California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling (MORe)

Frequently Asked Questions

Background

Assembly Bill (AB) 1826 (Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014 [Chesbro, AB 1826]) requires businesses that generate a specified amount of organic waste per week to arrange for recycling services for that waste, and for jurisdictions to implement a recycling program to divert organic waste from businesses subject to the law, as well as report to CalRecycle on their progress in implementing an organic waste recycling program.

This FAQ guide provides CalRecycle's responses to frequently asked questions from stakeholders about the requirements of commercial organic recycling under AB 1826.

CalRecycle recognizes that businesses and jurisdictions may have additional questions that may not be addressed in the responses below. Please contact the assigned Local Assistance and Market Development (LAMD) representative to discuss a scenario specific to a jurisdiction. In addition, it may be helpful to refer to the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling webpage for additional resources.

Please note that the terms “regulated,” “covered,” and “subject to the law” used in the FAQ guide refer to businesses that meet the threshold requirement in effect during a given year. For example, a business generating less than 8 cubic yards of organic waste in 2016 would not be considered covered/regulated/subject to the law for that year.

The questions are broken down into the following categories:

  1. General
  2. Business
  3. Jurisdiction
  4. Reporting
  5. Compliance
  6. Enforcement

A. General

1) What is the schedule for complying with the law?

The law uses a tiered implementation schedule, which phases in requirements on businesses over time based on the amount and type of organics or waste the business produces on a weekly basis. The jurisdiction’s implementation of its program may also include phasing, and jurisdictions may phase in program implementation depending on various circumstances. Jurisdictions should communicate to their LAMD representative if there are aspects of their program that need to be phased in so they can confirm their approach will be acceptable. The implementation schedule outlined in statute is as follows:

  • January 1, 2016: On and after this date, local jurisdictions shall implement an organic waste recycling program in place. Jurisdictions shall identify regulated businesses and conduct outreach and education to inform those businesses how to recycle organic waste in the jurisdiction, and monitor to identify those not recycling and inform them of the law and how to recycle organic waste.
  • April 1, 2016: Businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
  • January 1, 2017: Businesses that generate 4 cubic yards of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
  • August 1, 2017 and ongoing: Jurisdictions shall provide information about their organic waste recycling program implementation in the annual report submitted to CalRecycle.
  • Fall 2018: After receipt of the 2017 annual reports submitted on August 1, 2018, CalRecycle shall conduct its formal review of those jurisdictions that are on a two-year review cycle.
  • January 1, 2019: Businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
  • January 1, 2020: On or after January 1, 2020, if CalRecycle determines that the statewide disposal of organic waste has not been reduced by 50 percent of the level of disposal in 2014, the organic recycling requirements on businesses will expand to cover businesses that generate 2 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week. Additionally, certain exemptions may no longer be available if the 2020 target is not met.
  • Fall 2020: After receipt of the 2019 annual reports submitted on August 1, 2020, CalRecycle shall conduct its formal review of all jurisdictions. Note: CalRecycle shall continue to conduct the two- and four-year reviews after this cycle.

2) Will there be regulations, and will there be a chance for stakeholder feedback if regulations are developed?

No, regulations will not be developed in relation to AB 1826. The law has been chaptered as part of Chapter 12.9 (commencing with Section 42649.8) to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code. However, CalRecycle encourages stakeholder feedback to these FAQs and the submittal of additional questions.

3) Will businesses located on tribal lands in the state of California be required to comply with AB 1826, or are tribal lands exempt?

CalRecycle has no jurisdiction over businesses on tribal land.

4) What is organic waste?

Organic waste as defined in the law includes the following material: food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste (see Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper). These categories represent the largest subsets of organic waste that is currently disposed in California.

There are other forms of organic waste such as textiles and manure that can be recycled at organic recycling facilities, but those materials are not specifically covered in the legislation.

Examples of food-soiled paper that are typically mixed in with food waste include uncoated products such as napkins, towels, and tissues, paper plates, paper cups, fast food wrappers, egg cartons, used pizza boxes, wax-coated cardboard, and other similar paper or compostable packaging.

Examples of “food waste” includes solid, semisolid, and liquid food, such as, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, bones, poultry, seafood, bread, rice, pasta, and oils; coffee filters and tea bags; cut flowers and herbs; and any putrescible matter produced from human or animal food production, preparation, and consumption activities. Food waste includes food-soiled paper.

5) Regarding the definition of the material types that must be recycled, can you please clarify the differences between green waste vs. landscape and pruning waste?

For reference, here is the definition in the law: Organic waste means food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste (see Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper). There is no significant difference between these terms (green waste and landscape and pruning waste) and they are not further defined in statute or regulations. Practically speaking, green waste and pruning waste both typically include, but are not limited to, grass clippings, leaves, branches, flower trimmings, hedge trimmings, weeds, etc. For purposes of deciding which organic material to include in a commercial organics recycling program, we suggest working with your organics service provider and compost facility operator to determine what materials are acceptable in your area.

6) What is commercial solid waste?

The definition of commercial solid waste was further clarified through AB 1398 and includes all types of solid waste generated by a store, office, or other commercial or public entity source, including a business or a multifamily dwelling of five or more units that falls under the definition of a covered business above (PRC Section 42649.1). According to 2014 statewide waste characterization data, the commercial sector generates nearly two-thirds of the solid waste in California. Most of the material disposed from this sector is recyclable.

7) Does food waste include Fats, Oils and Grease "FOG"?

Yes, fats oils and grease are a form of food waste. Specifically, FOG is included in the definition of solid waste in PRC 40191: “all putrescible and non-putrescible solid, semisolid, and liquid wastes, including …industrial wastes…vegetable or animal solid and semi-solid wastes …”

While AB 1826 imposes requirements for recycling organic waste, it does not change other existing regulatory authority. The quantities of FOG that can be discharged into a sewer system are already controlled and limited through local and regional water board rules. Also, many businesses, such as restaurants and large food venues (such as cafeterias), already divert their excess FOG to rendering facilities, which CalRecycle considers as a form of recycling. Any arrangement to divert FOG must be done in accordance with local ordinances and regulations, regional water board requirements, and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) rules and requirements. For more information, see CDFA resources for Inedible Kitchen Grease (IKG) Program.

8) Does food waste include meat?

Yes, meat is a form of food waste. Some facilities and end users may have requirements regarding the inclusion of meat with other types of food waste for processing. The jurisdiction and/or waste hauler can provide more information about the recycling of meat products. For more information about these requirements, please see the related guidance document (PDF, 406 KB).

9) Please provide an example of what is meant by a “limited term exemption for extraordinary and unforeseen events.”

An extraordinary or unforeseen event is typically an external event beyond the control of the parties involved, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term Act of God (such as hurricane, flooding, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.). Examples of limited term exemptions could include a food recall, spoilage due to declared emergencies, or spoilage due to power outage. It would be an event that prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under a contract, but typically only for the duration of the event.

10) What is food-soiled paper that is mixed in with food waste?

Food-soiled paper is paper that is soiled with liquid or solid food waste. Many types of food-soiled paper--particularly items that are uncoated or that have wax coatings--may be compostable and may be managed in the same way as food waste and other organic waste. Examples of food-soiled paper that are typically mixed in with food waste include products such as napkins and tissues, paper plates, paper cups, fast food wrappers, used pizza boxes, and wax-coated cardboard. These items, when comingled with food waste, are subject to the organic recycling requirements of AB 1826.

The situation is more complicated with respect to food-soiled paper with a plastic coating or lining. In general, nonbiodegradable, polyethylene-lined paper products should not be included in food waste collection programs. In some cases, though, biodegradable plastics used as a coating on paper products and that meet ASTM Standard D-6868-03 ("Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates") can be certified and labeled as compostable. Depending on their operational needs, some composting facilities may accept these types of materials while others may not.

As a result, businesses should consult with their organic recycling service providers to learn which types of food-soiled paper are acceptable at the facility where the materials are being sent. Waste haulers should provide guidance to their business customers on how to prevent unacceptable materials from being included in food waste collection programs. Jurisdictions similarly should address this and other contamination issues in their education and outreach information.

Beyond these specific considerations, some stakeholders are concerned more broadly about contamination of land, fresh water, and especially marine environments by plastic debris. CalRecycle works with many entities, including composters and other regulatory agencies, to ensure that compost does not contain unwanted residuals that could have detrimental environmental and/or public health impacts.

11) Does the 2014 waste characterization study capture data on food soiled paper?

The 2014 waste characterization study did not sort paper based on whether it was food-soiled. The two lower-grade paper types were sorted based on whether materials that fall into those types are compostable or not. Here are the sorting definitions:

Other Miscellaneous Paper--Compostable means items made mostly of paper that could be composted, that do not fit into any of the other paper types. Paper may be combined with minor amounts of other materials such as wax or glues. Examples include pulp paper egg cartons, and unused pulp paper plant pots.

Other Miscellaneous Paper--Other means items made mostly of paper that do not fit into any of the other paper types, but that are generally recyclable or not generally composted. Paper may be combined with minor amounts of other materials such as wax or glues. This type includes items made of chipboard, ground wood paper, and deep-toned or fluorescent dyed paper. Examples include cereal and cracker boxes, paperboard boxes for software, unused paper plates and cups, goldenrod colored paper, school construction paper, butcher paper, ice cream cartons and other frozen food boxes, and hard cover and soft cover books.

Remainder/Composite Paper--Compostable means items made mostly of paper, that don't fit into any other material types, that are combined or contaminated with large amounts of other materials such as wax, food, and moisture, that are compostable. Examples include waxed corrugated cardboard, waxed paper, napkins, tissue, paper towels, fast food wrappers, food-soiled paper and moisture-soiled paper.

Remainder/Composite Paper--Other means items made mostly of paper but combined with large amounts of other materials. These are items that do not fit into any other categories, are not generally compostable or recyclable, and are not food and beverage cartons. Examples include blueprints, sepia, onion skin, carbon paper, and photographs.

The “other material types” are the regular recyclable ones, such as uncoated corrugated cardboard, paper bags, newspaper, white ledger paper, other office paper, magazines and catalogs, phone books and directories.

See Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper.

12) Is street sweeping waste included in the definition of organics?

Street sweeping waste is not specifically listed in the statute. A local government that collects street sweepings can divert the organic fraction.

13) Is material collected from storm drains, debris basin clean outs, etc. included in the definition of organics?

Since material collected through these outlets typically contains a high portion of organic material, the jurisdiction may look to divert the organic portion at its discretion. ; CalRecycle understands that due to contamination, particularly hazardous components, and/or the quality of collected material, diversion of this material may not be possible.

14) Are multifamily dwellings of five units or more that meet the threshold for organic material (see question 1 under General for thresholds) required to recycle their food waste?

No, multifamily dwellings of five units or more that generate the required threshold of organics or solid waste are not required to arrange for organic recycling services for food waste, including food-soiled paper. However, a local jurisdiction’s requirements may be more stringent. If the local jurisdiction requires multifamily dwellings to arrange for organic recycling services that include green waste and food waste, then the multifamily dwelling would need to comply.

Refer to the local jurisdiction’s guidance on what is acceptable for green waste as it can vary depending on local programs. For example, some local jurisdictions may allow for green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper. Some jurisdictions may exclude food-soiled paper from being placed in the green waste bin. See Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper.

15) Does the multifamily food waste exemption apply to food-soiled paper that is mixed in with food waste?

Yes, food-soiled paper will be treated the same as food waste for multifamily dwellings. See Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper.

16) During the years 2016-2019, the requirement that businesses arrange for organic waste recycling depends on the amount of organic waste the business generates per week. Is the food waste generated at a multifamily dwelling counted toward the dwelling’s weekly organic waste threshold, even though multifamily dwellings are not required to recycle food waste?

