Santa Clara County adopts food recovery ordinance

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Santa Clara County leaders vote to adopt food a recovery ordinance that will require certain large-scale businesses to recover and donate surplus edible food.

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved the Food Recovery Ordinance as the new state law, SB 1383, requires cities and counties to adopt this ordinance by January 2022.

The ordinance is intended for unincorporated areas within the county.

“The vote by the Board of Supervisors creates a comprehensive and thoughtful countywide framework for providing thousands of additional pounds of healthy surplus food to populations in need throughout our region, instead of going to waste,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Otto Lee, who represents the County on the Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission. 

“I am proud of the County’s leadership role and the partnerships with Joint Venture Silicon Valley, County staff, Food Recovery Organizations, and all 15 cities in Santa Clara County to create a model ordinance that is such a gamechanger in feeding residents and workers in need.”

In November 2020, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecyle) enacted regulations in accordance with SB 1383 to reduce organic waste in landfills.

The regulations require jurisdictions (cities, counties, and special districts) to adopt ordinances by January 1, 2022, and implement programs that will require certain businesses to recover and donate edible food. 

The newly adopted ordinance by the county aims to create a program that is easier to use for businesses that donate food and the nonprofits that distribute it.

While each city in county needs to adopt its own ordinance, stakeholders recognized the benefits of collaborating to create a standardized model to be used countywide.

The county says the ordinance will serve as a model for cities within the county to create their own ordinances, citing the benefits of collaborating by simplifying compliance for businesses and promoting food recovery.

By recycling and donating surplus edible food, organic materials are kept out of landfills, resulting in less carbon emissions.

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