Alameda, CA

Alameda Council Approves Three New Strategies to Improve Waste Reduction

Karin K Jensen

On November 2nd, Alameda City Council approved amending the City’s Solid Waste and Recycling Municipal Code to:

  1. Comply with Senate Bill 1383 by reducing organic waste in landfills and emissions of short-lived climate pollutants
  2. Implement Strategy Four of the City’s Zero Waste Implementation Plan Update by reducing construction and demolition waste
  3. Conform with the Alameda County Industries (ACI) agreement for the collection, transportation, and processing of solid waste, recycling, and organic materials
Alameda County Industries Recycling TruckAlameda County Industries

Complying with SB 1383

Senate Bill 1383, signed into law in 2016, is the most significant waste reduction mandate of the last 30 years. It targets short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. Methane is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Over the last two centuries, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled, primarily due to human-related activities. Because methane is both a potent greenhouse gas and short-lived compared to carbon dioxide, achieving significant reductions would have a rapid and considerable effect on atmospheric warming potential.

To this end, Senate Bill 1383 established statewide targets to reduce organic waste disposal by 75 percent from 2014 levels and increase edible food recovery by 20 percent by 2025.
Waste Management at Davis Street Transfer StationCommunity Action for a Sustainable Alameda

The two main elements of SB 1383 that are new to the City relate to recovering edible food and procuring recovered organic waste products. Beginning January 1st, 2022, certain businesses such as food service providers and large grocery stores must recover the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise go to landfills.

In coordination with the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste), the City is identifying edible food generators and food recovery organizations and will provide outreach on the new requirements.

The City must also procure a minimum amount of recovered organic waste products (compost, mulch, renewable gas, or electricity from biomass conversion) each year. The City can meet this requirement by procuring products to use or to give away.

The City’s procurement target is 6,262 tons of recycled organic waste products. City staff is coordinating with StopWaste and City departments to determine potential areas to utilize these materials (primarily compost and mulch).

Strategy Four of the Zero Waste Plan

The City is also amending its municipal code to implement Strategy 4 of the Zero Waste Implementation Plan Update, which aims to reduce construction and demolition debris by:

  • Increasing the diversion rate of concrete and asphalt to 95%
  • Requiring contractors to consider deconstructing buildings and salvaging the materials for reuse
  • Requiring contractors to use approved facilities for mixed construction and demolition debris, so the City can verify recycling rates and assess penalties for noncompliance
  • Codifying the California Green Building Standards Code

Conforming with ACI Agreement

Finally, the City’s new agreement with ACI, effective July 1st, 2021, includes additional services such as an expanded bulky collection program, targeted outreach to help the City reach its zero-waste goal, increased recycling, and organics collection capacity, and contamination monitoring to ensure compliance with SB 1383. The City is amending its municipal code to conform with the new agreement.

Final Vote

City Council unanimously approved amending the City’s Solid Waste and Recycling Municipal Code with a 5-0 vote.


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Proud Alamedan writing about our arts, business, politics, and events. I also write about local Asian American history. On Instagram @karinkjensen.

Alameda, CA

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