SB 1383 for Businesses

Organics

 

California is experiencing the effects of the climate crisis: hotter summers, longer fire seasons, extreme droughts, and rising sea levels. You may not think about food waste when it comes to the climate crisis, but according to CalRecycle, organic waste in landfills emit 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. To respond to the climate crisis, California is implementing a statewide organic waste recycling and surplus food recovery law: SB 1383. Starting January 1st, 2022, all jurisdictions in California will need to provide organic waste collection services to businesses and start collecting organic materials instead of sending them to the landfill. Edible food generators will also need to arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills and maintain records. The new mandates can be confusing, read on to find out how this new law might impact your business. 

 

Starting January 1, 2022: All businesses in California (including apartment/condo complexes of five units or more) are now required to:

  • Divert organic materials from the landfill by
    • Subscribing to and participating in the organics collection service provided by your waste hauler,
    • OR self-haul organic waste to a specified composting facility, community composting program, or other collection activity or program. Records must be maintained of this service for amount of materials delivered to each facility.
  • Provide collection containers for organic waste and recyclables to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.
    • Collection service must be arranged so that access to an adequate number, size, and location of containers with correct labels is available.
    • Provide indoor containers for organic waste and recyclables in all areas where disposal containers are provided for customers, except in restrooms (multi-family dwellings are exempt).
  • For all outdoor and indoor containers, the container bodies or lids shall conform to the following color scheme: gray/black for garbage, blue for recycling, and green for organics. In addition, containers shall have labels with graphic images to indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited.
  • Annually provide educational information about the legal requirements to compost and recycle including how to properly sort between the three waste streams. 

 

Starting on either January 1, 2022 OR January 1, 2024: Edible food waste generators are split into two tiers based on business type and must arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills, and maintain records.

 

Tier 1 Businesses   Tier 2 Businesses
Tier One businesses must comply with edible food recovery requirements by Jan. 1st, 2022.   Tier Two businesses must comply with edible food recovery requirements by Jan. 1st, 2024. 
     
Supermarkets   Restaurants (with ≥ 250 seats, or ≥ 5,000 sq. ft.)
Grocery stores (with a total facility size ≥ 7,500 sq. ft.)   Hotels (with onsite food facility and ≥200 rooms)
Foodservice distributors   Health facilities (with onsite food facility and ≥100 beds)
Wholesale food markets   State agencies (with a cafeteria with ≥ 250 seats, or ≥ 5,000 sq. ft)
    Local education agencies (with an onsite food facility)
    Large venues
    Large events

 

Still confused about SB 1383? Checking out CalRecycle’s FAQs. Your local waste hauler should also be providing educational materials on what the rules and regulations are for your specific jurisdiction (and what exactly is accepted as food waste).

Food Waste

Food Waste

The FDA estimates that Americans waste between 30% and 40% of their food. Most of this wasted food ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is up to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.  At the same time, 1 in 8 Americans struggle to put food on the table. These jarring statistics have spurred many of us into action to try and combat food waste. But where do you start? We know it can feel overwhelming, but here are some tips for lowering food waste in your home, business, or place of work.

  • Plan it out. Whether you are feeding countless patrons in a restaurant, hosting a business gathering, or feeding your family, thinking ahead is key. Determine how much food you will need before you do the purchasing. This leads to less food perishing. 
    • Calculating this can be hard! Consider using a simple portion planner if you are having trouble. There are many variations available online. Love Food Hate Waste has a great one
    • Additionally, Save the Food has a Guest-imator that was designed for planning holiday meals this upcoming season! 
  • Get familiar with your food and where it should live. Different areas of your fridge are designed to have different temperatures and levels of humidity in order to store your food in the ideal climate to prolong freshness. Some perishables such as fruit actually last longer outside of the fridge. Getting to know the best way to store your food ensures it stays fresh as long as possible. Check our resources like Food Revolution Network’s guide on How to Store Produce
  • What about those confusing labels? “Best by”, “Sell By”, “Enjoy by”– there are so many different date labels it could make your head spin. Oftentimes, these dates have nothing to do with science! This means that you may be tossing perfectly safe food. 
  • Break your habits. Many of us have learned food habits. Perhaps that means not eating the crust of PB&Js, or the skin of fruits. Challenge yourself to make small changes to use more of your food and waste less. Maybe learn some new recipes and shake up the way you prepare food! Try something crazy like this recipe for banana peel bacon
  • If You Can’t Reduce Wasted Food, Divert It From Landfills. If you are hosting a large gathering or company event and end up with too much food, consider donating it to the local food bank or homeless shelter in your area. You can also compost food scraps rather than throw them away.
  • For the office. If you want to take a deep dive into what can be done in the office and to assist with behavior change, take a look at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food Waste Toolkit for the Office.

In addition to stopping food waste in your home or business, you can also support and participate in food recovery efforts. Diverting food waste from landfills is crucial to preventing greenhouse gas emissions. Up and down the state, countless organizations are doing their part to mitigate the impacts of food waste while redistributing quality food to those who need it. Did you know that 1 in 8 Americans can be categorized as food insecure? This means that over 12% of Americans have inconsistent access to food and are not always certain where their next meal will come from. Check out organizations like Feeding America, the Food Recovery Network, and many more that all play an important role in diverting food to those who need it. 

You can also combat the environmental impacts of food waste by supporting local governments in their efforts to implement curbside composting in new areas, and continue to grow the programs and improve implementation where it already exists. 

Happy holidays! 

Fall Efficiency Tips

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The leaves are changing colors and pumpkin spice season is in full swing. We all know about spring cleaning, but many of us get lost in the fall frenzy and forget to take steps to ensure our homes and businesses are operating as efficiently as possible. Window and door drafts or poorly functioning heating systems can not only make you uncomfortable and cold, but the costs of heating an inefficient building can really add up! Our fall efficiency tips will help you get ready for cold weather and save money all winter long.

For Businesses/Residences

  • Service your HVAC units. Fall is the perfect time to make sure your heating system is operating properly. Replace your air filters to limit allergens like dust, and make sure that your unit is working as efficiently as possible. If you need to repair or upgrade your HVAC system, it’s best to get it out of the way before it’s an emergency and too cold outside for comfort.
  • Check your window seals and weather stripping on doors.  That chilly air can find all kinds of ways into your home. Before it gets too cold, check your windows and doors for gaps and open areas that could let heat out. Use weather-stripping and caulk, see a DIY guide here.
  • Manage your thermostat. During the summer months, we recommend setting your thermostat at 78 degrees so your system doesn’t have to work too hard to bring the temperature down. As we move into fall, we recommend reflecting the same idea with your heat by keeping your thermostat set at 68 degrees (or lower). Consider getting a smart thermostat to make setting temperatures and scheduling easier. Check with your local jurisdiction to see if there are any programs available to get a rebate or discounted option!
  • Let the sun heat up your rooms. Use curtains to your advantage. During the day, opening the curtains to let in sunlight from south-facing windows will help warm the room without using any extra energy. In the afternoon, close the curtains to hold in heat and keep the chill-out.
  • Reverse ceiling fans. We think of ceiling fans as a tool to cool us down, but they can also work to keep us warm. When you set the direction of the fan to turn clockwise, it pushes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the room. It also helps to redistribute air so the air coming out of the vents reaches all parts of the room rather than having warmer and cooler pockets of air in different areas.

For Residences

  • Assess your fireplace. Your fireplace is a large, but sometimes not obvious, pathway for air to escape. The damper should stay closed unless a fire is burning so that warm air from your heating system doesn’t escape through the chimney. Check the seal to make sure the damper is as snug as possible. Tempered glass doors and an air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room will also help keep the heat where you want it – inside your home.
  • Do your holiday baking when it gets chilly! The house usually heats up a couple of degrees when you have the oven going, so make use of that. If you’re using electric appliances, try to avoid peak hours (typically 4-9 pm).

Fire Resilience for Businesses

Drought 01

Let’s face it, fires are scary. The California wildfires have devastated entire towns in California, and climate change will cause these events to occur more frequently with more intensity. It is now more important than ever to cultivate our community’s fire resiliency and adaptations. We all receive a lot of guidance about how to prepare for wildfires as homeowners, but have you ever considered how your business should prepare? Here are some tips for businesses to become more fire resilient and help their community adapt: 

Make sure your business is proactive and prepared for a fire on-site. 

