September 26, 2016

California Law Targets Methane Emissions

Enforcement could encourage more organics recycling versus landfilling.

A greenhouse gas reduction bill signed into law in California has been designed to encourage greater organics recycling and byproducts anaerobic digestion while also clamping down on landfill methane emissions.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has signed SB 1383, which the governor’s office says “establishes the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane.”

A news release issued by the governor’s office says SB 1383 reduces the emission of “super pollutants” (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) and promotes renewable energy by requiring a 50 percent reduction in black carbon and 40 percent reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon from 2013 levels by 2030. Sources of these substances include landfills, petroleum-based transportation fuels, livestock, and gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol products.

An online news report by the San Jose Mercury News says the bill’s effects may include changes to the way organics such as food scraps are handled within the state. Additionally, funding has been earmarked to help direct agricultural byproducts toward anaerobic digestion (AD) systems.

The report says the new law calls for a statewide 50 percent increase in composting to handle organic waste, since materials such as food scraps emit methane when they break down in landfills.

Dairy farmers will have access to cap-and-trade funds as a way to help them reduce methane emissions from manure. Up to $50 million in such funds have been earmarked to help purchase AD systems.

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