Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


waste management, organic waste, methane production


The Problem

Thirty five percent of landfill waste in California is made up of organic waste, and 18% of landfill waste is made up of food scraps (City of Santa Clara [CSC], 2019). The buildup and decomposition of food scraps at landfills produce methane (CSC, 2019), a pollutant that heats up the atmosphere thousands of times more than carbon dioxide (California Air Resources Board [CARB], 2018). Senate Bill (SB) 1383 is meant to mitigate pollution by requiring the state to reduce organic waste in its landfills to reduce methane production (CARB, 2018). The bill requires the state to reduce organic waste in landfills to 50% of 2014 levels by 2020, and to 25% by 2025 (California Legislative Information [CLI], 2016).

CARB was mandated to implement a strategy to achieve these goals by January 1, 2018. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (DRRR), also known as CalRecycle, is required to analyze the progress that the state and local governments and the waste management sector have made towards achieving those goals by July 1, 2020. It was the intent of the legislation that local governments would be in charge of diverting organic waste from landfills. Cities are addressing these goals by creating and implementing Residential Food Scrap Programs (RFSP), which are programs that target residents (as opposed to commercial or businesses) for food scraps collection.

Research Question and Purpose

This research project attempted to determine how San Francisco and nine cities in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties complied with SB 1383 through food scrapping programs, and to determine the best practices of such programs. The purpose of this project was to give local governments insight and guidance as they create and implement programs to comply with SB 1383.