Edible Food Recovery

Senate Bill 1383 aims to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions via short-lived climate pollutants. In effect, it sets goals to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills. 

The goals are to: 

--Reduce organic waste disposal by 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025 ​

--Recover at least 20% of currently disposed surplus edible food by 2025 

Organic waste can be recycled or composted, and even utilized as a source of renewable energy. The City's waste hauler, South Tahoe Refuse, does a great job diverting paper, cardboard, green waste, and commercial food waste. Most other communities in California have a residential food waste collection program as well. However, due to our elevation and wildlife, South Lake Tahoe was granted a High Elevation Waiver for residential food waste collection. Those who want to see their kitchen waste composted can choose to put appropriate foods down the garbage disposal, where it is collected at South Tahoe Public Utility District and brought to a composter. Additionally, kitchen waste is collected every Wednesday at South Tahoe Refuse and composted. 

The City is working together with El Dorado County on the Edible Food Recovery mandate of SB1383. This means collecting and distributing edible food that would otherwise go to waste. The aim is to support businesses and suppliers to manage their surplus edible food, and ensure that it goes to food banks, soup kitchens, and other recovery organizations to help feed community members in need. 

Who is required to comply with the Edible Food Recovery mandate? 

Commercial edible food generators:

Tier 1 – Tier 1 businesses typically have more produce, fresh grocery, and shelf-stable foods to donate. Tier 1 includes:

Wholesale food vendors 

Food service providers

Food distributors

Grocery stores (greater than or equal to 10,000 sq. ft.) and supermarkets

All Tier 1 facilities should have received a Letter outlining the requirements

Tier 2 – Tier 2 businesses typically have more prepared foods to donate, which often require more careful handling to meet food safety requirements (e.g. time and temperature controls). Tier 2 includes:

Hotels with an on-site food facility and over 200 rooms

Restaurant facilities greater than or equal to 5,000 sq. ft. or with over 250 seats

Health facilities with on-site food facility and over 100 beds)

State agency cafeterias greater than 5,000 sq. ft. or with over 250 seats

Local education agencies with on-site food facility

Large venues and events

In addition, mandated food donors (Tier 1 & Tier 2 commercial edible food generators) are required to do the following in order to recover edible food before going to the waste landfill and be compliant with the law:

Establish Contracts and Written Agreements with Food Recovery Organizations and Services - To ensure that the maximum amount of edible food is recovered, mandated food donors are required to establish contracts or written agreements with food recovery organizations and services.

Recordkeeping - The law requires mandated food donors to maintain records of their food donation activities. 

Please see the El Dorado County Environmental Management webpage supporting SB1383. 

More information about SB 1383 and food donor requirements can be found on the CalRecycle webpage.

If you have questions, please reach out to Sara Letton, Sustainability Coordinator, sletton@cityofslt.us, 530-542-6175

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