The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Recycling Food Waste - New Year's Resolution - AB 1103


Recycling Food Waste - New Year's Resolution- AB 1103

My New Year’s Resolution: Recycling Food Waste

By Assemblyman Bill Dodd

As we embark on a new year, it’s a great time to reflect on our accomplishments over the last 12 months and also set goals for the upcoming year. In 2015 we made some meaningful progress on critical issues from investing in education, to strengthening our economy, to protecting our environment. However, there is still much to do, and one area of critical importance is reducing and diverting food waste from our landfills.

Each year in the U.S. over 35 million tons of food waste is produced, and very little – only about five percent of that waste – is diverted from landfills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food waste accounts for more of our waste stream than any other single source, and once in landfills, it breaks down to create methane, which is a problematic greenhouse gas. That’s why this new year I’m committed to help reduce and reuse our state’s food waste.

 California recently set the bold goal to divert nearly all of our organic waste from landfills in the next decade. Food waste accounts for around 50 percent of all organic waste, and our ability to reduce and better utilize our food waste is key to providing a more sustainable future. To accomplish this goal, we will need to divert food waste from landfills and instead create compost that will enrich soil, save water, and improve our food yields. Recycling food waste is also proving to be a cost effective way to reduce methane releases that contribute to climate change.

This year, I have authored AB 1103 to account for and quantify our efforts to recycle food scraps. AB 1103 outlines a simple registration and reporting system for transporters of food waste destined for landfills or recycling. History tells us that unless we properly account and keep track of our resources, we will squander them.  Collecting data on the production, movement and transformation of products in our waste stream is essential to managing the costs of recycling programs and maximizing benefits.

 With an organized manner of processing food waste we can help reduce costs and also encouraging markets to recycle and use this valuable resource. Today farmers and food processors are already applying food scraps and excess production to their land. This creates better soil, conserving water and energy, and increasing food outputs. However, as California has grown to nearly 39 million people, there is much more me we can and must do to better account for and manage our food waste.

AB 1103’s proposed measuring standards will be essential in determining the amount of food waste we recycle, the products produced and the cost of that production. Knowing the inputs will help us better judge the outputs of reduced greenhouse gases, water conserved, energy generated and new food produced. In the end, recycling food waste will prove to be one of the most cost effective ways to eliminate greenhouse gases. For the sake of our economy, our environment, and future generations, this is one new year’s resolutions we can’t afford to give up on.

Assemblymember Bill Dodd represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Yolo and Colusa Counties. You can learn more about AB 1103  and food waste at