City updates code to meet organic waste mandates

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Starting on New Year’s Day, Seal Beach will have to meet state-mandated requirements to reduce “organic waste” from residential and business trash. The potential fine for failure to meet the mandate is substantial.

The council on Monday, Dec. 13, unanimously approved the introduction (or first reading) of an ordinance that updates the Municipal Code to comply with the state mandate.

Manuel “Manny” J. Gouveia, Republic Services area municipal manager for the West Area, told the council that there would be no new carts. He said Republic Services was asking residents to put food waste into their green carts.

“These regulations require a variety of programmatic and policy-related requirements related to the collection of organics, edible food recovery, compliance tracking, and enforcement,” according to the staff report prepared by Management Analyst Lauren Barich. Incidentally, staff introduced Barich to the council at the start of the meeting.

“As of January 1, 2022, the City will be required to follow SB 1383 and provide collection services to residential and commercial generators, establish enforcement mechanisms, and develop programmatic opportunities related to food recovery,” wrote Barich.

“CalRecycle is authorized to financially penalize non-compliant jurisdictions with a $10,000 fine per day. However, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 619 into law in October of 2021, which allows CalRecycle to waive penalties for jurisdictions that meet certain requirements for the 2022 calendar year,” Gallegos Barich.

“While the City will not have the first and second reading of the Ordinance adopted by Council before the end of the calendar year, if the Council adopts the first reading of this Ordinance on December 13, 2021, staff intends on bringing back to Council the second reading of the Ordinance in January 2022,” Barich wrote.

“Additionally, City staff has informed CalRecycle of the aforementioned adoption schedule and continues to work closely with their staff to ensure they are fully informed of the City’s objective to be in full compliance with SB 1383,” Barich wrote.

“Lastly, it should be noted that from 2022 to 2023, SB 1383 will allow the City to take a non-punitive approach to customer enforcement. However, the City must begin taking punitive action against non-compliant customers starting on January 1, 2024,” Barich wrote.

City updates code to meet organic waste mandates