California spending $130 million to turn waste into compost and clean energy

December 21, 2023

Telling half a million people to stop driving their cars might be an unreasonable ask, but California figures it’s accomplished the next best thing in the state’s fight to slow climate change.

A new program in the Golden State will invest $130 million in turning food and yard waste into clean energy and compost, a move California projects will cut as much climate pollution as taking 480,000 cars off the road.

The program will award grants to 23 projects in 15 counties, according to the California Department of Recycle Resources and Recovery (CalRecycle). Projects will involve recycling organic material into compost, which helps soil retain water, nourishes plants and pulls climate-warming carbon from the air.

Other projects will involve converting waste to biofuel for local buses, service truck fleets and buildings.

Several projects will receive $10 million awards, including:

  • A new biofuel facility to recycle food waste in the city of Napa.
  • Upgrading a water treatment plant in Shasta to recycle food waste.
  • Expanding the water treatment plants in Los Angeles and Riverside to recycle organic waste.
  • Building a composting facility at the landfill operation in Kern County.
  • Expanding composting operations in Ventura, Yolo and San Diego.

Methane has 84 times more heat-trapping power than carbon dioxide. The new California Climate Investments’ Organics Grant Program awards will accelerate the state’s climate progress by keeping 7.7 million tons of organic waste from emitting methane in landfills, CalRecycle said.  

“California’s latest investments in food and yard waste recycling will cut planet-heating pollution and grow California companies with new green jobs in our communities,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said in a press release. “Organic waste recycling is part of California’s climate fight as we move toward circular, local systems that continuously recycle what we used to throw away.”

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Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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