  • Don’t forget the basics! Make it an action item to routinely check fire alarms and fire extinguishers. Consider replacing old safety equipment and investing in smart technologies (as needed).
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest fire safety guidelines and have a plan. If you are an employer, make sure all employees are made aware of what to do in the event of a fire and how to safely utilize your equipment in their onboarding process. It can be hard to figure out where to start, but you can find many helpful resources online that can break it down in a digestible way. For instance, check out this resource “Recommended Fire Safety Training Procedures for Employers in 2020” here for some inspiration on how to be more prepared. 
  • Did you know that many office/retail fires are caused by the same sources as home fires? Click here to see more information from the U.S. Fire Administration regarding workplace fire safety.
  • Keep your employees and patrons healthy. Fires in our communities create pollution both outdoors and indoors. We normally recommend servicing your heating and A/C at least twice per year, but consider checking and changing air filters more frequently if the season brings a lot of smoke to the region. This will also save you money!

Prepare your business for a wildfire.

  • Create defensible space. Keep vegetation far from your building. Select landscaping materials that are drought-friendly and less vulnerable to wildfires. Not only does this increase fire safety, but it also helps you save money and water!
  • Use non-flammable materials for signage, roofs, and decks if possible.
  • Screen vents with non-combustible metal mesh.
  • Sign up to receive public safety alerts and access emergency checklists and other resources from your local CalFire and your local utility company. Sign-up for CALFIRE alerts.

Go above and beyond!

  • Become (or support) a “1% for the Planet” business. Visit onepercentfortheplanet.org to see a list of businesses and how to join. These businesses are fighting to combat climate change, which is a catalyst for worsening wildfires. They even have a specific list of nonprofits directly working with wildfires here
  • Participate in team-building while adapting. Remember–you can donate more than your dollar! You can also give in the form of staff time. Participating in climate adaption volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while providing your team with a bonding experience.

 

Learn more about how your business can help combat climate change and worsening wildfires by becoming a Certified Green Business.

Businesses Can Help Drought

Drought 01

 

As California businesses pull themselves back together following the statewide shutdowns, it is important to come back stronger than ever and be proactive in addressing our problems. One struggle that hasn’t gone away is the drought. Leaky infrastructure at your business such as faucets, toilets, and irrigation not only waste water, but wastes your hard earned money with increased water bills. Fortunately, there are many simple things your business can do to help conserve California’s precious water. We’ve compiled a list of water conservation tips to help you conserve water and help your business operate more efficiently.

Be leak-free

Be leak-free! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a leaky faucet dripping at a drip per second wastes 3,000+ gallons per year! Leaks in fixtures like toilets, showers, or sprinkler systems can be water vampires – wasting water and money! Learn more through this handy infographic.

Switch to low flow

Switch to low flow. Reduce the gallons used at your business by installing high efficiency toilets (e.g., those flusing at 1.0 gallons per flush or dual flush), showerheads flowing at 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) or less, and low-flow faucet aerators (.5 GPM for handwashing and 1.5 GPM for kitchens). These changes are easy and cost-efficient, you may have already completed a water tune-up during your Green Business certification and if you haven’t, contact your coordinator.

Drought tolerant

Incorporate drought-resilient landscaping. If you have landscaping, go as drought-resistant and native plant-heavy as possible. Check out CalRecycle’s site here for more information! Use drip irrigation instead of spray sprinklers. Water during the coolest hours of the day. You can go above and beyond and install smart sensors that take into account weather conditions and moisture levels for any irrigation needs. Learn about xeriscaping here.

Water Saving

Are you utilizing your local resources? Contact your local water utility and ask what rebates are available. Many jurisdictions have rebates available for water conservation upgrades such as installing low-flow toilets and removing turf!

Finally, remember that the energy-water nexus is a big deal! In fact, around 12 percent of California’s total energy use is related to water. Energy Upgrade CA has some energy saving tips to implement in your business and home at

Want to go beyond the tips above? Support organizations fighting against California’s drought. The Water Education Foundation has a great compilation of options.

Make sure your business is doing everything it can to fight the drought by getting certified as a Green Business.