Monday, 25 January 2021

Assembly Committee approves compost legislation

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources has approved a bill (SB 697) by North Coast State Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) to expand an existing requirement for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to use compost in the state's highway landscape maintenance program.

“Requiring CalTrans to buy and use California’s compost will help create new markets and expand existing ones,” Wiggins said in her testimony before the committee this afternoon. “This bill also assists the state in reducing the amount of waste being disposed of in landfills, and assists the state in meeting the diversion requirements established by the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

“Compost is an effective erosion control and it provides the same benefits as chemical products without the dangers of polluting,” she added.

If approved by the full Assembly and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senate Bill 697 will mark the first step toward assuring that the state is utilizing existing resources and is effectively recycling compost in an efficient and environmentally sound way.

In addition to erosion control, compost provides a savings of construction expenditures due to quicker vegetation establishment, a savings of future maintenance expenditures due to erosion avoidance, and the opportunity for Caltrans to be seen as a partner in the statewide waste reduction effort.

Compost is the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic material, and can improve soil quality and vegetation, provide erosion control, minimize storm water runoff, and conserve water.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board estimates that organic materials comprise 30% of disposed materials in landfills.


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