HomeCity Government NewsEnvironmental Committee OKs Dishwasher Bill

Environmental Committee OKs Dishwasher Bill

First published in the April 2 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Senate Bill 1255, a measure introduced by state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, which seeks to reduce waste in K-12 schools and community colleges, passed the Senate Environmental Committee on Monday.
The bill would establish a dishwasher grant program to address the state’s single-use trash and waste crisis. The idea for the bill was brought to Portantino by members of the Glendale Environmental Coalition.
“Right now, we have no program in California dedicated to reducing single-use waste in our schools, and installing commercial dishwashers can pave the way for safe and reusable food ware,” Portantino, who represents Glendale, said in a statement. “It is time to implement effective and creative solutions to eliminating single-use waste, which also teaches students the value of conservation and environmental protection.”
Commercial dishwashers use little water, heat to high temperatures for complete sanitation, dry quickly, and are fast and energy efficient, lowering the number of dishes needed. Machines can last 15 years, providing significant savings over time and offsetting waste management costs that are expected to rise. However, industrial dishwashers have high upfront costs that schools cannot afford.
SB 1255 would establish the Dishwasher Grant Program for Waste Reduction in K-12 Schools and Community Colleges and would be administered by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. The department would provide grants to school districts, charter schools and community college districts for the purchase and installation of commercial dishwashers at the school sites and campuses.
“A lack of dishwashing equipment is the single biggest barrier to making the switch to reusables, and few schools in California currently have them. SB 1255 would open the path to install a commercial dishwashing machine to schools and community colleges across our state, and provide the means for both cost savings and a huge reduction of waste,” stated Monica Campagna, campus caretaker at Franklin Elementary in Glendale.
“As we saw at Franklin Elementary in Glendale where I tend the campus grounds, moving to reusables means not having to confront stock shortages and rising prices of single use items, far fewer waste bins and bag changes for custodians, less waste hauling pickup services to pay for, less litter on our campus, and approximately 1,000 spork sets and throwaway trays not being sent to the landfill or compost facility each week. I’ve seen for myself the many positive changes a dishwasher in a cafeteria can make.”
The bill would require the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to award grants of up to $40,000 per kitchen of a school or campus and to develop administrative guidelines for implementation of the program.

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