Valley food banks expect more donations thanks to California's new compost law

Senate Bill 1383 is a statewide effort aims to reduce food waste at landfills by 75% by 2025.

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Sunday, January 9, 2022
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Senate Bill 1383 will require Californians to separate leftover food and kitchen scraps from garbage, and businesses to donate leftover edible food.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new California law that went into effect on January 1 this year could impact local food banks.

Senate Bill 1383 is a statewide effort aims to reduce food waste at landfills by 75% by 2025.

It will eventually require all Californians to separate their leftover food and kitchen scraps from their regular garbage.

The law also requires businesses, such as large food distributors and grocery stores, to donate their leftover edible food to a recovery organization or food bank.

"Food banks, like ours, we've already been participating in retail rescue operations for 10 plus years," said Natalie Caples, co-CEO of the Central California Food Bank.

The food bank, located in southeast Fresno, already receives donations from food distributors, such as Target and Walmart, so business will continue as usual.

However, Caples said the law will still make a huge impact because food insecurity remains a problem in the Valley.

In any given month, she said the organization serves around 350,000 individuals across five counties.

"Despite our geographical region and how much food is grown here, one in four adults and one in three children in central California struggle with hunger," Caples explained.

RELATED: Fresno ranks third on list of cities with the highest food hardship rate

While the food bank already partners with several large distributors, Caples said she hopes the law helps them expand to reach and help more rural areas, in order to close the gap in food access.

"We aren't currently partnering with a lot of small grocers in those areas," she said. "It's twofold, because we can bring on board and we can rescue food that isn't currently being rescued."

According to Fresno County, commercial businesses must establish a contract with a food recovery organization.

The law is now in effect for Tier 1 commercial businesses.

  • Food Distributors
  • Wholesale Food Vendors
  • Supermarkets/Grocery Stores (10,000 + sq. ft.)
  • Food Service Providers

Tier 2 commercial businesses are required to participate starting January 1, 2024.

  • Health facility with an on-site food facility and 100+ beds
  • Hotel with an on-site food facility and 200+ rooms
  • Large events that average 2,000+ people per day of operation
  • Restaurants with 250 or more seats, or facility size >/= 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Local education agencies with an on-site food facility

For more information about the new composting law and how it impacts you, visit Fresno County's website.