September 22, 2020

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Restaurants, Grocers, Farmers – Hard-Hit by COVID-19 – Blast Legislation That Would Drive Up Food Costs, Upend CA’s Organic Food Waste Recycling Efforts

Californians for Smarter Recycling Say Assembly Bill 2959 Would Defy EPA Recycling Guidance While Adding Costly New Regulations

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Californians for Smarter Recycling — a coalition of California restaurateurs, grocers and farmers — today announced their opposition to Assembly Bill 2959, legislation they say would result in more greenhouse gas-causing food waste being dumped into landfills rather than the EPA-recommended uses for human and animal consumption.

The California Restaurant Association, California Grocers Association, California Retailers Association, California Farm Bureau, California Cattlemen’s Association, and Western United Dairies said they would work together to defeat the bill. They say the bill would change regulations and add costs to 1.8 million businesses already being hard hit by COVID-19. They join biomass-based biodiesel producers and other small business opponents of the bill, which will be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee when the Senate reconvenes.

The legislation, authored by Assemblymember Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), would allow communities to force businesses to shift the way they dispose of the food waste by requiring them to use only large franchise haulers that typically utilize the waste for composting or send it to landfills. Currently, many restaurants, grocers and retailers send food waste to farms for animal feed by using independent waste haulers that specialize in food waste-to-farm operations.

The bill’s opponents note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prioritizes food waste for animal feed rather than composting or landfill disposal. Food waste is a large contributor of greenhouse gases, with some estimating it is responsible for 10 percent of all carbon emissions.

“In a time when agriculture’s limits have been tested amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s more important now than ever that the State ensure our communities have access to healthy, sustainable and abundant food and fiber,” wrote the coalition in a letter to committee chairman Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). “To ensure we achieve our lofty goals, we must strive for policies that are multi-beneficial. Sourcing domestic livestock feed from readily available organic material in state has the benefit of diverting organic waste to its highest and best use, lowering costs for producers and reducing potential climate impacts. This is a win-win-win. The provisions of AB 2959 will not allow California to achieve these successes.

“The changes in AB 2959 will disrupt relationships between byproduct producers and agriculturalists that have functioned efficiently for decades. The consequence of the removal of these once locally provided nutrients will mean livestock producers must depend on virgin, imported, and increasingly expensive feed,” they continued. “This will result in greater greenhouse gas emissions, counter to the State’s climate goals, and increase costs on both generators of these byproducts and ranchers for no discernable public benefit.”

For further updates, follow the Coalition for Smarter Recycling at its Twitter account, @StopAB2959.

Contacts

Steven Maviglio, Forza Communications, 916-607-8340

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