A new state law allowed Santa Clara County businesses to donate almost 5 million pounds of food during the first half of 2022, according to a news release from the county.

SB 1383 took effect this year. It requires grocery stores and other businesses to donate the maximum possible amount of surplus food to decrease the amount of food that is thrown into landfills. The law not only reduces methane but also increases food security.

Businesses in Santa Clara County donated 4.9 million pounds of food through the program’s managing partner Joint Venture Silicon Valley Food Recovery Initiative, which administers the program for the county and its 15 cities, according to the news release.

Businesses outside the county donated an additional 4.1 million pounds through the program.

The food donated prevented the release of 336 metric tons of methane, according to estimates from the county.

The law applies to grocery stores, food service providers, distributors and wholesale food vendors. Restaurants, schools, health facilities and large event venues and hotels must follow the maximum donation law starting in 2024.

Grocery stores, food service providers, distributors and wholesale food vendors must currently comply with the new regulations regarding food recovery. Restaurants, schools, health facilities, large event venues and hotels must comply starting in 2024.

“I am grateful that we are helping thousands of members of our community by increasing the amount of nutritious food that is available to residents in need,” said Supervisor Otto Lee in a statement. “This program enables us to combat food insecurity and climate change at the same time, helping current and future residents of Santa Clara County.”