Article News from the Institute for the Local Government by Nicole Enright

Scrap Your Fears About Food Waste Regulations: Preparing for SB 1383

Nicole Enright is associate program manager for the Institute for Local Government and can be reached at

California cities are preparing to comply with SB 1383 (Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), which sets new targets to reduce statewide emissions of short-lived climate pollutants and reduce organic waste in landfills. To help cities achieve these reductions, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) is partnering with the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to raise the awareness of these targets and connect local governments to the resources and expertise necessary to deploy effective programming.

CalRecycle and ILG are hosting a solutions-based session at the League’s Public Works Officers’ Institute and Expo in March. The session, “Scrap Your Fears About Food Waste Regulations: Preparing for SB 1383,” will cover:

  • The impact of SB 1383 regulations on city services;
  • Promising practices and lessons learned about how to develop, create and implement programs; and
  • Practical examples of how to take immediate action to reduce organic waste and meet statewide targets.

Through its Sustainability Program, ILG is also partnering with two cities that are making tremendous strides to proactively manage organic waste.

Colton Works With Businesses to Divert Organic Waste

In anticipation of SB 1383 targets, the City of Colton (pop. 54,391) in San Bernardino County launched a partnership with its contract waste hauler to divert organic waste from businesses to an anaerobic digester that produces natural gas. Leveraging existing relationships through the energy and enthusiasm of the city’s new recycling coordinator and its community sustainability partners program with local businesses, Colton enrolled 106 commercial businesses in organics recycling as of December 2019. This effort diverts 16,560 gallons of food and green waste per month and has substantially reduced the city’s waste since the program began in 2018.

Colton plans to engage its residents in recycling and composting education in anticipation of launching a new curbside residential trash can program, which will collect organics in one combined green waste bin.

The City of Colton is taking meaningful action to plan for a more vibrant future in a way that makes sense for its community, and the city is one of ILG’s 2019 Beacon Sustainability Best Practices Spotlight Award winners.

Learn more about Colton’s efforts at

Bakersfield Leads the Way on Composting

With 20 years of experience in composting high-volume food waste, the City of Bakersfield (pop. 389,211) in Kern County is the largest public composter in California, processing over 60,000 tons annually. City operations accept organics from commercial businesses throughout the county in a system designed to separate plastic bags, reduce barriers to participation and increase the amount of landfill diversion tenfold while producing viable compost that is sold to nearby orchards and vineyards.

Seeking in advance of SB 1383 to reduce emissions and water usage associated with composting operations, Bakersfield partnered with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to switch to electric conveyors and the use of electric blowers to induce airflow through the covered compost piles. This innovative method produces an increased volume of high-quality compost for use by the agricultural industry and reduces emissions at the facility.

Learn more about Bakersfield’s programming at

Upcoming Session Helps Cities Navigate Challenges

Cities such as Bakersfield and Colton offer promising examples of proactive approaches to meet organic waste recycling requirements and develop more sustainable communities, but even the most advanced cities anticipate facing challenges as SB 1383 targets take effect. Join ILG at the Public Works Officers’ Institute & Expo, March 18–20 in Monterey, to connect with state and industry leaders on this important topic.

Related Resources

What Cities Need to Know About SB 1383 and Funding Organic Waste Management

ILG Recycling Resource Center:

ILG Sustainability Best Practices Framework: