The State of the Compost
My Fellow Composters . . .
The State of the Compost is Healthy.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order enlisting California’s vast network of natural and working lands in the fight against climate change and budgeted $30 million to the Healthy Soils Initiative. Project Drawdown released the Study, “Farming Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis”, where it was concluded that our land use and agricultural practices can be changed — using “regenerative” style techniques, and others — to create temporary carbon sinks on land and achieve statewide carbon neutrality by 2045.
The State of the Compost is Carbon Negative.
Lawrence Livermore Lab released a January 2020 report, “Getting to Neutral – Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California”, which featured natural solutions where compost and biochar are sequestered into soils and are carbon negative, leading to carbon neutrality by 2045.
The State of the Compost is Cost-Effective.
Lawrence Livermore Lab reported compost and biochar use as the most cost-effective GHG reduction program. CalRecycle continues to lead the way with one of the most cost-effective programs under the Cap-and-Trade program at just $44 per ton of GHG reduced for the Organic Infrastructure Grants with 83% of the money benefiting priority populations. CalRecycle loans for the recycling infrastructure are the most cost-effective at $4 to $11 per ton.
The State of the Compost has Capacity.
Facilities have approximately 4 million tons of processing capacity remaining. This available capacity remains concentrated in Southern California. Up to 14 million new tons of organics need to be diverted statewide to meet the 2025 diversion mandate. About 68% of composting and anaerobic digestion facilities have no plans to expand. Those facilities which are planning on expanding cited increased processing contracts as the primary reason for growth.
The State of the Compost provides Job Creation.
To combat climate change, successfully implementing a statewide SB 1383 organics recycling program will close the loop by recognizing the greater value of turning organic waste into new organic products while creating 2,000 permanent jobs in the state.
The State of the Compost needs new Contracts. Capital expenditures could range from $2 to $3 billion with operations and management costing $4 to 8 billion. The monthly cost increase per an average business could range from $70 to $90 per month, or $200 per month more for a 4 cubic yard bin. The average potential rate impact to single family households was expected to be $3 to $5 per month, or about $9 per month including China Sword impacts on recycling markets.
The State of the Compost is Underfunded.
The $227.2 billion proposed 2021-2022 budget offers a fiscal blueprint that provides funding for immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts. When it comes to funding edible food recovery, composting, anaerobic digestion, there is little funding. Without any Cap-and-Trade revenue, CalRecycle will embark on an evaluation of existing program grants, loans, and payments to identify opportunities to better align with a circular economy approach, combat climate change, and support economic recovery which could lead to landfill tip fee reform for some real money. A tip fee increase of $10 per ton from the 1993 amount of $1.40 per ton could raise $400 million per year to fund local capacity.
The State of the Compost is Bullish.
An SB 1383 supply push, coupled with new contracts and available capacity, compost and recycling development should be the centerpiece of the circular economy to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gases while promoting healthy soils, but remains undervalued and underfunded.
We ask not what more the Composters can do for the State to battle climate change, but we ask the State to fund their mandates to fulfill our common destiny.