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Climate and Environment

New State Rules Say LA Has To Spend Millions Collecting Food Waste. But Who Will Pay For That?

a pile of food scraps, including egg shells. lettuce leaves, oranges
Food Cycle Collective in Pomona composts an average of 1,300 pounds of food waste each week. Californians throw out nearly 6 million tons of food waste each year.
(Jessica Langlois for LAist)
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Rotting food in landfills produces a lot of methane — a nasty greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

To help combat that, a new law, SB 1383, went into effect on Jan. 1, requiring a massive 75% statewide reduction in organic waste by 2025.

Los Angeles plans to do its part by expanding local residential food waste collection from 18,000 customers to 750,000 by the end of the year.

But that's going to cost money, and Councilmember Paul Krekorian says that could mean "significant unfunded mandates on local governments."

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"We need to be mindful of the costs that this city is going to be assuming very soon because of these mandates," he said. "Either in the form of additional investments that need to be made for compliance or penalties that will be payable for non-compliance."

He's pushing for state financial support and says without it, either customers will see bigger bills or the city will take a substantial hit, in the $10s of millions or more, which might mean cuts to municipal services.

He adds: "Neither of those is a happy outcome."

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