No, food waste, including food-soiled paper, does not count toward a multifamily dwelling’s weekly generation from April 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018. However, in 2019 multifamily dwellings will need to arrange for organic recycling services to divert their green waste, landscape and pruning waste, and nonhazardous wood waste if they generate more than 4 cubic yards of any type of solid waste per week. A sample scenario:

Uptown Lofts is a multifamily dwelling of 80 units, generating 12 cubic yards of solid waste per week. Eight cubic yards of the Uptown Lofts’ weekly waste are organic, and the other 4 cubic yards are mixed solid waste. Of the 8 cubic yards of organic waste, 6 cubic yards are food waste, including food-soiled paper, and 2 cubic yards are a mix of green waste and wood waste. Under AB 1826 the complex would not need to arrange for any organic waste recycling service until January 1, 2019. The implementation and compliance schedule for Uptown Lofts would be:

April 1, 2016: Multifamily dwellings generating 8 cubic yards of non-food organic waste shall arrange for organic waste recycling. Uptown lofts only generates 2 cubic yards of non-food organic waste and is therefore exempt from the requirement to arrange for organic recycling services.

January 1, 2017: Multifamily dwellings generating 4 cubic yards of non-food organic waste shall arrange for organic waste recycling. Uptown Lofts only generates 2 cubic yards of non-food organic waste and is therefore exempt from the requirement to arrange for organic recycling services.

January 1, 2019: Multifamily dwellings generating 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services to divert their green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste. Uptown Lofts generates 6 cubic yards of solid waste (4 cubic yards of solid waste and 2 cubic yards of green and wood waste) per week and therefore shall arrange for organic waste recycling services. The organic waste recycling services that Uptown Lofts subscribes to does not need to include food waste collection.

17) Who (hauler, city, etc.) is going to be responsible for determining how much organic waste is produced at all of the businesses in the City?

The jurisdiction shall implement an organic waste recycling program, including identifying regulated generators. The jurisdiction staff may do this or the jurisdiction may have its hauler conduct these activities or utilize other resources.

CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) to assist in identifying businesses that meet the minimum waste generation threshold. CalRecycle used data from the 2014 waste characterization study and other data sources to help a jurisdiction determine the types of businesses that would typically generate an amount of organic waste that requires them to subscribe to organic recycling services under the law. This tool will provide the number of employees in each business group that would potentially generate a given threshold amount. With this information, jurisdictions need to cross check the information with the existing business data for their community to determine which specific businesses are covered under the requirement.

The jurisdiction (or its haulers) will be notifying covered businesses of the requirements starting January 1, 2016, as part of its requirements under the law. However, the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB)  is accessible to everybody, thus allowing businesses to self-determine if they meet any of the thresholds and thus implement their organic recycling program by the specified time (see question 1 under General for thresholds). As the requirement to recycle organic material is the responsibility of the business, the business can begin its organic recycling program before receiving notification from the jurisdiction.

For the 2019 threshold of 4 cubic yards/week of solid waste (and onward), the waste hauler should be able to provide the volume of waste service the business receives on a weekly basis, if not known by the business. The waste hauler and/or host jurisdiction may have additional tools and resources that can be used to determine if a business is subject to the law.

Jurisdictions could also do the outreach/education/monitoring to all businesses and multifamily complexes or those that meet the Mandatory Commercial Recycling requirements regardless of the actual organic generation. It may be more cost-effective in the long-run to do outreach and education to a broader group rather than those that fall in the 2016 and 2017 threshold, and jurisdictions may want to consider the economies of scale of providing services to more than the year 1 and 2 (2016 and 2017, respectively) regulated entities. The law allows for a more stringent approach.

18) Will implementation of the mandatory organic recycling law increase costs for jurisdictions?

Regarding education, outreach and monitoring, the law is designed to allow jurisdictions flexibility to utilize their existing tools and solid waste management infrastructure to inform businesses of the state requirement and to follow up with businesses that are not recycling their organic waste. Most jurisdictions have some type of education, outreach, and monitoring programs for Mandatory Commercial Recycling to build upon. For example, jurisdictions can modify existing print material to include information for businesses about the requirement to recycle organic waste, and how the businesses can recycle organics in their jurisdiction. Also, jurisdictions can use their own websites or request updates to franchised or permitted haulers' websites that provide this information.

Providing additional commercial organics recycling services would increase costs, depending upon whether new or expanded commercial organics recycling services are necessary to meet the needs of businesses.

There will be increased costs due to identifying generators that meet the organics thresholds (see question 1 under General for thresholds) as the information about how much organics is generated by an individual business is not readily available. CalRecycle has developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) for stakeholders to use in identifying businesses that generate the specified amounts of organic materials. For the 2019 threshold of 4 cubic yards/week of solid waste, jurisdictions should be able to use the same data sources utilized to identify covered parties under Mandatory Commercial Recycling (MCR) requirements, for example hauler reports.

19) Will the fees levied be subject to Prop 26 and/or Prop 218?

Proposition 218 would only be potentially applicable if the fee is charged as “an incident of property ownership” (i.e., if it is charged on a property tax bill). Even so, the voting requirement does not apply to refuse collection services. The Proposition 26 requirement for a 2/3 vote would only apply if the fee were not reasonably related to a “privilege granted,” a “benefit conferred,” a “government service provided to the fee payer,” or “reasonable regulatory costs.” You should check with your City Attorney or County Counsel for specific advice.

20) What if we adopt a fee to pay for our organics program that is overturned in court due to prop 218?

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, in general, the intent of Proposition 218 is to ensure that all taxes and most charges on property owners are subject to voter approval. In addition, Proposition 218 seeks to curb some perceived abuses in the use of assessments and property-related fees, specifically the use of these revenue-raising tools to pay for general governmental services rather than property-related services.

Fees for refuse collection and other services related to solid waste and recycling, may or may not be covered under Proposition 218’s procedural requirements, and is unsettled amongst attorneys as there is no definitive legal guidance or court decision. Should you experience Proposition 218 challenges to funding your commercial organics programs, please be sure to communicate this to your LAMD representative so they are apprised of the issue.

To learn more about this subject and see what other jurisdictions have done when presented with these challenges, please see the Institute for Local Government (ILG) and CalRecycle’s siting and funding webinar “Financing Recycling Programs: Applying Existing California Law” which features a case story of how the City of Chula Vista implemented Proposition 218’s Protest Process, or the Financing Recycling Programs and Facilities: Understanding Options and Resources document produced by ILG under contract with CalRecycle. The League of California Cities has published an extensive Proposition 218 Implementation Guide that provides general information only and is not offered or intended as legal advice. Always seek the advice of your local counsel on these issue before taking any action. 

21) With the anticipated cost that will be associated with implementation of an organic waste recycling program in my jurisdiction, will there be grants available to support diversion? Will there be support for community development, for example the creation of jobs related to diverting food waste for the underemployed?

CalRecycle currently does not have grant funds available to directly subsidize program implementation costs; however, infrastructure grants funded by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Fund are available. In November 2014 CalRecycle announced the awarding of $15 million in grants to businesses developing new or expanded organic recycling facilities. In awarding grants, the most important scoring criteria were: greenhouse gas reductions, tons of organic material diverted, benefits to disadvantaged communities, and project readiness. CalRecycle will award another $5 million in loans for the same purpose in fiscal year 2014-15, and will issue another round of grant awards and loans in fiscal year 2015-16 pending approval of GHG monies for this purpose. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan program, and future grant programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gases through organics recycling will seek to dedicate a portion of funding to disadvantaged communities.

22) Under section 42649.8.(g) the law states “If separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not offered through a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services, until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services.”

However, the AB 1826 website has a notation that states a franchise granted or extended by a city, county, city and county, or other local governmental agency shall not be modified, limited, or abrogated in any manner by this law. This appears to contradict the above language under 42649.8.(g). Can you explain?

The reference on the AB 1826 website stems from section 42649.84 (b) of the law, which states, “This chapter does not modify, limit, or abrogate in any manner any of the following: ( 1) A franchise granted or extended by a city, county, city and county, or other local governmental agency.”

The law itself does not alter franchise agreements as written. However, a jurisdiction may choose to amend an agreement and/or consider an ordinance within its authority specified through the law. This provision simply allows for this possibility and alerts the business that until that occurs, the business would need to recycle its organics.

23) If CalRecycle determines in 2020 that statewide disposal of organics has not decreased by half of disposal levels in 2014 and chooses to rescind rural jurisdictions’ exemptions, do businesses in these jurisdictions that meet the 2020 thresholds need to arrange for recycling services for organic waste?

No. If a business is located in a jurisdiction that is no longer exempt from implementing a program as of 2020, CalRecycle will not expect these businesses to immediately subscribe to organics recycling services. A business may not be aware of the law or that a new determination has been made as to how the law will be applied, which highlights the importance of the jurisdiction’s education, outreach, and monitoring efforts to ensure all covered businesses know how the law and how to recycle organic material in the jurisdiction. Additionally, CalRecycle would not require previously exempt jurisdictions to implement programs without providing sufficient time to develop such programs. The law provides CalRecycle ample authority to allow previously exempt jurisdictions an appropriate amount of time to begin to implement organics recycling programs. CalRecycle, as it always has, will certainly ensure adequate notice of any possible change so that businesses and jurisdictions may respond in a timely manner.

24) Is there a requirement in the Health and Safety Code or Public Resources Code that all trash be collected once a week? Is it reasonable to have a recycling bin and an organics bin and then not require weekly trash collection?

There is no state requirement requiring jurisdictions to provide for trash collection at any specified interval. Public Resources Code (PRC) section 40059(a)(1) provides that the frequency, means, and other aspects of solid waste handling are matters of local concern to be decided by the jurisdiction. 

Title 14 California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 17331 requires owners and tenants of residential and business properties to remove all trash every seven days except under certain prescribed conditions. This regulation does not apply to jurisdictions, although many jurisdictions provide weekly trash collection which allows owners and tenants to comply with this requirement.

Therefore, whether it is reasonable for jurisdictions to change their frequency of trash collection or have a recycling bin and organics bin is a local decision dependent upon local conditions such as whether the suggested frequency would cause health and safety problems or violate other local regulatory requirements. CalRecycle recommends that any decision in this regard include a discussion with the jurisdiction’s Local Enforcement Authority (LEA) and any solid waste facilities that might be impacted if not prepared to handle solid waste collected at longer service intervals.

Many jurisdictions considering a move to biweekly collection of waste have incorporated pilot programs to assist in making that decision. Although CalRecycle is not involved in the approval of such pilots, the Department strongly suggests that project proponents work closely with the LEA, monitor and collect data on problems that may arise from the project, and be prepared to modify the project, or if necessary, stop the project to address such issues. 

An example of such a pilot (PDF, 1.3 MB) conducted by the King County Department of Public Health can be found on the website.

25) Does the law prescribe where compostable organics have to be taken?

The statute does not prescribe where compostable organics have to be taken. Food waste is compostable, even if it is taken for uses such as anaerobic digestion or used for animal feed.

26) Are there examples of innovative local options for food waste diversion?

CalRecycle’s Food Scraps Management site includes multiple examples of programs that businesses and jurisdictions across the state are implementing. LAMD staff are available to peer match and work with jurisdictions on innovative programs.

27) Is there any ability to do a statewide PSA? We have a community that is staunchly opposed to siting new facilities, public education could help with that.

CalRecycle has developed customizable PSAs, a promotional kit, and a brochure that local jurisdictions can utilize. Additional sample resources have been provided by jurisdictions such as Alameda County, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles County--some of which can be directly customized and used directly from the website. See our Education/Outreach Toolkit.

28) How can CalRecycle and jurisdictions be contacted?

Contact individual CalRecycle Local Assistance and Market Development (LAMD) staff assigned a particular jurisdiction that work with waste related matters. Staff can be reached either via phone or email.

29) Is there a listserv to subscribe to for updates to ensure businesses are up to date with new and local information?

Yes, there is an AB 1826 listserv.

30) What is an “organic waste recycling facility?”

An “organic waste recycling facility” shall include compostable materials handling operations, as defined in paragraph (12) of subdivision (a) of Section 17852 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, and may include other facilities that recycle organic waste.

B. Business

1) What is the definition of a business and which businesses are required to comply with the new law?

The law defines a business as a commercial or public entity, including but not limited to a firm, partnership, proprietorship joint stock company, corporation, or association that is organized as a for-profit or nonprofit entity, strip mall (e.g., property complex containing two or more commercial entities), industrial facility, school, school district, California State University, community colleges, University of California, special district or a federal, state, local, regional agency or facility, or a multifamily residential dwelling.

A multifamily dwelling that consists of fewer than five units is not considered a business and is exempt from all provisions of the law. Please see question 14 under General for guidance on multifamily dwellings.

A business is required to comply with the new law if it generates a certain amount of waste after a specified date (See question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule).

2) Are industrial facilities/sites and waste generated at industrial facilities/sites subject to the law?

Yes, if an industrial facility or site generates an amount of organic waste or commercial solid waste (for example paper, plastic, metals, cardboard, etc.) that meets or exceeds the minimum threshold allowed for on that date (See question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule), then the facility is required to arrange for organic waste recycling services.

However, industrial waste as defined in section 17225.35 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations is not subject to the waste generation threshold. An industrial facility does not need to count its industrial waste toward its weekly generation of commercial solid waste.

Please note that some businesses may serve the industrial/manufacturing sector, but are not themselves industrial/manufacturing based operations. Examples may include packing and shipping companies that package products from manufacturers without further manufacturing, farms, or growers that produce food for processing at a plant. The waste produced by businesses serving the industrial/manufacturing sector would not be considered industrial waste.

3) Are state facilities subject to the law?

Yes, the definition of business includes public entities, such as federal, state and local facilities. State agencies would be required to divert the material types identified in question A. General 4 and according to the thresholds outlined in question 1 under General. State Agencies can comply with the new requirements by taking one or any combination of the following actions:

  • Source-separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that specifically includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  • Recycle organic waste onsite, or self-haul for organics recycling.
  • Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that includes mixed-waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
  • Sell or donate the generated organic waste.
  • Recycle the material on site, such as composting, anaerobic digestion, vermicomposting.

State agency representatives can contact their LAMD representative for additional information about the law and resources to assist the agency in developing its program. State agencies should report programs in the annual State Agency Waste Management Report due May 1 each year.

4) Many of the large generators subject to the law will be state facilities, such as colleges, prisons, Caltrans, and school districts. Local government has no authority over these large generators. For example, state facilities contract separately for garbage service. Will CalRecycle be responsible for ensuring that these generators comply with AB 1826?

CalRecycle recognizes that jurisdictions do not have the ability to require state agencies to recycle organics. However, jurisdictions should implement an organics recycling program to meet the needs of the business and just as with Mandatory Commercial Recycling requirements, jurisdictions are to provide annual education, outreach (in the form of electronic, print, and direct contact). If any business, including state facilities, do not recycle, the jurisdiction is required to conduct the annual monitoring to inform these entities annually about the law and how to recycle. Local Assistance and Market Development staff can assist with state facilities, including contacting them to inform them of the law and how they can recycle, setting up a meeting to discuss options for recycling, etc. In addition, a letter was sent to State facilities August 2015 outlining the requirements of AB 1826. If CalRecycle finds that a State agency/facility that falls under the AB 1826 requirements is not implementing an organics recycling program, then CalRecycle would be identifying State agencies found not to be implementing AB 1826 in the public agenda item that CalRecycle does every two years summarizing State agency compliance with AB 75. Also, CalRecycle would be following up and addressing it in the appropriate context, including identifying agencies/facilities that are not in compliance with a State law on its website, etc.

5) If the jurisdiction has a state agency that meets the definition of a large generator and is within a jurisdiction that has submitted the required documentation to be exempted from the law, is the state agency still required to recycle its organics, or is it included within the exemption?

PRC section 42649.81(5) provides for an exemption from the requirements of this law to extend to a business that is located in a rural jurisdiction that has submitted a resolution to CalRecycle for an exemption pursuant to PRC section 42649.82(2)(a). However, since this question is about a state agency, it should also be noted that state agencies are subject to other requirements in statute, including PRC sections 42649.2 and 42920-42921.5. More information about the waste diversion requirements for state agencies can be found on the Waste Management for State Agencies web page.

6) For a venue that hosts events, such as fairgrounds, convention centers, or parks, is the requirement to recycle on the venue or the event?

The requirement under AB 1826 to recycle organics is on the venue. In addition, there may be specific local requirements for venues to recycle organics at large events.

7) Are public housing complexes operated by local Public Housing Authorities subject to the law?

Yes, public housing complexes operated by local Public Housing Authorities are considered multifamily complexes. Complexes of 5 units or more that generate an amount of organic or commercial solid waste that meets or exceeds the minimum threshold allowed for on that date (See question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) are subject to the new law.

Please see question 14 under General for guidance on recycling organics for multifamily dwellings.

8) Are mobile home and RV parks subject to the law?

Sometimes. If mobile homes and RV parks and townhomes are considered single family residences by the jurisdiction, then they may not be subject to the requirements. However, jurisdictions are allowed to implement more stringent requirements. For example, for mobile home parks a jurisdiction may consider current service type and zoning to make the determination if mobile home parks should be subject to the law. If a mobile home park is serviced by the residential collection program, the jurisdiction may consider a mobile home park of this type is not subject to the law. However, if the mobile home park receives commercial service or has commercial zoning, the jurisdiction should work with its Attorney or Counsel to make the determination if the mobile home park is a covered entity and/or if an exemption can be granted.

For RV parks that operate on a rental basis and serve more of a recreational use, the jurisdiction might consider this a commercial business, and apply the waste disposal threshold to determine if the park is subject to the law.

9) Are hotels considered multifamily housing units? Specifically, are they able to claim exemption from food waste recycling?

While not specifically defined in AB 1826, hotels are distinguished from multi-family rental dwellings in the Department of Housing and Community Development statutes. Without something expressly defining them as a multi-family housing unit for the purposes of this exemption, hotels do not qualify for the exemption from food waste recycling.

10) Are senior citizen residences (nursing homes, etc.) considered a multifamily complex or a business?

A senior citizen residence would not fit the definition of a multifamily dwelling. A senior citizen residence would be viewed as a business that has control over its waste and recycling services. The living quarters are not under separate family units, and individual boarders would not be able to contract for their own recycling services.

11) Are school districts and municipal entities required to recycle?

Yes, public entities include schools and school districts and municipal entities, and, similar to private businesses that generate an amount of waste that meets or exceeds the minimum threshold allowed for on that date (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule), are required to arrange for organics recycling. The host jurisdiction Recycling Coordinator can be a resource to identify local organic recycling services. Also, schools and school districts may have the ability to contract for organic recycling services outside of the local franchise.

LAMD staff can provide assistance to the jurisdiction in working with school districts and other government agencies.

12) We have a boarding school and/or dormitory. Would this be considered multifamily and thus not required to recycle food waste?

A boarding school or dormitory would not fit under the definition of a multifamily dwelling. A boarding school would be viewed as a business that has control over its waste and recycling services. The living quarters are not separate family units, and individual boarders would not be able to contract for their own recycling services.

13) Will airports be included in the law, and how will air carriers be affected by the rule?

The statutory definition means any commercial entity and includes airports. Therefore, airports would be required to recycle organic waste generated on the airport’s premises using one or more of the methods outlined in the statute. In addition, airports can require airlines to handle the waste that is removed from the aircraft in California in a prescribed manner. The airlines would be required to comply with the airport’s requirements, provided there is no conflict with federal requirements for solid waste handling (e.g., the USDA requirement that food waste from international flights be incinerated or sterilized). In cases of conflict, federal law preempts state, local or private law.

14) Will cruise ships be affected by the law?

The guidance on air carriers also applies to cruise ships (see previous question).

15) Is packaged food (wrapped meat in the tray, salad in the bag, single-serve lunch, etc.) considered to be food waste? In other words, does a business have to unwrap them individually per 42649.81 (b) (1)?

Yes, the law requires businesses to recycle the food waste they generate; however, as mentioned above, the law allows for a variety of methods to meet the recycling requirements. Each businesses’ situation will be unique. The business should refer to its local jurisdiction’s or hauler’s requirements for separating packaging.

For example, in some jurisdictions businesses will have the option of subscribing to an organic waste recycling service that processes mixed waste. In this case the business’s waste hauler may collect recyclables, food waste with packaging, and other solid waste in a single bin and then sort the material at a facility that recycles each material type, including the organic portion of the waste. Businesses interested in this option should check with their waste hauler to see if it is available in their jurisdiction.

16) Are we allowed to throw away any food material? Or are we only responsible for diverting the amount that put us in the category of being considered a covered business (i.e. 8 cubic yards of material starting April 1, 2016)?

A covered business (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) shall recycle all of the organic waste that it generates. A business that is required to recycle organic waste will not be in compliance with the law if it only arranges for organic waste recycling for a portion of the organic waste it generates.

17) If a restaurant is generating eight cubic yards of fats, oils and grease (FOG) in 2016, but it also generates other food waste, does the other food waste need to be recycled or does the recycling of FOG suffice if that amount meets the threshold limit?

A covered business (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) will not be in compliance with the law if it only arranges for organic waste recycling for a portion of the organic waste it generates, e.g., in this case for only its FOG. 

18) In addition to food sales, our location also has an employee break room and an on-site café. There is some landscaping outside of the building handled by a landscaper who is contracted by our lessor, and our store has a garden section. Would organic material from all of these sources need to be recycled?

Yes, the organic material from all of these sources would need to be recycled.

A covered business (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) must recycle all of the organic waste that it generates. If a business generates both food and green waste, then it is required to divert both material types from all sources at the location.

A business that is required to recycle organic waste will not be in compliance with the law if it only arranges for organic waste recycling for some of the organic waste it generates. For example, a store with commercial green waste recycling would not be in compliance if it disposed of its food waste and other types of organic waste.

19) We are a large retailer/agency with multiple locations throughout the state. Must all locations have an organic recycling program in place by April 1, 2016?

Every individual location that meets the definition of a business (see question 1 under Business for definition of a business) and falls within the covered threshold for that year is required to implement an organic recycling program (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule). The organic waste recycling program that will be implemented at each location will be dependent on the options for recycling covered materials that are available. Some jurisdictions may not yet have an organic waste recycling program in place. If separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not offered through a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services. Outside of collection services offered by a waste hauler, other opportunities for organic waste diversion may exist, such as food donation or animal feed options for food material, landscaping service providers for green waste and landscape and pruning waste, and salvage companies for nonhazardous wood waste. If these types of services are also not available in the jurisdiction, the store site may need to wait until the local infrastructure is developed to address the needs of covered businesses. The jurisdiction will be required to provide education and outreach to covered businesses annually regarding its organic waste recycling program and other organic waste recycling opportunities.

20) Is the limit 8 cubic yards of waste per week in total from all of our retail/agency locations?

The thresholds apply to individual business sites.

21) Will stores be contacted directly by agencies?

Individual stores will be receiving education and outreach directly from the jurisdiction. Likewise, the jurisdiction or waste hauler will be requesting information from the stores individually to determine what organic waste recycling efforts are taking place.

22) Would we be able to develop companywide guidance that would apply to all of our covered stores throughout the State?

Individual jurisdictions may have different collection systems and/or specified requirements that may make it difficult to provide uniform guidance regarding how to set up organic recycling in all jurisdictions. However, the company can certainly assist in the effort to provide education and outreach regarding the law, and general guidance as to how to work with the lessor or directly with the waste hauler as deemed appropriate to implement the law. The company could also provide guidance to employees regarding material management practices to ensure effective implementation of the organic recycling program.

23) Should information about organics recycling from our individual stores be sent to our corporate headquarters?

If information was sent from the individual stores and compiled by a business’s headquarters, it may be possible to share with the jurisdiction contacts, but the law does not stipulate that a compilation of this type is required, nor would it ensure that the some jurisdictions would not have follow up with individual stores to obtain additional information specific to their monitoring program.

24) What options can businesses utilize to comply with the recycling requirements?

Businesses that are required to recycle their organic waste shall implement at least one, or a combination, of the following actions:

  1. Source separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to a basic level of organic waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  2. Recycle its own organic waste onsite or self-haul for recycling.
  3. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
  4. Sell or donate its recyclable organic waste.

Note: A business generating organic waste shall arrange for the recycling of covered materials in a manner that is consistent with state and local laws and requirements, including a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, applicable to the collection, handling, or recycling of solid and organic waste. However, if separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not offered through a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services, until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services.

