In a February 14 workshop on reducing short-lived climate pollutants, CalRecycle explained that biosolids and sludges are explicitly included in the proposed definition of organics to be diverted from landfills under recent legislation. SB 1383 calls for a 50% diversion of organics from landfills by 2020 and a 75% diversion rate by 2025 from 2014 levels, in an effort to reduce methane emissions from landfills. This first workshop was a high level introduction of concepts, definitions, and alternatives to be considered as CalRecycle works to draft regulations to achieve the requirements.

CASA’s Greg Kester expressed appreciation for CalRecycle’s commitment to collaborate, and stressed the need for alternatives if biosolids are included in an organics diversion requirement, particularly the barriers posed by restrictive local ordinances. CASA also emphasized several areas that should be considered during the process including infrastructure for co-digestion. CASA member Silicon Valley Clean Water also noted that their Energy Commission grant to pilot a food waste co-digestion system is in jeopardy due to restrictive permit requirements imposed by the Bay Area air district.

The workshop was the initial step in a multi-year process. The informal rulemaking process will be carried out during 2017, followed by a formal rulemaking process, with final regulations expected by the end of 2018 or early 2019.