Tuesday, 07 February 2023

Legislature sends waste diversion bill to governor

SACRAMENTO – The California Legislature has approved SB 1016, a bill by Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) designed to provide a more accurate assessment of waste diversion efforts by cities and counties.


As a result, the bill next heads to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his consideration.


Existing law (the California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989) required cities and counties to divert 25 percent of their solid waste from landfill disposal or transformation (through source reduction, recycling and composting activities) by Jan. 1, 1995 – and to divert 50 percent of their solid waste after Jan. 1, 2000.


The law also requires each city, county, or regional agency to submit annual reports to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) summarizing their progress in reducing solid waste, and requires those reports to include calculations of annual disposal reduction, information on changes in waste generated or disposed, progress in diverting construction and demolition waste material.


Wiggins, who was a member of the CIWMB prior to her election to the Senate in 2006, said SB 1016 shifts the focus, from 50 percent diversion to 50 percent disposal reduction, of the current requirement that a local jurisdiction reduce its solid waste disposal over what it would have been given local growth factors.


“The benefits of moving to a disposal-based system include increased timeliness and accuracy, and a streamlining of the review process by allowing jurisdictions that are in compliance to be reviewed every four years instead of every two,” Wiggins said.


According to the CIWMB, California diverted more than 46 million tons of solid waste away from landfills into recycling, composting and transformation programs in 2005, for an estimated statewide diversion rate of 52 percent.


Diversion has increased nine-fold since the Integrated Waste Management Act was passed in 1989. The CIWMB notes that almost 70 percent of jurisdictions have received approval for their diversion rates while 30 percent have either been granted a time extension or are on compliance orders.


Among other things, the Wiggins bill:


  • Requires that beginning Jan. 1, 2009, CIWMB will determine compliance with the diversion goals established by the 1989 act by comparing each jurisdiction's "per capita disposal rate" with the jurisdiction's "50 percent percent equivalent" per capital disposal rate on Jan. 1, 2007;

  • Specifies that CIWMB consider the per capita disposal rate when determining compliance with the act (but also that the rate is not the only factor). Also requires the waste management board to evaluate the need for a review of a jurisdiction's program implementation should the rate exceed the 50 percent equivalent;

  • Authorizes CIWMB to use an alternative per capita factor for developing the per capita disposal rate if a representative rate cannot be determined using the specified factors;

  • Specifies how CIWMB determines the 50 percent equivalent disposal rate using years 2003-2007 waste generation information;

  • Retains the waste management board's authority to establish an alternative per capita disposal rate for rural jurisdictions;

  • Revises the 10 percent diversion "credit" for transformation to reflect the per capita disposal rate.


“SB 1016 creates a paradigm shift in the way California will identify its waste stream in the future by measuring disposal, because it is a real number that can be decreased with greater implementation of diversion programs,” Wiggins said. My goal is to ensure that recycling, reuse and reduction are the guiding principles of California’s future integrated waste management plan.”


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