25) We want to send our food waste for animal feed, and the farmer who will be accepting the material indicated there is a low tolerance for items such as food soiled paper. Since food waste is the bulk of the organic material generated on-site, and will not be going for composting, what are our options for handling the relatively small amount of food soiled paper generated on-site?

Please note that material collected for animal feed may be subject to California Department of Food and Agriculture guidelines related to swine garbage feeding. The business should work with the local jurisdiction to determine if there are any additional collection opportunities for covered materials not suitable for, in this scenario, animal feed or the recycling bin. If a feasible alternative cannot be identified, the jurisdiction may feel an exemption may be warranted. One exemption noted in the law (See question 46 under Business for exemptions outlined in the law) is for current implementation by a business of actions that result in the recycling of a significant portion of its organic waste. The business and the jurisdiction would need to evaluate the portion of soiled paper being disposed compared to the amount of other covered materials being diverted by the business to determine if this or any other exemption could be applied. See Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper.

26) Will the use of mixed waste processing be allowed as an acceptable way to process any of the organic materials defined in the law? Will there be any additional performance standards applied if a jurisdiction uses mixed waste processing as a method to divert organic material?

The law provides mixed waste processing as both a method for businesses to be in compliance, by subscribing to an organic waste processing service that includes mixed processing specifically to recycle organic waste, and as an option for jurisdictions to impose as a requirement for covered organic waste generators. Namely, the jurisdiction can require that organic waste go through a source separated or mixed processing system that diverts material from disposal. The law does not specify performance standards for the use of mixed waste processing as a way to divert organic material. It is an ongoing effort on the part of CalRecycle to provide guidance and direction on the topic of Material Recovery Facility (MRF) performance standards.

Note that regardless of the type of material recovery facility, the statute allows CalRecycle to request the recovery rate of the organic waste from the material recovery facilities that are utilized by the businesses, all information, methods, and calculations, and any additional performance data. This information may be requested to determine a jurisdiction’s good-faith effort.

27) Local jurisdictions may have franchise agreements that do not require organic recycling, but include a voluntary organic recycling program. Under the law, would businesses in that jurisdiction be required to subscribe to the recycling service?

Generally the law provides flexibility and allows businesses to recycle organic waste in one or any combination of the methods described below. However, the options available to a business may depend on the specific aspects of a franchise agreement that exists in the jurisdiction.

The law allows businesses to take any of the following actions to comply:

  1. Source separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to a basic level of organic waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  2. Recycle its own organic waste onsite or self-haul for recycling.
  3. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
  4. Sell or donate its recyclable organic waste.

If separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not offered through a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services.

28) Is there an exact minimum amount of recycling that is required of a business or complex with shared services? For example, if a complex just needs to recycle organics, would the smallest recycling container offered by a jurisdiction be adequate for the entire complex? Would the complex be compliant by recycling only yard waste while disposing all other materials?

No, there is not a minimum compliance threshold for a business or complex with shared services. Businesses and groups of businesses that generate an amount of waste that requires them to recycle organic waste (See question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) are required to arrange for services that collect all of the organic waste generated by the business or businesses.

Businesses need to determine which services are capable of handling all of their organic waste. For example, if green waste is the only organic waste the business generates, it could comply with the requirements of the law by arranging for just green waste recycling services.

29) What percentage of a business’s organic waste needs to be recycled in order to be in compliance?

A business that meets the waste generation threshold shall subscribe to an organic waste recycling service for all of the organic waste it generates.

30) There is a provision in the law that allows exemptions for businesses that generate less than one-half a cubic yard of organic waste per week. When does this provision take effect, and how will it be applied? What is the difference between this provision and the one that allows exemptions for businesses that do not generate as much as 1 cubic yard of organic waste per week?

The exemptions could be granted at any time but would most likely be applicable after 2019, when volume of solid waste generated as opposed to volume of organic waste generated is used to determine which businesses need to recycle organic waste. The law allows jurisdictions to grant an exemption for businesses that do not generate at least one-half cubic yard of organic waste per week. The jurisdiction could, on a case-by-case basis, increase the exemption threshold to extend to a business that generates as much as 1 cubic yard of organic waste per week. However, since it’s a higher exemption, the law requires that the jurisdiction demonstrate the need for the exemption to CalRecycle in writing. This should be done via the electronic annual report. The evaluation of any exemptions granted by the jurisdiction is one of the factors considered by CalRecycle in the determination of a “good faith effort” (see Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II).

The authority to exempt businesses generating as much as 1 cubic yard of organic waste per week will expire in 2020 if CalRecycle determines that the disposal of organic waste is not half of 2014 levels. If the department makes that determination, jurisdictions should discontinue those exemptions.

31) Currently, businesses that meet certain disposal amount thresholds must have two containers—one for trash and one for recycling. With AB 1826, would businesses that meet disposal and waste generation threshold need to have three containers—one for trash, one for recycling, and one for organics? Three 3-yard bins could be cumbersome, especially for businesses with space constraints. Can a business shift to two containers—one for trash and one for organics? There may be some businesses that are meeting MCR requirements by having two containers—one for trash and one for green waste. Do they have to make any changes for AB 1826?

In this scenario, the business is generating both recyclable materials and organic materials. Pursuant to PRC section 42649.2, a covered business meeting Mandatory Commercial Recycling requirements shall recycle. A covered business under AB 1826 would also need to arrange for organics recycling services. The business may select an organics recycling option that makes the most sense for that business. The law does not specifically require businesses to have separate container for organic waste and other recyclable materials. The on-site collection systems used will depend on the services offered in that jurisdiction, the needs of the business, and other considerations to address barriers to implement the program (i.e., what works at one location may not work at another). The jurisdiction’s recycling coordinator and waste hauler, in conjunction with the LAMD staff representative assigned to that jurisdiction, may have additional ideas for the business to consider in implementing an organic waste recycling program at their location. If an alternative cannot be identified and/or implemented, one exemption that can be determined by the jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis is to address a lack of sufficient space at businesses to provide additional organic material recycling bins. The law requires that the jurisdiction demonstrate the need for the exemption to the department in writing. This should be done via the Electronic Annual Report.

32) What material is considered included in the law (i.e. food waste, green waste, etc.)? Is it going to be required that a business recycle both food waste and green waste, or would recycling of one of the materials put the business in compliance?

The following are the types of organic waste identified in the law: food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. A covered business (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) shall recycle all of the organic waste that it generates. A business may or may not generate all of the five covered material types; however, for example, if it generates both food and green waste, then it is required to divert both.

Also, a business that is required to recycle organic waste will not be in compliance with the law if it only arranges for organic waste recycling for some of the organic waste it generates. For example, a restaurant with commercial green waste recycling would not be in compliance if it disposed of its food waste and other types of organic waste.

*Note that multifamily dwellings are not required to recycle food waste, including food-soiled paper; please see the answer to question 14 under General for guidance.

33) If a business generates an amount of waste that requires them to recycle their organic waste, does the service they arrange for need to recycle all five types of organic material identified in the law? What if the business does not generate all five types of material? If my business does not generate wood waste do I need to contract for an organic recycling service for wood waste?

Businesses are only expected to recycle the material they generate. Organic recycling programs and the needs of individual businesses will vary greatly. CalRecycle understands that each jurisdiction has its own unique set of circumstances, including different types of organic waste generators, and is in a better position to determine what programs will work best to recycle organic material.

For example, food processors that produce large amounts of food scraps (orange peels, corn husks, etc.) may be able to recycle all of their food waste by subscribing to a food waste collection service, or by recycling their food waste onsite. However, if the food processor also produces other types of organic waste, such as pruning waste, then the business would need to make arrangements for the pruning waste to be recycled as well, either as a part of its food waste collection service, on-site management, or through a separate recycling service.

Businesses should consult with their waste hauler and local jurisdiction to learn about organic recycling options in their area. In most cases a waste hauler that collects organic material will take the material to a facility or facilities that are capable of recycling all types of organic material.

34) If a business has a certain amount of organics, does all of the organic material have to go to the same place, by the same collection service, for processing?

The amount of organics recycling service may not be the same as the amount of material that the business generates. For example, a business may generate 8 cubic yards of organic material. Of that, 2 cubic yards of green waste may already be being collected by a landscaper. Thus, the business would need only 6 cubic yards of organics recycling service. In this example, the organic material would be collected by two service providers—the landscaper and the franchise hauler—and the material might be processed and recycled at different locations.

35) Can a business donate or sell its organics and still be in compliance?

Yes, it is an existing right of businesses to donate or sell their organic material.

36) Are composting, anaerobic digestion, and animal feed acceptable options?

Yes.

37) My business uses an on-site food waste liquefier, and the effluent is discharged into the sewer system. Would use of this system put my business in compliance? If not, would there be an option for managing the effluent that would put my business in compliance with the law?

One option for businesses to comply with the law is to recycle their own organic waste on site. While some products may be advertised as “in compliance with AB 1826” the use of an on-site liquefier would only be in compliance with AB 1826 if the end product is sent to a composting, anaerobic digestion, or similar facility for further recycling.

Please refer to the CalRecycle liquefier guidance web page for more information.

38) My business uses an on-site food waste dehydrator. Would use of this system put my business in compliance? If not, would there be an option for managing the dehydrated food material that would put my business in compliance with the law?

One option for businesses to comply with the law is to recycle their own organic waste on site. CalRecycle has provided guidance regarding food waste dehydrators, and considerations for the material generated. While some products may be advertised as “in compliance with AB 1826,” the use of an on-site dehydrator would only be in compliance with AB 1826 if the end product is sent to a compost, anaerobic digestion, or similar facility for further recycling.

39) Is pyrolysis considered a form of recycling under the law?

No. Statute PRC Section 40192(b) and Section 40201 defines pyrolysis as a form of transformation. Transformation is a form of solid waste disposal, and as such is not considered a form of recycling.

40) Is biomass conversion considered a form of recycling under the law?

Biomass conversion is not a form of disposal, and therefore can be considered an acceptable process for recycling organic waste. The Public Resources Code [PRC Section 40106 (a)-(c)] limits biomass feedstock to the following materials:

  1. Agricultural crop residues.
  2. Bark, lawn, yard, and garden clippings.
  3. Leaves, silvicultural residue, and tree and brush pruning.
  4. Wood, wood chips, and wood waste.
  5. Nonrecyclable pulp or nonrecyclable paper materials.

To the extent the organic material a business generates can be categorized as one or more of the five materials a biomass facility can accept, sending the material to a biomass conversion facility would be considered a form of recycling.

41) Would producing biogas from organic materials through an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process meet the requirements of AB 1826 if it is not also possible to utilize the digestate (solid and/or liquid) in a manner that qualifies for diversion? In other words, if the digestate contains contaminants that require the material be sent to a landfill or transformation facility, have we still met the requirements of AB 1826?

It is likely acceptable if the digestate contains contaminants that require some of the material to be sent to a landfill or transformation facility. However, consult with the local jurisdiction regarding what is acceptable.

42) What small scale composting exemptions are allowed under revised composting regulations? This could help in relation to schools interested in on-site composting.

The current adopted regulations related to compostable materials transfer/processing, operative January 1, 2016, include an exclusion that would allow the composting of green material, food material, and vegetative food material if the total amount of feedstock and compost on-site at any one time does not exceed 100 cubic yards and 500 square feet. Per the Initial Statement of Reasons accompanying the proposed regulations, the proposed exclusion is designed to allow schools, community gardens, businesses, and other similar entities to compost food material without having to generate the material on-site, and does not limit the amount of material that can be sold or given away. Local jurisdictions can still, however, regulate these activities more stringently if deemed appropriate.

43) In the case of a commercial or multifamily complex that has a landscaped area, will there be some sort of methodology or calculator that will convert the square footage of landscaped areas into the volume of organic waste generation so we can match that volume with the prescribed threshold levels for mandatory participation?

CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) to assist in identifying businesses that meet the minimum waste generation threshold. CalRecycle used data from the 2014 waste characterization study and other data sources to help a jurisdiction determine the types of businesses that would typically generate an amount of organic waste that requires them to subscribe to organic recycling services under the law. The tool provides the number of employees in each business group that would potentially generate a given threshold amount. With this information, jurisdictions need to cross check the information with the existing business data for their community to determine which businesses are covered under the requirement. In addition, the Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB) has also been developed to assist jurisdictions in identifying covered generators based on solid waste collection service levels.

