Publication Year

2019

Keywords

organic waste, food waste, recycling, university, California, policy and management

Disciplines

Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Law | Sustainability

Abstract

This paper provides a policy analysis on California State recycling legislation as it pertains to businesses and attempts to estimate the environmental impacts from landfilling food waste in the case of the University of Redlands, Redlands, California. In an effort to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals, the State of California has implemented aggressive recycling standards for businesses to reduce the amount of organic waste which is deposited in landfills. As of March 2019, the University of Redlands (UoR) is not in compliance with law AB1826, which requires the diversion of all generated organic waste into recycling and/or resource recovery programs for waste generators of its size. This paper outlines best practices for the UoR to comply with AB1826 and provides several project alternatives to adopt a recycling program. By complying with AB1826, the UoR would avoid emitting about 626 kilograms of methane gas to the atmosphere every year. This has the same environmental benefit as planting over 250 tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for ten years. Additionally, the annual deposition of 73,136 pounds of food waste from the university's main dining hall, Irvine Commons, in the landfill leads to an accumulation of escaped methane gas in the atmosphere over several decades. This theory of exponential accumulation of methane from consecutive years of landfilling organic waste is in its infancy, and requires further research which carefully accounts for the timespan of generation of gaseous emissions from food waste and the rate of decay of methane gas.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Environmental Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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