Updated: May 25, 2021
What is SB 930?
There is an opportunity right now to make an impact for composting. Senate Bill (SB) 930 is an update to the commercial organics ban. The Commercial Organics Ban prohibits some very large generator from throwing food scraps in the trash. It needs to be amended in order to strengthen its effectiveness as well as to aid in the state's goals of increasing recycling rates, improving public health, and building the infrastructure for sustainable waste management. After all, food waste makes up about 20-25% of the waste stream and is the largest recyclable material stream that we don't currently separate from trash at a significant scale.
Why should you care?
Amending SB 930 will:
Improve public health
Increase recycling rates
Build infrastructure for sustainable waste management
Mitigate climate change
Create more nutrient rich soil
Changes we are advocating for:
Removing the Exemptions for Certain Industries - Currently the law only applies to commercial food wholesalers or distributors, industrial food manufacturers or processors, supermarkets, resorts and conference centers. Left out of this list are, universities, hospitals, restaurants, long term care facilities, food courts, and stadiums, among other entities. By leaving these other types of institutions out the law is not nearly as effective as it could be in achieving its goals. Imagine if you were a firefighter, but you were only allowed to fight blazes at certain types of buildings. There is no logical reason why these entities should have an exemption. Again, these exemptions do not exist in other states
Providing for Lowering the Ban to 1/2 Ton per Week - Already added to the bill language, Yay!- Currently, those that fall under the ban are limited to less than 1 ton per week of material. We believe that the logical next step from this is to step down to a 1/2 ton per week by 2023 - the year after the MIRA trash incinerator in Hartford is predicted to stop operating. 1/2 ton is still well above what most mom and pop restaurants generate weekly.
Allowing for Fines for Businesses that Don't Comply - There are no penalties for non-compliance. While we don't advocate for the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to use a punish-first approach, we do believe that they should be able to have that power for businesses that refuse to comply. Imagine if these companies were dumping vast amounts of pollutants into the waterways? They would be fined millions of dollars. Even failing to comply with single stream recycling can come with fines. There are no teeth to the bill as currently written.
Removing the Geographic Requirements - Currently the rule only applies to food waste generators within 20 miles of a composting facility in CT. We argue that the ban should be statewide, because there is no scientific or economic reason for this arbitrary distance. Currently, trash and recycling haulers cover much longer distances - there is no reason food waste can't also be done this way. In comparison, Massachusetts does not have a geographic requirement, but they allow for businesses to apply for an exemption if they are too far away from a composting facility for this option to be economically or environmentally feasible.
What can you do?
We need Senator Christine Cohen, Chair of the Environment Committee, to fight to get a vote on this bill. Call her aide Sue Tufts at 860-240-8609 or email at Sue.Tufts@cga.ct.gov
Use the following template:
My name is (your first and last name) and I am a (advocate/community member/other) from (your town).
I'm calling to ask you to amend SB 930 to do three things: 1) remove exemptions from food waste generators, 2) lift the geographic requirement, and 3) allow for fines for large polluters that refuse to comply with the law.
I support amending SB 930 because this bill would not only affect me but will affect our community and future generations. Amending SB 930 will increase recycling rates, build infrastructure for sustainable waste management, mitigate climate change, and create more nutrient rich soil.
I am (calling/emailing) to request Senator Christine Cohen add these amendments and call SB 930 up for a vote.
Thank you for your time!