Additional tools that may assist in determining the amount of green material generated from turf areas include "Grasscycling in California" (PDF, 66 KB) (Harivandi, M. A., et al. California Turfgrass Culture, Vol. 46, Nos. 1 and 2, 1996) and "Reusing Turfgrass Clippings To Improve Turfgrass Health and Performance" (PDF, 1.1 MB) (Hartin, Janet, and J. Michael Henry. University of California Cooperative Extension).

For multifamily complexes, CalRecycle acknowledges that it is difficult to determine which complexes are generating 8 or 4 cubic yards per week of organic waste (excluding food waste) without conducting on-site waste assessments. Therefore, CalRecycle suggests that jurisdictions conduct organics recycling outreach, education, and monitoring for all multifamily complexes with five or more units that generate organic waste. Jurisdictions may also be able to phase in monitoring efforts if needed.

For the 2019 threshold of 4 cubic yards per week of solid waste (and onward), the waste hauler should be able to provide the volume of waste service the business receives on a weekly basis, if not known by the business.

44) If a landscaper that services a multifamily dwelling is taking the dwelling’s green waste to a landfill for ADC now, the multifamily dwelling currently would be in compliance with AB 1826 because ADC is considered diversion. After the year 2020, pursuant to AB 1594 when ADC is no longer considered as diversion, would the landscaper have to take the green waste to a facility (e.g., composting/AD) other than the landfill?

Correct, using green waste as ADC is statutorily classified as disposal starting in 2020. Commencing in 2020, per Assembly Bill (AB) 1594 (Williams, Chapter 719, Statutes of 2014), if the landscaper takes the green waste to a landfill for use as ADC or any other facility that would then take the material to a landfill, the multifamily dwelling will not be recycling the green waste as required.

AB 1826 also requires covered businesses that contract for green waste services to stipulate in the landscaping contract that the landscaper will recycle the green waste it collects from the business/multifamily complex. The contract is required to stipulate that the green waste will be recycled, so the landscaper would be breaching the contract if it takes the green waste to instead be used as ADC in the year 2020 onward. If the landscaper is taking the material to a transfer station which then takes the green waste to a landfill for ADC, the landscaper would need to take the material to a different facility that recycles the green waste in the year 2020 onward.

45) Who is responsible for providing outreach, education, and monitoring regarding the law to individual tenants of an apartment complex?

It is the jurisdiction’s responsibility to provide education and outreach to the apartment owners and to monitor the recycling activities at each complex that is required to recycle organic waste as a result of its weekly waste generation (see question 1 under General for thresholds). The property owner, management company, hauler, or jurisdiction can prepare and provide information about the organics recycling program to the tenants, for example including a flyer as part of the welcome package, so that tenants know the opportunity is available. The jurisdiction can assess if the information the property owner or management company provides, for example signage, lease language, welcome package flyer, etc. is sufficient to inform residents about the program. The jurisdiction and/or hauler can provide property owners and/or management companies with sample outreach materials that may assist in getting the word out to tenants of a multifamily complex.

46) Can businesses apply for an exemption from the requirements of the bill?

Jurisdictions can exempt businesses and multifamily complexes on a case-by-case basis from the requirements of the law if the business or multifamily complex meets any of the following criteria:

  1. Lack of sufficient space at a multifamily complex or business to provide additional organic material recycling bins.
  2. The current implementation of actions (such as food donation) that result in the recycling of a significant portion of organic waste.
  3. Limited-term exemptions for extraordinary and unforeseen events.
  4. The business or group of businesses does not generate at least one-half of a cubic yard of organic waste per week.
  5. The business or group of businesses does not generate at least one cubic yard of organic waste per week, if the local jurisdiction provides CalRecycle with information that explains the need for this higher exemption (see following Note**)

Note: If after January 2020 CalRecycle determines that the state did not reduce statewide disposal of organic waste by half, a jurisdiction will no longer be allowed to grant exemptions to businesses that generate 1 cubic yard of organic waste per week.

47) Our agency has several work sites that do not typically generate enough waste to come under the organic recycling requirements. However, the sites periodically have special events, for example construction projects, that would generate enough waste in a given week to meet the minimum thresholds outlined in the law. Are these sites subject to the law?

During the time period that a site generates an amount of waste that exceeds the minimum threshold (See question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule), the business will need to arrange for organic recycling services. In addition, if each site has individual waste collection, then each site operated by a business or agency would be considered separately in determining whether the law is applicable. (See next question regarding temporary waste generating activities).

48) Are there any exemptions for temporary waste generating activities, such as filming locations, special events, seasonal store sites, etc.?

There are no exemptions for temporary activities such as filming locations, special events, seasonal store sites, etc. Businesses engaged in temporary activities such as these should contact the local jurisdiction to determine how best to proceed with recycling organic material.

Temporary waste generating activities may already be tracked by the jurisdiction. Special event licenses and filming permits, for example, may be required for operations of this type. Temporary retail sites may also be tracked through the jurisdiction’s Business License or Tax Collection office. The jurisdiction contact(s) tasked with implementing identification, education, outreach, and monitoring efforts in relation to the mandatory commercial recycling program can work with other departments to determine the best way to provide education and outreach to temporary commercial waste generators, including identifying recycling opportunities, and monitoring the results of these efforts. It should be noted that some temporary uses, such as filming locations, may currently have contracts to handle their organics recyclable material through the permanent studio site.

Additional guidance regarding recycling at special events and location film shooting can be found on the Venues and Events Waste Reduction page. (Please also see previous question regarding temporary sites).

49) I own a business that usually generates 3 cubic yards of refuse per week, but occasionally uses a 6-cubic yard container to collect its own street sweepings. Would my business be expected to recycle this material?

It depends on the date (see answer to question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule). If this situation occurs after 2019, then the business would exceed the 4 cubic yards per week solid waste threshold and need to arrange for organic waste recycling services for the time that it generates the excess waste. If this situation occurs prior to 2019, it would depend on the amount of organic waste the business generates. (See previous two questions regarding recycling of organic material on a temporary basis).

50) When a property management company pays for waste services at a strip center or large building, how does one determine which business is accountable when it is sharing bins with other businesses?

If a group of businesses arranges for waste services together, or has its waste services provided by a property management company, the cumulative total of the waste generated by the businesses will determine whether the group is subject to the organic recycling requirements, or eligible for exemptions. Businesses should contact their local recycling coordinator. A few sample scenarios are outlined below for guidance:

Scenario 1. If, after January 1, 2017, a group of businesses with shared refuse containers (e.g., located in a strip mall or business park) collectively generates 9 cubic yard of solid waste per week, of which 4 cubic yards is organic waste, the group would need to arrange for organic recycling services for its organic waste. The threshold requirement for January 1, 2017, is 4 cubic yards of organic material per week and this group is generating 4 cubic yards per week of organic material.

Scenario 2. If, after January 1, 2019, a group of businesses with shared refuse containers (e.g., located in a strip mall or business park) collectively generates and/or subscribes to waste services for 5 cubic yards of solid waste per week, the group would need to arrange for organic recycling services for its organic waste. The threshold requirement for January 1, 2019, is 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week.

Scenario 3. If, after January 1, 2019, a group of businesses with shared refuse containers (e.g., located in a strip mall or business park) collectively generates 3 cubic yards of waste per week, the group would not need to arrange for organic recycling services. The threshold requirement for January 1, 2019, is 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week.

Scenario 4. After January 1, 2019, a building owner provides waste collection services to all of the commercial tenants in his/her building as a part of their leases and they all share the same collection bin(s). The businesses in the building generate a total of 10 cubic yards of solid waste per week. Even though each business may not generate 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week, the businesses and building owner are not eligible for an exemption based on waste generation because the cumulative generation exceeds the minimum generation requirements for an exemption.

51) If there is a business that has an extensive organics recycling program located in a strip mall, would that business be held liable if the other tenants in the strip mall that generate organics are not recycling their organics?

No, the business would not be held liable if the other tenants in the strip mall are not recycling organics. However, as part of its monitoring program, the local jurisdiction may notify the businesses in the strip mall that are not recycling organics of the state requirement to recycle and how they can recycle organics.

52) What information will businesses need to provide and who will it be provided to in order to demonstrate compliance?

AB 1826 does not require businesses to keep numerical data about recycled organic materials, but local jurisdictions may choose to enact more stringent requirements to track organic recycling activities. Thus, independent of this law, information about organic recycling efforts may be requested by the jurisdiction, or by haulers or other agencies assigned to work with businesses on behalf of the jurisdiction. The information requested will assist the jurisdiction in determining the effectiveness of its education, outreach, and monitoring efforts. The jurisdiction may want to know more about what types of materials the business generates and the materials that are being recycled or otherwise diverted from disposal.

53) Once we implement our organic waste recycling program, who will tell us if our efforts meet the requirements of the law? Will there be an audit?

The law does not stipulate that audits must be conducted in order to determine compliance. A covered business is responsible for arranging for organic waste recycling services by taking at least one of the following actions:

  1. Source-separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to a basic level of organic waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  2. Recycle its organic waste onsite or self-haul its own organic waste for recycling.
  3. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed-waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
  4. Sell or donate its recyclable organic waste.

The host jurisdiction will help identify covered businesses and determine if they are recycling, and if not, inform them of the law and how to recycle and provide education and outreach regarding options to implement the law. A jurisdiction may implement more stringent requirements than outlined in the law regarding how a business’s organic waste recycling program is implemented and/or monitored.

54) What support will be provided to businesses (e.g. processing facility locations, toolkits)?

Materials are posted on the Mandatory Commerical Organics Recycling webpage. CalRecycle staff have been meeting with industry groups to answer questions about the law and to partner with them to disseminate information to businesses. Business can use the Where to Recycle map or FacIT facility database for identifying locations to recycle. Local jurisdictions will be developing and sharing additional resources with affected businesses.

55) Is there information to promote food waste reduction options to businesses?

CalRecycle provides information about food waste prevention such as food banks, renderers, and commercial generators handling food waste. Another great resource for food waste reduction and prevention information is US EPA’s website. CalRecycle also provides information about how schools can reduce food waste by using an offer vs. serve strategy.

C. Jurisdiction

1) Are jurisdictions required to get their City Council or County Board of Supervisors to approve their organic waste recycling plan in the form of an ordinance or City resolution?

No, getting approval for an organic waste recycling plan is not required. However, if the jurisdiction does not currently have a commercial organics recycling program, then approval by the City Council or Board of Supervisors may be necessary to address new or expanded services to businesses. Additionally, jurisdictions are required to implement an organic waste recycling program on and after January 1, 2016, and that program may include an ordinance that addresses organic waste recycling, if the jurisdiction determines that an ordinance is appropriate.

LAMD staff will be available to address whether the jurisdiction’s proposed activities for education, outreach, identification and monitoring will be acceptable to CalRecycle. LAMD staff will also be available to discuss with each jurisdiction ideas on how it might utilize existing Mandatory Commercial Recycling education, outreach, identification, and monitoring activities. Please contact your LAMD representative for assistance.

2) Could a jurisdiction implement an ordinance that requires self-haulers to use a specific materials recovery facility?

The jurisdiction should consult with its attorney or counsel to address this matter.

3) Do jurisdictions need to have a franchise agreement for organic recycling collection services to comply with the law?

No, the statute does not require a jurisdiction to have a franchise agreement for organics recycling collection services. The requirement is that a jurisdiction implement an organic waste recycling program appropriate for that jurisdiction that is designed specifically to divert commercial organic waste.

4) Will existing franchises need to be amended to comply with this law?

It will be up to the local jurisdiction to make such a determination. For example, jurisdictions may find that the identification, education, outreach, and/or monitoring programs in their current contracts can meet their needs. In such instances, jurisdictions may not need to amend the franchise agreement. Conversely, a jurisdiction may find that organics recycling services are needed and thus may need to amend the franchise agreement.

5) My franchise agreement already requires organic recycling service be provided to any business that requests it, but my hauler has indicated that it will need a significant rate increase to comply with the law. What additional requirements will be placed on the hauler that would result in cost increases?

