CALIFORNIA—On October 7, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a proposal that would reduce oils and natural gasses emitted into the California’s atmosphere. After battling and losing to legislature over the issue of reducing gasoline consumption, Brown implemented an alternative plan to slow climate change—fighting California’s overflowing landfill crisis with a signed bill that requires that at least 75 percent of waste materials from food be recycled by the year 2020.
With the new proposal, apartment renters face a new set of challenges. Many apartment complexes do not offer recycling accommodations. As a result, Governor Brown took initiative in 2011 to assist apartment renters with recycling services provided for paper, plastic and cans in the “Renter’s Right to Recycle” bill.
California is in a state of flux when it comes figuring out the best ways to process waste so that it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, an atmospheric condition which creates a warming of the earth’s atmosphere. Organic materials, such as food, tend to release methane gases when they break down. Methane is “a very potent pollutant,” according to California Against Waste Lobbyist Nick Lapis. The state of California hopes to make landfills as food-free as possible.
The California Air Resources Board has already pushed forward the idea of stopping the disposal of all organic waste by 2025. In the new proposed law, new processing facilities will have to be built. Cities will also be provided with the right information to educate their populations about collecting and sorting the trash before the new law comes into effect.
Some California residents are concerned about the idea of collecting food waste because of the pests and bugs that it attracts, as well as the caustic gases it produces. One way to solve this problem is to create smaller heaps of trash. By reducing the size of garbage, the reduced amount of methane produced (hopefully reaching 1990 levels) will impact the atmosphere for the better, according to the California Air Resources Board.
According to Tim Dewey-Mattia, recycling and public relations manager of Napa Recycling & Waste Services of Napa Valley, California, “NRWS is committed to making the planet and our community a cleaner & greener place…The state of California passed a new mandatory commercial recycling program that requires all business in California to increase their diversion rate to 75 percent by 2020,” Dewey-Mattia says. “Napa is well ahead of the schedule.” Within a decade, the new law aims to create a positive climate change for the state of California.
Davis, California has also begun to push forth efforts to change, encouraging community members to separate their food waste, starting in 2016.
According to Tom Steyer, President and Founder of environmental advocacy organization NextGen Climate, “California has long been a leader when it comes to tacking climate change—spearheading some of the nation’s most groundbreaking climate change solutions and energy efficiency laws.”