(Al Seib/ For The Times)

Opinion

Opinion: New California composting law should be bolstered by standardized food labels

Food waste is a huge problem in the U.S.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/alanaweisberg/" target="_self">Alana Weisberg</a>

Alana Weisberg

April 6, 2022
On January 1, California intended for residents to begin composting through organic waste collection. This law, entitled “Senate Bill 1383” (SB1383), was meant to reduce the disposal of organic waste by 75% by the year 2025 and is the first state-wide law requiring all residents to compost. We are already a quarter of the way through 2022, and most California residents either do not know about the bill, or they have not started to dispose of their organic waste separately from the rest of their trash.

California resident, Carrie Stern is the mother of two and says that her family would gladly comply, but did not know the bill had passed or what steps they should take. Other residents are simply waiting for instruction and composting bins.

The writer of Senate Bill 1383 Nick Lapis explained in an interview that “each city and county run their own program, so each tends to be very different from one another,” making it more difficult for residents to get information and also to enforce the bill on a statewide scale.

Although the intention behind California’s bill is admirable, it would be even more effective if we were able to cut down consumer waste rather than simply redirect it.

American consumers waste 108 billion pounds of food each year largely because they believe the food is no longer safe to eat. Our family relies on the date labels or datelike numbers on the food and assumes that they are indicators of safety.

Stickers and stamps on foods that list expiration dates can be difficult to decipher because they are inconsistent. Since unclear labeling leads consumers to waste considerable amounts of food, the United States Department of Agriculture should require a standardized system for food expiration

Food waste takes up space in landfills and contributes to global warming, threatening our future. Food waste in landfills turns into methane gas and is one contributor to global warming.

Our world is heating up at an exponential rate and we should seize any opportunity to limit greenhouse emissions. To do this, we must address the main producer of this waste by making it easier to determine if food is still safe to eat.

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