The law is not directed towards haulers. Businesses are required to recycle, and jurisdictions are required to provide education, outreach, and monitoring to the businesses. Jurisdictions will determine how best to implement their education, outreach, and monitoring programs and whether they would need to place additional requirements upon the haulers and/or businesses in order to comply with the law. The law provides flexibility and does not dictate how a jurisdiction shall implement a program.

6) How would a jurisdiction determine if certain generators are meeting or exceeding the threshold level(s) if those generator(s) are subscribing to mixed garbage service? For example if the tenants in a strip center are producing 20 cubic yards of mixed garbage per week, how would a jurisdiction determine if they meet the threshold level of 8 cubic yards or more of organic waste generated by April 1, 2016?

The law requires that businesses that meet certain thresholds recycle the organics they generate. In the scenario of a strip mall, the individual businesses may not meet the required threshold based on the amount of organic waste generated. Also, there may be some businesses in the strip mall that don’t generate organic material at all and thus are not subject to AB 1826. The jurisdiction will need to assist the businesses and determine what service is needed to meet the needs of the businesses that generate organic materials.

For the initial thresholds that are based on the amount of organic waste generated (i.e. 8 cubic yards of organic materials per week and 4 cubic yards of organic materials per week), CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) for stakeholders to identify businesses that generate the specified amounts of organic materials. The jurisdiction may have access to other sources of information, such as business licenses or county food handling permits, that may help identify covered businesses through 2018. The Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB) uses solid waste service information to assist in determining businesses subject to the law.

For the 2019 threshold of 4 cubic yards per week of solid waste and onward, jurisdictions should be able to use the same data sources that were utilized to identify covered parties under Mandatory Commercial Recycling (MCR) requirements, such as hauler reports.

7) What if some of the generation is food waste but some is green waste, and the green waste is hauled away by a contracted service (such as a strip center that generates 20 cubic yards of materials by April 1, 2016)? How would a jurisdiction determine if 4 cubic yards of the 20 yards is food waste and 4 cubic yards is green waste if the green waste is placed in a dumpster or hauled away by a commercial gardening service?

CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) to assist in identifying businesses that meet the minimum waste generation threshold. CalRecycle used data from the 2014 waste characterization study and other data sources to help a jurisdiction determine the types of businesses that would typically generate an amount of organic waste that requires them to subscribe to organic recycling services under the law. The tool provides the number of employees in each business group that would potentially generate a given threshold amount. The Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB) uses business type and solid waste service level to determine the service level that would most likely be generating 8 cubic yards or 4 cubic yards of material. In the example above, using these tools should give the jurisdiction a sense of the likelihood that the business is generating a combined total of organic waste in excess of the applicable threshold. However, additional verification, through the jurisdiction’s monitoring process, may be needed to determine what the businesses are already diverting, e.g., in this scenario green waste, and what services they need to divert the food waste. While using the tools would not give a full picture of the diversion that may already be taking place, it is one way to narrow the list of potential businesses to target through the jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program.

8) Since the identification of businesses may be based on estimates of organic waste generated, and the covered materials may be handled by multiple sources (landscapers, rendering, waste haulers, etc.) who do not report to the jurisdiction, how do we identify covered entities and monitor the program if actual data cannot be obtained?

Information about the CalRecycle generator identification tool can be found in question 17 under General. Additional resources were shared at the April 2015 workshops to assist jurisdictions in identifying covered entities.

Jurisdictions could also do the outreach/education/monitoring to all businesses and multifamily complexes or those that meet the Mandatory Commercial Recycling thresholds, regardless of the actual organic generation. It may be more cost-effective in the long-run to do outreach and education to a broader group rather than those that fall in the 2016 and 2017 threshold, and jurisdictions may want to consider the economies of scale of providing services to more than the year 1 and 2 (2016 and 2017, respectively) regulated entities. The law allows for a more stringent approach.

Once potential covered businesses are identified, using the CalRecycle Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB), Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB), or other resources identified by the jurisdiction, the jurisdiction’s monitoring efforts will verify if the businesses are in fact covered under the law and determine if organic waste recycling is in place at these locations. It is important to note that some jurisdictions may not have any generators that meet the initial organics generation-based thresholds. Methods to verify if a business generates covered materials in sufficient quantity to classify it as a covered entity could be through organic waste recyclers that may already be serving the businesses, the solid waste hauler (which may have information about materials being disposed), or directly from the business itself. These sources may be able to provide information about materials that are being recycled and those that are still being thrown away. For materials being thrown away, the jurisdiction may be able to provide follow-up assistance to the business to identify additional diversion opportunities.

For covered businesses and multifamily complexes that are found to not be recycling organic materials, the jurisdiction would include as part of its monitoring program targeted efforts to reach out to these businesses to notify them about the law and how to comply. Some examples may include sending a letter, contacting the business via phone, or setting up an on-site meeting with the business. If the jurisdiction has an enforcement program for noncompliant businesses, the additional efforts the jurisdiction took that year to enforce its policy/ordinance would be part of monitoring.

9) Does the law allow businesses, such as restaurants, to arrange for their own recycling services for organic waste, outside of a jurisdiction’s franchise agreement? If so, when would this take effect?

The law requires a business generating organic waste to recycle its organic waste in a manner that is consistent with state and local law, including local franchise agreements. However, if a jurisdiction’s franchise agreement does not include organic waste recycling services, a local business that generates organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection. The local business would still be required to comply with other waste collection services that are included in the franchise agreement. State law does not require any business to arrange for organic recycling services prior to April 1, 2016.

It is important to verify the latest local requirements, as a jurisdiction could have updated its franchise agreement to include organic waste recycling.

10) Will my city/county need to adopt a mandatory commercial organic recycling ordinance?

No. Some communities may choose to adopt a mandatory commercial organic recycling ordinance; however, an ordinance is not required. Approaches to enforcement might include:

  1. Requiring businesses to participate in organic recycling services that are already available in the city or county.
  2. Requiring businesses to use a mixed waste processing facility.
  3. Implementing a mandatory organic recycling program by amending a franchise agreement or adopting an ordinance.

11) If my jurisdiction already has an ordinance in place requiring organic recycling for commercial and/or multifamily customers, but the thresholds are higher than those specified in legislation and the supporting law, will we need to modify our ordinance?

Jurisdictions are responsible for ensuring that, at a minimum, businesses subject to the thresholds established in state law are recycling their organic material, regardless of any ordinance the jurisdiction previously adopted.

The law does not require jurisdictions to amend their local ordinance to reflect the thresholds established by AB 1826, but jurisdictions shall ensure the businesses subject to the law are recycling their organic material. If the jurisdiction’s thresholds are less stringent than the law, then they will at a minimum need to educate and inform the businesses about the difference; in such case the jurisdiction may also decide to revise its ordinance to reflect statute.

Nothing in the law prevents a jurisdiction from adopting and implementing a policy that is more stringent than state statute.

12) Is there a rural exemption in the law?

Yes, the law allows certain rural counties, and/or cities and regional agencies that are located entirely within a rural county/counties, to be exempt from the law under the following conditions:

  1. The total population of the county is less than 70,000 persons.
  2. The County or City adopts a resolution citing a need for the exemption and submits the resolution to CalRecycle by June 2015.

For a list of counties with a population of less than 70,000 and a sample resolution please visit the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Local Government page.

The exemption for rural counties is subject to expiration in 2020 if CalRecycle determines that statewide disposal of organics has not decreased by half of disposal levels in 2014.

13) Are regional agencies that serve multiple counties eligible for a rural exemption?

It depends. If each individual county the regional agency serves has a population of less than 70,000, the regional agency can adopt and submit a resolution to CalRecycle for an exemption. If a regional agency operates in multiple counties, and one of the counties has a population of more than 70,000 persons, the regional agency is not eligible for an exemption.

14) What if the population of the area the regional agency serves is less than 70,000? Could that regional agency be eligible for a rural exemption?

Only if the individual population of each county served by the regional agency is less than 70,000 persons. Thus, if the regional agency serves a portion of the county, and the population of the area served by the regional agency is less than 70,000, but the county as a whole is more than 70,000, the regional agency could not apply for an exemption.

15) Can an individual jurisdiction in a rural county apply for an exemption even if the rural county it operates in has opted not to apply for an exemption?

Yes, if a jurisdiction is a city located in a rural county, the city council may adopt a resolution to exempt itself from the law, regardless of the county’s decision to adopt such a resolution.

16) Many restaurant patrons enjoy their food and beverages at work, home, and other locations other than the point of purchase. We have found residential and commercial recycling programs can be incongruent. Does the law provide any guidance related to residential organic recycling?

Jurisdictions may want to consider current programs in place that serve residents and interface with commercial waste programs. There is a nexus between the material generated at business locations (for example food products, product packaging, carryout bags and take-out boxes) that may become waste at another business location (such as a workplace) or at the customer’s residence. An opportunity may exist in the development of education and outreach methodologies, depending on existing infrastructure and resources, to assist customers in making better decisions about managing materials that leave a business location.

17) Please clarify what is meant by authorizing a local agency to charge and collect a fee from an organic waste generator to recover the local agency’s costs incurred in complying with the commercial solid waste recycling program requirements.

AB 1826’s fee provision is separate from authorization for jurisdictions to charge a fee for implementing its recycling programs under the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 (Chapter 1095, Statutes of 1989 [Sher, AB 939]). AB 1826 provides that if a jurisdiction already has an organic recycling program in place that meets the requirements, it is not necessary to implement an additional program. If, however, the jurisdiction needs to implement a new program in order to comply with AB 1826, then it is authorized to charge a new program fee to cover the costs of the new program. Similarly, if a jurisdiction has to make additions to an existing organic waste recycling program in order to comply with the mandatory recycling laws, it is authorized to charge a program fee for the costs of implementing the additional program features. In such an instance, depending on the nature and extent of the additional features, it may be advisable for a jurisdiction to create a new program and charge a fee for the implementation costs.

18) Will CalRecycle help jurisdictions figure out which businesses fall under each threshold?

CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) to assist in identifying businesses that meet the minimum waste generation threshold. CalRecycle used data from the 2014 waste characterization study and other data sources to help a jurisdiction determine the types of businesses that would typically generate an amount of organic waste that requires them to subscribe to organic recycling services under the law. A Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB) has also been developed to utilize existing account information to determine if a business would be subject to the law. Jurisdictions could also do the outreach/education/monitoring to all businesses and multifamily complexes or those that meet the Mandatory Commercial Recycling thresholds, regardless of the actual organic generation. It may be more cost-effective in the long-run to do outreach and education to a broader group rather than those that fall in the 2016 and 2017 threshold, and jurisdictions may want to consider the economies of scale of providing services to more than the year 1 and 2 (2016 and 2017, respectively) regulated entities. The law allows for a more stringent approach.

19) In rural or semi-rural jurisdictions where identification of generators is easier, do we need a formal approach for identification? We know who they are now. Can we just provide CalRecycle the list?

Yes, if the jurisdiction already knows which businesses are regulated the jurisdiction can provide that information to CalRecycle, and it does not need to do another formal approach to identify businesses.

20) The law states that my jurisdiction shall implement a program in place on and after January 1, 2016. Does this mean that my program must be fully implemented by January 1, 2016?

Jurisdictions will be able to phase in some aspects of their program, but the jurisdictions should communicate and explain their rationale for phasing in aspects of their program in their annual report to CalRecycle.

Due to the amount of organics generated by the commercial sector, the jurisdiction may be able to phase in organics recycling services. For example, some jurisdictions may not have any businesses that generate 8 cubic yards per week of organics, but have businesses that generate 4 cubic yards per week of organics. These jurisdictions may not need to implement organics recycling services until 2017. For jurisdictions that do not have businesses that generate 4 cubic yards per week of organics and have businesses that generate 4 cubic yards per week of trash, they may not need to implement organics recycling services until 2019.

