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California Assembly member Das Williams introduced AB 1594, which would encourage local governments to divert their green waste from landfills.

Compostable organic materials currently comprise about one-third of what is disposed in landfills annually. Much of this material is used as alternative daily cover (ADC), a temporary overlay on an exposed face of a landfill, which provides a barrier from odor and insects at the end of the work day.

Williams said green waste should be used as compost instead.

“Global warming is the moral issue of the next hundred years,” Williams said. “The major question is: Are we willing to change business as usual to avoid profoundly hurting less fortunate people around the world and in our own country? These materials should be properly composted so we as a state can reduce our
contribution to global warming.”

Existing law authorizes green waste to be used as an alternative daily cover and exempts green waste from a statewide disposal fee. This exemption, with the recycling credit local governments receive toward their diversion goals, ends up encouraging the use of green materials for ADC instead of other more environmentally friendly uses.

Published in the March 2014 Edition of American Recycler News