Consultant says it's going to make refuse disposal more complicated and more expensive

The City of Taft, like other cities up and down the state, is facing some very strict new regulations coming as a result of a law passed several years ago.

As SB 1383 goes into effect in the next several years, municipalities and businesses that produce food waste-restaurants in particular, could face hefty fines and the cost of hauling trash could rise by 50 to 80 percent.

Rob Hilton of HF&H Consultants outlined the effects of the bill for the Taft City Council at a study session on June 18.

It was passed by the legislature and signed into law by then-gov. Jerry Brown in 2016.

It mandates a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020, and a 75 percent reduction by 2025, according to Cal-Recycle.

In addition, establishes an additional target that not less than 20 percent of edible food that is currently disposed of is recovered for human consumption by 2025.

That means major changes in the way food is disposed of by the generators and the cities and major fines for noncompliance.

It also means more costs to cities, anywhere from the equivalent of one to three full time positions for the city to handle waste inspections and outreach.

Cities will need to have mandatory food operation ordinances that will, and Mayor Dave Noerr said that will require "another layer of government."

Hilton said its important that the city get ahead of the coming laws because if its fails to meet the mandates, it will be forced to comply.

"You want to do these things on your terms because if you get into (mandatory) compliance with the state, then you'll do things on the states terms.
The city can do it more cost effectively, Hilton added. Fines will be substantial, Hilton said, starting at $50 to $500 per incident for food waste generators and $1,000 to $10,000 per day for the municipalities.