have to do the above? We must demonstrate compliance and report it to California’s CalRecycle, StarFleet Command (in honor of Star Trek).
The industry was already preparing for this several years ago, working hard to invest in and modify equipment, including service vehicles, and to educate and outreach the “What Goes Where!” message.
Did you know that all our service trucks are equipped with 6 cameras, each of which captures video of a specific location – oncoming traffic, hidden spots, etc. These cameras help identify contamination in carts during service.
Our recycling is too polluted and needs to be cleaned.
These cameras also help us make sure we do our job:
— We have verified that your cart has been repaired or not.
— We can see if there are accidents on the road, whether we were involved or not.
— If hazardous waste causes a fire in a truck, the source can be identified.
Basically, you have evidence to know what’s going on in the field without being there. This is a win on so many levels.
I hate being such a realist, but the facts of the matter are: There is too much trash or compost in the recycling stream to monitor.
If buyers don’t want it because there’s too much stuff that doesn’t belong in the recycling stream and it’s too dirty, you lose points for recycling, so you need to educate everyone and provide outreach .
Its importance goes beyond being law. It also goes into the whole discussion of why you pay to put something through the sorting process and end up in landfills because it’s lost among so many other things that don’t belong.
So don’t be too upset if you see us snooping on your cart or get a contamination warning from the Napa Recycling Team. No landfill!
Questions or Concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kendra Bruno, aka Compost Girl, is a waste prevention expert for the City of Napa.