Understanding California SB1383 compliance for hotels and restaurants

Posted by David Jackson / 23-Jan-2024

2024 trends

California's SB 1383, enacted to tackle short-lived climate pollutants and food insecurity, has significant implications for hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants. The bill mandates a 75% reduction in organic waste to landfill by 2025 and requires the recovery of 20% of currently-disposed edible food. For hospitality establishments, this means adopting measures to donate surplus food and maintain records of these donations. Compliance is not only crucial to avoid penalties but also aligns with the growing eco-conscious consumer base, enhancing brand reputation and demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

Why was SB 1383 introduced? 

The objective of the bill is to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane, and to address food insecurity in California. Notably, food waste constitutes the second highest amount of organic material in California's landfills. The legislation mandates the diversion of organic waste, particularly surplus edible food. Food generators are obligated to donate their surplus edible food instead of disposing of it. Additionally, all donations must be documented, and establishments are required to donate their excess edible food through an established rood rescue organization.

The bill is in line with the food waste hierarchy which prioritizes prevention and redistribution of food waste over composting or landfill disposal. Prevention is the most preferred method because it eliminates waste before it occurs, thus conserving resources and reducing environmental impact. Redistribution, such as donating surplus food to those in need, is next in preference as it extends the food's usefulness and addresses food insecurity. Composting is less favored, although better than landfilling, as it recycles nutrients but still involves resource consumption and waste creation. Landfill disposal is the least preferred option due to its significant environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions in the form of potent methane as the waste decomposes.

Who needs to comply with California SB 1383

Starting January 1, 2022, food service providers, distributors, and entities within the Tier 1 category were required to cut down on the disposal of organic materials, as specified by the legislation.

As of January 1, 2024, Tier 2 food waste generators are now also required to comply with SB 1383 requirements across the state. Tier 2 establishments include:

  • Restaurants with 250 seats or 5,000 sq. ft. or more
  • Hotels with on-site food facilities and 200 rooms or more
  • Health facilities with on-site food facilities and 100 beds or more
  • Large venues and events
    • a permanent venue facility that annually seats or serves an average of more than 2,000 individuals within the grounds of the facility per day
    • an event that charges an admission price, or is operated by a local agency, and serves an average of more than 2,000 individuals per day of operation of the event
  • Local education agencies with on-site facilities
  • State agencies with cafeterias follow the same criteria as restaurants, with cafeterias equal to or greater than 250 seats or 5,000 sq. ft. of space

What are the requirements for California SB 1383? 

From January 1st 2024, Tier 2 hotels and restaurants will be required to:

  • Recover the maximum amount of edible food by donating surplus rather than composting or waste disposal
  • Arrange for food recovery 
  • Maintain records of donations

The requirements for Tier 2 food waste producers under California's SB 1383, such as hotels and restaurants, include the need to reduce organic waste disposal. This includes measures like donating excess edible food and maintaining proper documentation of these donations. The specifics of these requirements and the enforcement mechanisms are detailed on the CalRecycle website, under the section addressing enforcement questions and answers related to SB 1383. For complete and detailed information, please refer to their official page.

What are the penalties for California SB1383? 

Violations of California's SB1383 regulations may result in penalties. These penalties are determined based on the nature and severity of the violation. The enforcement process typically involves a notice of violation, providing the entity with a chance to correct the issue. If the violation persists, financial penalties can be imposed. 

The penalties imposed by a jurisdiction are based on Government Code Sections 53069.4, 25132 and 36900, and are as follows:

  • First violation: $50-$100 per violation
  • Second violation: $100-$200 per violation
  • Third or subsequent violation: $250-$500 per violation

Compliance with SB 1383 is crucial for hospitality brands both for maintaining a positive reputation and avoiding financial penalties. Today's eco-conscious consumers highly value environmental responsibility, and non-compliance can damage a brand's image, potentially leading to loss of customer trust and loyalty. Additionally, failing to adhere to SB 1383 can result in substantial fines, adding a financial incentive to comply. By aligning with SB 1383, hospitality brands demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and responsible waste management, which can enhance their reputation and appeal to environmentally aware customers.

How Winnow can support SB 1383 compliance 

Providing a compelling return on investment for commercial kitchens via food waste prevention, Winnow can also help HoReCa businesses demonstrate compliance with SB1383.  

Winnow's capability to manually record food donations provides hospitality businesses with an essential tool for complying with SB 1383. By offering a clear, auditable record of donated food items in relation to total food waste, Winnow helps businesses not only track but also optimize their food waste management. 

This data-driven approach enables hotels to assess the proportion of edible food waste, setting realistic and impactful donation objectives annually. By aligning their operations with SB 1383's goals, businesses can maximize food donation while also exploring cost savings through waste prevention. 

Furthermore, Winnow's ability to connect hotels with local food banks facilitates a streamlined donation process. This ensures that compliance with SB 1383 is not just a regulatory requirement but a meaningful contribution to waste reduction and community support. The detailed records provided by Winnow also ensure that hotels can easily demonstrate their compliance with SB 1383 to local authorities, reinforcing their commitment to sustainable practices.

Why SB1383 is a call to arms for the fight against food waste

Reducing food waste and positively impact people, planet, and profit. SB 1383 compliance isn't just about adhering to regulations; it's a chance to make a meaningful difference. By minimizing waste, you contribute to environmental sustainability, support community well-being, and optimize operational efficiency. Take this step towards a more responsible and profitable future.

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