Jurisdictions may also need to phase in implementation of other aspects of their organic waste recycling program, including organics recycling services, identifying covered businesses, providing education and outreach, and monitoring the implementation of the law, due to issues such as a large number of businesses, lack of infrastructure, and/or limited staffing or funds. Jurisdictions should communicate to their LAMD representative if there are aspects of their program that need to be phased in, to ensure that the approach will be acceptable. During the jurisdiction review (every 2 or 4 years depending on the jurisdiction), CalRecycle will consider the challenges and barriers that prevented a jurisdiction from fully implementing the organic waste recycling program in its determination of a "good faith effort" finding (see Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II). In addition, the jurisdiction’s LAMD representative may be able to provide additional tools and resources to help the jurisdiction address the barriers affecting the implementation of the organic recycling program.

21) Would a jurisdiction be able to implement education, outreach, identification, and monitoring to different generator types, areas of the jurisdiction, etc., using a phased-in approach, or do jurisdictions need to ensure that education, outreach, identification, and monitoring efforts to address all businesses in the jurisdiction are in place by January 1, 2016?

Jurisdictions can phase in their education, outreach, and monitoring efforts in a way that mirrors the law's implementation schedule and threshold (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule). For example, in 2016, a jurisdiction can choose to focus its efforts exclusively on large businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week. Jurisdictions should be prepared to expand their efforts as additional generators are required to recycle organics in subsequent years. Jurisdictions should communicate to their LAMD representative if there are aspects of their program that need to be phased in, to ensure that the approach will be acceptable.

22) Is a web page with information about the mandatory organic recycling requirement enough?

The jurisdiction should demonstrate a real effort to develop and implement an effective outreach program. Utilizing one form of electronic media may not be sufficient; other forms of education, such as print and direct contact, will likely be necessary to effectively communicate to businesses. Regarding websites, information should be placed on the jurisdiction’s website (and the franchise hauler’s website, if applicable) that informs businesses of the state requirement to recycle and explains how businesses can recycle organic waste in the jurisdiction. For example, information placed on the website might include contact information for the franchise hauler for service information, locations to recyclers that will accept organic materials, information about mixed waste processing options versus source-separated recycling options, etc.

In addition to a web page, the jurisdiction may consider sending emails to businesses. Some jurisdictions are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to communicate with businesses. A jurisdiction might also collaborate with local business organizations to help send out emails to their members or place information in their newsletters or on their websites.

For any type of outreach methodology, the jurisdiction will need to assess the tool(s) needed to convey the message to businesses and reach the businesses in their communities. As part of the jurisdiction’s formal review, CalRecycle will be looking to make sure the education, outreach, identification, and monitoring programs are being implemented, but will also be taking into account the jurisdiction's specific circumstances.

23) Will there be a template for outreach material (i.e. flyers, letters) that we will be able to customize and send to businesses and multifamily complexes, similar to what the Institute for Local Government did for AB 341?

CalRecycle has developed a template brochure that jurisdictions and haulers can customize to use with businesses and multifamily complexes. Additional outreach materials, including PSA messages and sample materials from jurisdictions have been posted as part of an education and outreach toolkit. If any other templates are needed, please email LAMD@calrecycle.ca.gov.

24) I have been unsuccessful in the past in making contact with the commercial sector. Are there any recommendations for making contact with businesses?

Direct contact with the business community will ensure that the businesses are informed of the requirement to recycle organics. CalRecycle encourages jurisdictions to include information about the state requirement to recycle organics as part of any activities in which the jurisdiction, hauler(s), and/or community organizations make direct contact with businesses.

Examples of direct contact include presenting at business forums, such as the area chamber of commerce, having the hauler talk to the business, and/or providing technical assistance through waste assessments to explain the state requirement and how businesses can recycle organics in the jurisdiction.

Always provide a contact person that businesses can call to ask follow-up questions. Community groups frequently engage in outreach to small businesses. They might be able to contact businesses in a particular area and meet one on one with businesses to explain how they can recycle organics in the community and inform the businesses of the state requirement to recycle organics.

The jurisdiction’s hauler or haulers may already contact businesses directly through their sales staff or staff that conduct waste assessments for businesses. The hauler can also assist to inform the businesses that are not currently recycling about the state requirement to recycle organics and explain how they can recycle organics. The hauler can then report back to the jurisdiction on those businesses that are not currently recycling organics. In some jurisdictions, the hauler may already be providing this type of information to the jurisdiction.

Another approach is to determine whether the jurisdiction’s staff that is already working with businesses can provide information on the organics recycling requirement. For example, some communities may have their health and/or building inspectors inform businesses as they are working with them, or the local recycling coordinator may conduct waste assessments and can include information about the state requirement to recycle organics.

25) What are some suggestions on how a jurisdiction should handle businesses that are recalcitrant in providing information on self-hauling and other recycling activities not provided by the jurisdiction’s franchised/permitted hauler?

If a jurisdiction is having difficulty collecting information from businesses that self-haul, the jurisdiction could develop requirements such as requiring those businesses to complete and retain a form certifying that they are recycling organic material. Some businesses already track this information to demonstrate compliance with internal environmental procedures or as part of other state programs.

26) What if there are no organic material diversion facilities or service providers in the region?

The jurisdiction should identify barriers to siting new or expanded compostable materials handling operations, as defined in paragraph (12) of subdivision (a) of Section 17852 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, and specify a plan to overcome those barriers that are within the control of the local jurisdiction. This information should be provided annually to CalRecycle beginning with the annual report submitted August 1, 2017.

27) There is only one option for food waste composting within a reasonable distance of our jurisdiction. We have historically had a difficult time negotiating an agreement with this facility. What are our options?

The jurisdiction should explain to CalRecycle in the Electronic Annual Report (starting with the 2016 annual report, due August 1, 2017) what the barriers or challenges are and what it is doing to try to address them. For example, the jurisdiction may be working with the existing composting facility to ensure the facility can process a sufficient volume of material to meet the needs of its users, and providing education and outreach to organic waste generators to reduce contamination and ensure better quality feedstock. Additionally, the jurisdiction may be collaborating with other nearby jurisdictions that are siting or expanding diversion facilities, such as anaerobic digestion or composting, or the jurisdiction may be trying to site another facility in the county. When and if these facilities are available, the jurisdiction would have other options for processing food waste and could expect pilot programs to be fully implemented at a later date. Additionally, the jurisdiction may phase in the program to address the barriers. For example, if the jurisdiction does not have any businesses that have 8 cubic yards of covered organic material per week, but it does have some that generate 4 cubic yards of organic material, then it may not need to implement food waste programs until 2017.

28) Can a jurisdiction with a successful program for green waste recycling be exempted from the other requirements of the law due to lack of infrastructure to recycle other organic material?

The law states that a jurisdiction shall implement a program designed specifically to divert organic waste, which includes “food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste.”

Even if a jurisdiction successfully diverts green waste, the jurisdiction is still responsible for implementing an organics recycling program that meets the needs of its businesses, performing education, outreach, and monitoring, and ensuring that appropriate services are available for businesses required to comply with AB 1826. CalRecycle developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) to assist in identifying businesses that meet the minimum waste generation threshold. CalRecycle used data from the 2014 waste characterization study and other data sources to help a jurisdiction determine the types of businesses that would typically generate an amount of organic waste that requires them to subscribe to organic recycling services under the law. This tool could be used to help a jurisdiction assess the extent of the current organic waste recycling program and determine if additional organic recycling services are needed.

Options that may be available to address the covered material types outside of collection by a waste hauler might include food donation or animal feed options for food material, landscaping service providers for green waste and landscape and pruning waste, and salvage companies for nonhazardous wood waste. The jurisdiction should continue to develop its organic waste recycling program to meet the needs of covered businesses, which may include efforts to seek out additional opportunities for organic waste handling and providing updated resources to businesses.

If a jurisdiction experiences challenges in implementing any aspect of its organic waste recycling program, it should include information about those challenges and its plan to address them in its annual report. CalRecycle considers barriers to program implementation such as small geographic size, low population density, distance to markets, and/or lack of markets in its review of the jurisdiction’s efforts to implement the law. In evaluating the impact of barriers to implementation, CalRecycle can also consider the efficacy of a jurisdiction’s plan to address those barriers when determining whether the jurisdiction made a “good faith effort” to comply with the law (see Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II).

29) My jurisdiction currently has a green waste drop off program that is available to all businesses, as well as residents. Will this program be sufficient to meet the requirements of the law and, if not, what additional programs will the jurisdiction need to provide?

Materials that are included in the definition of organic waste include food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste (see Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper). In the scenario presented, it appears that businesses and multifamily dwellings would have the option to haul one material type, green waste, to the drop off facility.

Jurisdictions are required under the law to provide annual education and outreach to inform covered businesses about the law and how to recycle organic material in the jurisdiction. The drop off location described would be one opportunity for businesses and multifamily dwellings to utilize. It would be important for the jurisdiction know whether the drop off location accepts other organic materials (e.g., landscaping and pruning waste). If it doesn’t accept all organic materials including food waste, then the jurisdiction would have need to provide education and outreach to covered businesses regarding other known opportunities to recycle organic material, including self-haul and donation, if available, as well as provide resources to address all covered material types that local businesses may be generating.

If the jurisdiction’s organics recycling program does not provide adequate options for businesses to divert the organic material that they generate, then the jurisdiction will need to address the barriers and specify a plan to address those barriers that are within the jurisdiction’s control. This information would be provided to CalRecycle in the annual report commencing on and after August 1, 2017.

30) It might be useful to list somewhere on your website, “foodwaste ready facilities” facilities that are permitted and in compliance with all permitting requirements so jurisdictions can know where to look.

To find a compost facility that is permitted to receive food material, visit this location on the CalRecycle website: Find a Composter Near You. Make sure to check the food waste box when searching by feedstocks. Another database that may be useful is the Facility Information Toolbox (FacIT). The CalRecycle website also has a list of Local Assistance and Market Development Representatives in your jurisdiction (city, county, or regional agency).

31) The issue of space constraints has come up a lot in our City what can we do?

Here are two examples of how jurisdictions have addressed space constraints in their communities:

  • Orange County, Laguna Beach. The City and the contract waste service provider, Waste Management Inc., developed a food waste pilot collection program in the commercial sector, using yellow bags to collect and separate food waste. This program does not require any additional outside equipment or containers as restaurant staff collect food waste in heavy duty yellow bags, tie up the bags, and place them in recycling carts. The bags are retrieved and sorted at the material recovery facility in Irvine. The food material is used in an anaerobic digestion system in the production of biogas, located in Orange County.
  • Los Angeles County, Manhattan Beach. The City and its hauler, Waste Management Inc., developed a food waste program using yellow bags, for businesses and residents with space constraints. The yellow bags with food waste are placed inside the green waste container, then they are separated at the transfer station. Commercial businesses may use a dedicated food waste cart (64 gal) or the yellow bags. The food material is used in an anaerobic digestion system in the production of biogas located in Carson.

These and additional local government food waste program case studies are on our Food Scraps Management Case Studies page.

D. Reporting

1) Will businesses and/or jurisdictions need to report diverted tonnages of organic waste?

Starting with the 2016 Electronic Annual Report that is due on August 1, 2017, each jurisdiction will provide CalRecycle with information on the number of regulated businesses that generate organic waste and the number that are recycling organic waste. Although not required to do so, a jurisdiction may also provide the amount of disposal that is being diverted by the businesses as part of the Electronic Annual Report.

2) Does a jurisdiction need to report on its organics program implementation, including education, outreach, identification, and monitoring efforts, if it is meeting its per capita disposal target?

Nothing in statute relieves a jurisdiction of its obligations once it is meeting its per capita disposal target. The jurisdiction is still required to implement an organics recycling program and report in its Electronic Annual Report in addition to its obligation to report on other AB 939 programs.

3) How should I report multifamily organics recycling for complexes that are subject to the law? Is anything required for complexes that are serviced under the residential program?

The law does not apply to multifamily dwellings with less than five units. For those dwellings of five or more units that meet the threshold, the law provides an exemption for organic waste recycling services specific to food waste and food-soiled paper. The jurisdiction would still need to report on covered complexes in relation to their efforts to divert green waste, landscape and pruning waste, and nonhazardous wood waste if those materials collectively are generated by the complex in the amounts specified in Public Resources Code section 42649.81(a). It should be noted that PRC section 42649.81(e) requires that a business subject to the law, which would include multifamily, with a gardening or landscaping service shall require through contract that organic waste handled by the service is recycled in compliance with the law. A covered multifamily residential dwelling may also need to recycle other types of wood waste, such as lumber, if they are generated at the complex in addition to landscaping materials.

