Regulatory Oversight of Composting Operations

Project Summary: This study was conducted to evaluate regulatory schema of other states and to provide comparisons for use by CalRecycle for oversight of composting operations. The specific objectives of the project were: to analyze composting activities in other states that have been successful in operating with little or no environmental or public health and safety impacts; to provide descriptions of other states models and methods that can be adopted to California; and to provide recommendations for models and methods and best management practices for potential revision of existing regulations and adoption of new regulatory schema. The results of the study provide support to a staff-driven review of current regulations. The analyses conducted for the investigation consisted of detailed description of the models, methods, and best management practices used in other states; how the models and methods are applied in other states; and recommendations specifically applicable to California with regard to composting regulations including potential adoption in California and effects on current infrastructure. Regulatory models for composting are present in other states that extend beyond the current regulatory requirements in California. The composting regulations in other states are generally more comprehensive than the regulations in California in terms of content of various constituents in compost and more rigorous in terms of level of strictness. Other states' regulations include criteria for facilities composting various types of feedstock and provisions for facility operation as well as for final product specifications and associated end use (i.e., land application) limits. Recommendations are provided for composting regulations and a summary of the impact of the proposed recommendations on the current composting infrastructure in California.

Principal Investigator: Jim Hanson, Nazli Yesiller, and Sam Vigil

Funding Agency: California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Yesiller, N., Vigil, S. M., and Hanson, J. L., (2011), “Assessment of State Composting Regulations in the United States,” Proceedings, 26th International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management, p. 1281-1291.
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Hanson, J. L., Yesiller, N., and Vigil, S. A., (2010), Study on Other States' Regulatory Oversight of Waste and Material Handling Activities Relative to Recycling Centers, Transfer Stations, and Green Material Contamination, Final Report, DRRR-2010-003, CalRecycle.  [Download pdf]