The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded $24 million in grants to help convert more of the state’s organic waste (food, green waste and wood) into renewable energy and compost.
“These latest climate investments provide a much-needed boost to California’s organic waste recycling capacity, which the state must roughly double to meet its greenhouse gas reduction and 75 percent recycling goals,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said in a statement. “These infrastructure projects will diversify our local economies—creating durable green jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
CalRecycle helps fund construction, renovation or expansion of facilities in California that recycle organic material into value-added products like compost or renewable energy.
CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving human health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Of the $24 million allocated to CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program in 2016-17:
- $12 million was dedicated to digestion projects, which turn organic waste into renewable energy and soil amendments. Maximum award: $4 million
- $12 million was dedicated to compost operations—$3 million of which was allocated specifically for projects in rural areas. Maximum award: $3 million
Demand in CalRecycle’s Organics Grant Program well exceeded the $24 million in available funds for 2016-17, with 35 eligible applicants requesting $88.6 million. CalRecycle granted funds to the 10 highest scoring applicants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to disadvantaged communities, and project readiness.
Many infrastructure project proposals included funding for food rescue efforts to recover landfill-destined, edible food for Californians in need. Food waste prevention remains the most environmentally beneficial way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While food rescue was not among the scoring criteria for the organics grant, it was a consideration for evaluating benefits to disadvantaged communities.
A full list of the projects funded is available at CalRecycle’s website.