Preparing for California's Edible Food Recovery Mandate
Jun 21, 2022
California's 2016 food recovery mandate, Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), could make an important contribution toward mitigating the climate crisis and food insecurity. In this report, the authors review food recovery in Los Angeles County and specific challenges relating to SB 1383 implementation, and they suggest ways in which the mandate could be turned into an opportunity for innovation and capacity-building.
An Examination of Food Recovery Logistics and Other Challenges
Does not include Appendix.
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Methane emissions from landfilled food are fueling our climate crisis. In 2018, 34 percent of the waste stream to California's municipal landfills was organic waste, such as food and green waste. Landfilled organic waste emits 20 percent of California's methane, and an estimated 1.1 million tons of potentially donatable food were discarded in landfills in 2018. Yet, more than 250,000 households in Los Angeles (LA) County were food insecure (i.e., without reliable access to sufficient food) in 2021.
California's 2016 food recovery mandate, Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), could make an important contribution toward mitigating the climate crisis and food insecurity. SB 1383 aims to divert and reduce the disposal of organic waste and therefore reduce emissions from super-pollutants, such as methane, from landfills. This effort includes the recovery of edible food for human consumption.
In this report, the authors review food recovery in LA County (focusing on the logistics of recovering excess edible food from food outlets) and specific challenges relating to SB 1383 implementation, and they suggest ways in which the mandate could be turned into an opportunity for innovation and capacity-building. They draw on past research, a review of SB 1383 government documentation, and interviews conducted in early 2022 with 38 stakeholders representing food recovery organizations (FROs) and food recovery services (FRSs); food recovery advocates; county, city, and state agencies; human services agencies (HSAs); edible food generators (EFGs); and waste haulers.
Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. This research was conducted in the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.
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