Written by Beth Thornton for KCBX, Sept. 29, 2021

With the combined goal of feeding hungry people and combating climate change, grocery stores and large food distributors must start donating excess edible food instead of wasting it, per legislation that takes effect in January.

According to CalRecycle, one in four Californians have not had enough to eat since the start of the pandemic. Yet, every year more than one million tons of still-edible food is wasted. Organic waste, which includes unused food, also accounts for 20% of the state’s methane pollution from landfills.

Senate Bill 1383, signed in 2016, aims to recover 20% of excess edible food statewide by mandating food recovery programs at grocery stores, wholesalers, and large food providers beginning January 2022. Other businesses must comply by 2024.