The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Report is a meta-analysis of life cycle analyses of environmental attributes claimed by packaging and food serviceware manufacturers and released in late 2018. It has generated numerous discussions among the compost manufacturing community, including the USCC Legislative and Environmental Affairs (LEAC) Committee.
The LEAC was tasked with examining this document and determining if the USCC should respond, and if so, how. After several months of discussion, the consensus of the committee is that a direct response would be difficult and expensive, and an indirect approach is recommended to the Board of Directors.
Specifically, the LEAC is suggesting that the creation of a well-documented and thorough examination of all the benefits that composting and compost have to offer would be useful both as a tool for identifying the DEQ report’s omissions and for composting advocates (compost manufacturers, sustainability professionals, organics collectors, policy-makers, etc.) to use in promoting the growth of our industry.
Stay tuned for more information on this issue.
New York State’s legislature has passed a budget bill, A.2008-C/S.1508-C, the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act. Effective January 2022, any establishment generating more than two tons of food waste per week must separate material for donation and arrange for inedible scraps to be taken to an organics recycler within 25 miles. Temporary waivers will be granted by the state based on factors such as cost and distance. The general consensus is that this a good first step.
Maryland has released its final workgroup report on organics diversion. The workgroup was formed by legislative mandate. Compost advocates in the state have been awaiting the final report in hopes of a recommendation for a legislative diversion bill for organics. No bill has yet passed the Maryland General Assembly.
Find the report here.
The Colorado Composting Council is forming a stakeholder group to work on problems with contamination in incoming feedstock. If you’re in Colorado and interested in participating, email David Fridland.
AB144 is a bill being watched by the California compost community for a holistic approach to funding and resource management. The bill would require the Strategic Growth Council - a state government panel that reviews the sustainability aspects of activities and funding programs of state agencies to coordinate them to improve air and water quality, natural resource protection, meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and encourage sustainable land use planning, among other goals - to work on a scoping plan for the state to meet its organic waste, climate change and air quality mandates, goals and targets. It would also require the scoping plan to include, among other things, recommendations on policy and funding support for the beneficial reuse of organic waste.
The NJ Composting Council is working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to revise and expand the organic recycling activities that can be undertaken without a solid waste facility permit.
A bill in Washington State has been filed to ensure proper labelling of compostables: HB 1569. More states should be putting this legislation on the top of the agenda to help with contamination issues. California and Maryland have so far adopted requirements for compostable product labelling.
For reference to USCC’s model compostable labelling legislation, which can be used to develop legislation in your state, click here.