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Spring 2020


 

Numerous State Bills Introduced, Left on the Table by COVID19 Closures?

 

The USCC’s Legislative and Environmental Affairs Committee recommended USCC support of a plethora of compost-related bills in upcoming legislative sessions, although many statehouses are adjourning without completing business due to coronavirus concerns.

Here's a roundup on what the committee talked about:

Colorado

HP20/1047: Develop A Statewide Organics Management Plan

This bill, which the Colorado Composting Council has been advocating for the past year, passed the Colorado House and has been referred to the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. Normally the Colorado House adjourns in May. (photo-the Colorado Composting Council)

Connecticut

Bill 298: An Act Concerning Food Waste Diversion and Anaerobic Digestion Facilities

This bill adds requirements to 2014 legislation requiring diversion of food waste; that as of January 1, 2021, the state would run a voluntary pilot program for any municipality that seeks to source-separate organic materials. The legislation defined "compostable bag" as a bag intended for a single use by a consumer that is composed only of vegetable matter and decomposes by bacteria or other living organisms into carbon dioxide, water and organic compounds at a rate consistent 47 with known compostable materials.

Committee members were puzzled by the “vegetable matter” composition requirement and approved a letter from the USCC suggesting that it be amended to “For purposes of this section, "compostable bag" means a bag certified as meeting ASTM compostability standards D6400 or D6868 through a third party certification program.” (This position was echoed by many others who testified on the bill.)

No action had yet been taken after a public hearing on March 6; the Capitol is closed until March 29. The Connecticut General Assembly Session ends in May.

New Jersey

AB2371: After a long year of working to have this bill – amended last year to include incineration and remove composting—revived in a better form, the New Jersey Composting Council celebrated in March when AB2371 cleared the Senate in a version that supports food waste diversion and composting. In the words of the chapter on March 5:

“As this bill goes to the Governor's desk for signing we want to highlight that in addition to requiring large food waste generators to recycle this bill will: 

  • Create a Food Waste Recycling Market Development Council to provide recommendations on how to increase demand for products and energy generated by food waste recycling facilities
  • Require state departments or agencies that engage in landscaping or construction to use compost, mulch or other soil amendments generated from recycling of organic materials where competitively priced and feasible; and
  • Provide a financial incentive for energy generated at a food waste recycling facility by giving the facility a “class I renewable energy certificate” which in turn can be sold on an open market or to energy suppliers and can be used by energy suppliers to meet renewable energy portfolio requirements.

Many senators rose today to ensure that environmental justice is considered as the organics industry expands investments in Green jobs and facilities within the state. We support that goal and hope to work with them to make that a reality.”

USCC’s 2019 letter of support is here.

Virginia

Virginia Composting Council members have been meeting with bill sponsors to increase their visibility and support for compost related legislation. SB 486, a bill to directing Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to study the total annual statewide rate of preventable food waste received by landfills within the Commonwealth; (ii) identify the industry sectors within the Commonwealth that contribute to preventable food waste, and determine their rate of contribution to such waste; (iii) identify alternative uses of food that is wasted; and (iv) recommend policies to reduce the annual rate of preventable food waste in the Commonwealth with data-driven reduction targets and timelines, including food donation requirements for certain food waste from grocery stores and restaurants.

The bill was unfortunately continued to 2021.

Washington State

HB 2713 has passed both house of Washington State’s legislature and is awaiting signature by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill requires state agencies and local governments to purchase compost for projects when compost is available.

“Each local government that provides a residential compost 26 service must enter into a purchasing agreement with its compost 27 processor to buy back finished compost products for use in government 28 projects or on government land. The agreement must include the following terms:29 30 (a) The local government must purchase an amount of finished 31 compost product that is equal to or greater than fifty percent of the 32 amount of compost it delivered to the compost processor; and 33 (b) The compost processor must offer a purchase price that is 34 reasonable and competitive for the specific market. 35 (2) When purchasing compost products for use in government 36 projects or on government-owned land, local governments are 37 encouraged to purchase compost with at least eight percent food waste.”


 

 
 

 

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