New Law Turbocharges Food Recovery
December 17, 2020
Food waste is a massive contributor to the climate crisis:
- If global food waste were a country, it would rank third in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after the U.S. and China
- Its contribution to global warming is almost equivalent (87%) to global road transport emissions
- In North Bay Area cities, food accounts for nearly 20% of the GHG footprint in the average household
Yet the problem of food waste also creates an enormous and exciting opportunity. According to the international research project Drawdown, reducing food waste is the most impactful solution to global warming. Why? A key reason is rising from food rotting in our landfills: methane. Methane is a Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) with 86 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. According to California’s Air Resources Board, reducing SLCPs like methane is “the only way to immediately slow global warming.” At ExtraFood, we believe reducing food waste at work and at home is the easiest way to make the quickest impact on the climate crisis. And that effort is about to get a big boost.
The State of California passed a landmark law, SB1383, that requires at least 20% of all currently-disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025. No other government in the world has created SB1383’s legal mandate to recover edible food previously sent to landfills and give it to people in need. Starting on January 1, 2022, enforcement by county and city governments, along with penalties, begins. Starting immediately in 2021, our government and waste-management partners will be joining ExtraFood in ramping up our collective work to educate businesses and schools about the necessity -- and benefits -- of donating their excess food. Beyond compliance with the law, there are indeed benefits of donating food to ExtraFood:
- Saving money on disposal and recycling fees: our county-wide food recovery program is a free service, 7/365
- Saving money via federal and state tax incentives
- Most of all, sharing some of the highest-quality food in the world with the most vulnerable children, seniors, and families in our community
More than 275 organizations in Marin have donated over 4,000,000 pounds of fresh food to ExtraFood thus far. By keeping excess food out of the landfill, our work has prevented more than 350,000 pounds of methane from warming our planet -- equivalent to eliminating the emissions from 10 million passenger miles driven in a year. We’re leading a movement to transform Marin’s food system -- join us!