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The "Best In Class" Sustainable Solution: Local Composting and SB 1383

In the realm of environmental stewardship, SB 1383 stands as a beacon of progress. This groundbreaking legislation enacted in California addresses the critical issue of organic waste—specifically, surplus food, inedible food, tree and yard trimmings that often end up in landfills. As an environmental consultant with a passion for sustainability, I am thrilled to delve into the basics of SB 1383 and emphasize the pivotal role local composting plays in our collective journey toward a greener, more resilient future.

SB 1383: A Brief Overview

Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), passed in 2016, sets ambitious targets for reducing organic waste and its associated greenhouse gas emissions. Here are the key points:

1.       Food Recovery and Donation: Before we even consider composting, let’s prioritize food recovery and donation. Redirecting surplus edible food to those in need is not only compassionate but also environmentally responsible.


2.      Composting: When food is no longer fit for human consumption, composting becomes the most sustainable path. Rather than sending it to distant landfills, we can process it locally, harnessing its potential to enrich our soils.

The Local Advantage

1.      Protecting Greenscapes and Urban Forests: Our greenscapes—parks, gardens, golf courses and open spaces—are vital for community well-being. They provide habitat for wildlife, enhance air quality, and offer respite from urban hustle. But greenscapes only thrive when nourished by healthy soil. Composting is the pathway to healthy soil because it contains the biology responsible for nutrient cycling.  When we think we are watering our plants, we are actually providing drink for the microbes.  Composting locally ensures that nutrient-rich organic matter and microbial life returns to the earth, supporting vibrant greenscapes and resilient urban forests.


2.      Cooling Cities and Carbon Drawdown: Shade trees are more than aesthetic additions to our streets; they are climate champions. By casting their cooling embrace, they mitigate the urban heat island effect. However, without fertile (alive and reproductive) soil, these trees struggle to flourish. Composting replenishes soil health, much like probiotics for our gut, allowing shade trees to thrive and cool our cities naturally. Moreover, healthy soil acts as a carbon sink, helping plants sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide—a win-win for both climate and community.


3.      Emissions Reduction:  Transporting organic material over long distances generates emissions primarily because wet food waste is heavy with moisture. By processing it locally, we avoid the unnecessary carbon footprint associated with long-distance hauling. Imagine a network of community composting facilities, whether operated by a small business or by volunteers, where food scraps are transformed into nutrient-rich compost right in our neighborhoods. This decentralized approach minimizes transportation-related emissions and fosters a circular economy.

At 301 Organics, we champion local composting infrastructure and support a diversified portfolio of solutions….from backyard composting, neighborhood, school, community and institutional composting. Our vision extends beyond mere compliance with SB 1383 and we have proven how its done at the Rose Bowl Stadium. We empower communities and support small businesses in their commitment to responsible waste management. Here’s how:

Education: We educate residents, businesses, and institutions about the benefits and science of composting. Knowledge is the first step toward change.

Collaboration: We actively engage with the community and municipalities, including the City of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena, to promote local composting initiatives, policy reform and regulatory guidance. Together, we build resilient ecosystems.

Innovation: Composting technologies exist, and we harness them. From aerated static piles to vermicomposting, we explore efficient methods tailored to local contexts.

The Rose Bowl Stadium: A Model for Sustainability

For eight years, the Rose Bowl Stadium has set a precedent. Our on-site institutional composting operation diverted 634,000 lbs of organic waste from landfills. Now, we look ahead to bring our expertise and services to the local community and small businesses.  

To conclude, SB 1383 invites us to reimagine waste as a resource for feeding hungry people and the microbial life living in the soil. Let’s compost locally, nourish our greenscapes, and create a legacy of resilience. As we do, we honor the earth, support local economies, and sow the seeds of a more sustainable future.

For more information on our vision and plans, check out this article published in the Digital Journal:

Let us know your thoughts in the comments or schedule an initial consultation with us today to see if we can provide you or your company the expert guidance you need!


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