Invited Session: Climate Change

California’s Approach to Climate Change, Organics to Healthy Soil (0.5 CEU)

Monday, September 25, 2017
14:45 – 15:15
Room 316

Moderator: Jim Michelsen, Senior Industry Specialist, IFC—International Finance Corporation, Washington, D.C.

California continues to be a leader in addressing global climate change. This presentation will detail the many policy efforts the Golden State is taking to divert organics from landfills. This will include a summary of current legislation, policy approaches, and a summary of the current status of these efforts. California solid waste policy has been driven by many factors over the years, but is now clearly driven by climate change and reduction of CO2 (and especially CH4) from landfills. The state is providing cap and trade dollars for developing facility infrastructure and passing numerous legislative efforts to divert organics from both residential and commercial sources. This presentation will update the audience on progress and challenges to date. For example, AB 1826 requires commercial food-generating businesses to have that material separately collected and not landfilled. These policy initiatives, their challenges and opportunities will be explored for others to examine and hopefully learn from.

This presentation seeks to share the challenges and opportunities experienced by the state of California, which is pursuing an aggressive public policy agenda to divert organics from landfills as a means of addressing short-lived climate pollutants. Attendees will be able to understand the various efforts California is making, as well as why and what implications this has on the nation’s solid waste system.


Matthew Cotton, Principal, Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC, California

Matt Cotton

Matthew Cotton has worked in organics and solid waste management since 1986. He has served as a consultant, educator, researcher and advocate for new and expanded organics recycling and composting programs in California and beyond. Mr. Cotton has completed hundreds of significant organics projects, including permitting and assisting in the development of some of the major composting facilities in California. He has served on the Board of Directors of the US Composting Council for more than a decade, including as president for three years, and also serves on the Board of Californians Against Waste. He has published research on compost odors, compost use, climate impacts, compostable plastics and compost facility infrastructure. He is the main author of both the SWANA Managing Composting Programs Course, and SWANA’s course on Organics Collection; and the organics chapter of the SWANA/CRRA Zero Waste Course. In more than 30 years of work, Mr. Cotton has become a respected resource for all aspects of organics recycling. He is the “go to” person for providing permitting assistance to new and expanded composting, anaerobic digestion, and chipping and grinding facilities, to providing hands on odor control mitigations at organics processing, digestion, and composting facilities, to conducting important statewide studies of the California organics industry.