4) When will jurisdictions need to start reporting on their implementation efforts, and what will need to be reported?

Beginning with the 2016 Electronic Annual Report (due on August 1, 2017) that jurisdictions submit to CalRecycle, jurisdictions will be required to report on progress on the implementation of their organic waste recycling program. Each jurisdiction’s annual report shall include the following information in the 2017 and subsequent EARs:

  1. Information on the current market conditions and expansion opportunities for organic recycling facilities, e.g., existing or proposed new/expanded facilities, permitting requirements, capacity, other non-disposal recycling options such as food rescue and on-site management, and incentives available in the jurisdiction’s boundaries. Information on known barriers to siting or expanding organic waste recycling facilities in the area just also be included. If there are identified barriers that are in the jurisdiction’s control, provide a summary of the jurisdiction’s plan to overcome the barriers that are under its control. Note: Organic recycling facilities include compost, anaerobic digestion, and chip and grind facilities. The jurisdiction may also report on other facilities that recycle organic waste.
  2. Data on the number of commercial organic waste generators that are businesses and those that are multifamily complexes that meet the threshold requirements, how many of those businesses and multifamily complexes are recycling their organic waste, if available, the tonnage diverted by the covered businesses, if available.
  3. Activities related to identifying affected businesses and multifamily complexes, education, outreach, and monitoring.
  4. If applicable, enforcement efforts undertaken and the rationale for any exemptions the jurisdiction approved.

Guidance about what information jurisdictions should provide in the Electronic Annual Report was provided as part of the AB 1826 workshops and will be provided again prior to the release of the 2016 annual report cycle.

5) Could a jurisdiction rely on responses from generator questionnaires instead of utilizing a Generator ID Tool? For example, if a jurisdiction mailed out questionnaires to multi-family communities and one of the questions pertained to the amount square footage of turf, could the jurisdiction use the data from the questionnaire as the means for determining whether that generator was included under the law?

LAMD staff will be available to address whether the jurisdiction’s proposed activities for identification of covered businesses and multi-family complexes will be acceptable to CalRecycle. Although surveys have been used by jurisdictions to identify recycling efforts under Mandatory Commercial Recycling, for example, the survey approach can be limited by the effectiveness of the questions asked as well as limited returns. Jurisdictions may find that it is more effective to provide education and outreach to a larger population initially, and then narrow down to address the businesses or complexes covered by the law through the jurisdiction’s monitoring program. Please contact your LAMD representative for assistance in determining an identification approach that is appropriate for your jurisdiction.

6) The generator identification process used by CalRecycle seems based on the exact amount produced, not the service level. For AB 341 we use the “service level,” why wouldn’t we do the same thing here? For example, CalRecycle has identified in the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) that food and beverage stores would have 57 employees in order to reach the 8 cubic yard threshold of organic waste generated to meet the first covered threshold. However, it might be that a food store that has 50 employees also is generating 8 cubic yards of organic material based on current practices, and that could perhaps be determined through viewing the solid waste service at store sites with fewer employees.

CalRecycle staff worked with stakeholders to develop a service-level based approach to identify generators, as it was understood that information about service levels for businesses would be more readily accessible due to efforts by jurisdictions to identify businesses under Mandatory Commercial Recycling. CalRecycle staff worked with stakeholders and applied information from the 2014 Generator-Based Waste Characterization Study to determine the best way service level information could be applied to assist in identifying businesses particularly in the earlier thresholds whereby organic waste is a portion of the total waste generated. For monitoring, a jurisdiction may still need to use a hybrid approach (service level and employee numbers) to filter the covered generators. The Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB),and example of Generator ID methods guidance document has been added to the Local Government Requirements and Resources page.

7) In the EAR what information will be acceptable regarding infrastructure information for facility capacity, e.g., is permitted capacity acceptable, is it actual capacity, does the jurisdiction need to speak with the facility to determine if capacity is available to take the material?

Per the law, a jurisdiction shall identify existing recycling facilities that can process organic material within a reasonable vicinity and the capacities available for materials to be accepted at each facility. To assist in this process, CalRecycle has developed a guide (PDF, 1.8 MB) that can be used in conjunction with the existing FacIT database and the Where to Recycle mapping tool. The goal of the guide is to allow users to identify facilities within a given radius and, through the overlay of permit information, have the ability to determine capacity information.

E. Compliance

1) Will CalRecycle issue a compliance order if my jurisdiction cannot demonstrate compliance with the mandatory organic recycling requirements?

AB 1826 requires that jurisdictions implement an organics recycling program. Determining what constitutes an “organics recycling program” will vary depending on the types of organics recycling services available, which will depend on many factors, such as infrastructure for processing organic materials, on-site collection options, etc. The organics waste recycling services would need to be appropriate for the jurisdiction and meet the needs of its businesses. Jurisdictions will also be required to implement outreach, education, identification, and monitoring to support the organics recycling program implemented. CalRecycle will review each jurisdiction’s compliance as part of its program review under AB 939 pursuant to Public Resources Code section 41825. As part of that AB 939 review, a good-faith effort determination can be reached based on the parameters identified in Public Resources Code Sections 41850 and 42649.3 (i), namely that all reasonable and feasible efforts have been made to implement its commercial organic recycling program. In addition, the following factors are outlined in the law specific to the finding of a good-faith effort in relation to the review of a jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program:

  1. The extent to which businesses have complied with the law, including information on the amount of disposal that is being diverted from the businesses, if available, and on the number of businesses that are complying with the law;
  2. The recovery rate of the organic waste from the material recovery facilities that are utilized by the businesses, which includes all information, methods, and calculations, and any additional performance data, as requested by CalRecycle from the material recovery facilities. Note: CalRecycle would request this information from the facilities and distribute to the appropriate jurisdictions;
  3. The extent to which the jurisdiction is conducting education and outreach to businesses;
  4. The extent to which the jurisdiction is monitoring businesses and notifying those businesses that are not in compliance;
  5. The appropriateness of exemptions allowed by the jurisdiction;
  6. The availability of markets for collected organic waste recyclables;
  7. Budgetary constraints;
  8. In the case of a rural jurisdiction, the effects of small geographic size, low population density, or distance to markets;
  9. The availability, or lack thereof, of sufficient organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, and other non-disposal opportunities and markets;
  10. The extent to which the jurisdiction has taken steps that are under its control to remove barriers to siting and expanding organic waste recycling facilities.

If CalRecycle finds that a jurisdiction has failed to make a good-faith effort to implement a commercial organic recycling program, CalRecycle would initiate the compliance order process, just as is currently done as a part of the AB 939 review. CalRecycle would evaluate the jurisdiction’s implementation of its organic recycling program, as well as its outreach, education, identification, and monitoring efforts during the AB 939 review of the jurisdiction’s Source Reduction and Recycling Element and Household Hazardous Waste Element. If the jurisdiction fails to adequately meet the conditions of the compliance order, then CalRecycle could consider a penalty hearing, etc. Please also see the Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II for more information.

2) How effective does a jurisdiction’s program to divert organic material need to be in order to avoid being put on a compliance order? What if businesses are not diverting organic material, and/or options for diverting organic material cannot be identified?

During its review, CalRecycle shall determine whether the jurisdiction has made a good faith effort to implement its selected organic waste recycling program. “Good faith effort” means that the jurisdiction has made all reasonable and feasible efforts to implement its organic waste recycling program, particularly with respect to identifying covered businesses, conducting education, outreach, and monitoring, and ensuring that organic recycling services are available to all businesses. This is not the same as ensuring all businesses are meeting their specified requirement to recycle organic waste generated.

The review of each jurisdiction’s compliance with AB 1826 will be conducted with the review of all of its AB 939 diversion programs, e.g., each jurisdiction is reviewed during a two or four-year cycle. This is the same process for review of Mandatory Commercial Recycling programs. During its review of each jurisdiction, the department may include, but is not limited to, consideration of the following factors in its evaluation of a jurisdiction’s good faith effort:

  • The extent to which businesses have complied with the law, including information on the amount of disposal that is being diverted from the businesses, if available, and on the number of businesses that are complying with the law;
  • The recovery rate of the organic waste from the material recovery facilities that are utilized by the businesses, which includes all information, methods, and calculations, and any additional performance data, as requested by CalRecycle from the material recovery facilities. Note: CalRecycle would request this information from the facilities and distribute to the appropriate jurisdictions;
  • The extent to which the jurisdiction is conducting education and outreach to businesses;
  • The extent to which the jurisdiction is monitoring businesses and notifying those businesses that are not in compliance;
  • The appropriateness of exemptions allowed by the jurisdiction;
  • The availability of markets for collected organic waste recyclables;
  • Budgetary constraints;
  • In the case of a rural jurisdiction, the effects of small geographic size, low population density, or distance to markets;
  • The availability, or lack thereof, of sufficient organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, and other nondisposal opportunities and markets;
  • The extent to which the jurisdiction has taken steps that are under its control to remove barriers to siting and expanding organic waste recycling facilities.

The determination of a good faith effort will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis using the review factors outlined above and the Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II. If a jurisdiction requires technical assistance to implement any aspects of its organics program, please contact your LAMD representative.

If the jurisdiction identifies that there is a lack of options available for managing organic material, this information will be included in the Electronic Annual Report to assist in determining a jurisdiction’s good faith effort. The jurisdiction will be required to provide information about the lack of organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, other non-disposal options for organic material, and/or lack of markets for processed organic material in its Electronic Annual Report starting with the 2016 report, due August 1, 2017. In addition to noting the lack of infrastructure to process material and/or markets for processed material, the jurisdiction will also provide information related to its own efforts to remove barriers to siting or expanding organic waste recycling facilities.

3) What if no food waste diversion opportunities are currently available within a reasonable vicinity? Are there any exemptions for the jurisdiction if a food waste collection program cannot be developed during the time frame specified in the law?

No, there is no exemption. However, in the development of the jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program, the jurisdiction is required to identify the following information and report it to CalRecycle beginning with the Annual Report due August 1, 2017:

  • Existing organic waste recycling facilities within a reasonable vicinity and the capacities available for materials to be accepted at each facility.
  • Existing solid waste and organic waste recycling facilities within the jurisdiction that may be suitable for potential expansion or colocation of organic waste processing or recycling facilities.
  • Efforts of which the jurisdiction is aware that are underway to develop new private or public regional organic waste recycling facilities that may serve some or all of the organic waste recycling needs of the commercial waste generators within the jurisdiction subject to this chapter, and the anticipated timeframe for completion of those facilities.
  • Closed or abandoned sites that might be available for new organic waste recycling facilities.
  • Other nondisposal opportunities and markets.
  • Appropriate zoning and permit requirements for the location of new organic waste recycling facilities.
  • Incentives available, if any, for developing new organic waste recycling facilities within the jurisdiction.

If the jurisdiction’s organics recycling program does not provide adequate options for businesses to divert the organic material that they generate, then the jurisdiction will need to address the barriers and specify a plan to address those barriers that are within the jurisdiction’s control. This information will be requested as part of the Electronic Annual Report commencing on and after August 1, 2017. 

The availability, or lack thereof, of sufficient organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, and other nondisposal opportunities and markets, as well as the extent to which the jurisdiction has taken steps that are under its control to remove barriers to siting and expanding organic waste recycling facilities will be factors that CalRecycle will consider during its review and in the determination of a jurisdiction’s good faith effort (please also refer to the Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II).

4) How will CalRecycle determine compliance with the Mandatory Organic Recycling law? What will a jurisdiction need to do to show a Good Faith Effort to implement its selected organic waste recycling program?

During its review, CalRecycle shall determine whether the jurisdiction has made a good faith effort to implement its selected organic waste recycling program. During its review of compliance with AB 1826, the department may include, but is not limited to, consideration of the following factors in its evaluation of a jurisdiction’s good faith effort:

  1. The extent to which businesses have complied with the law, including information on the amount of disposal that is being diverted from the businesses, if available, and on the number of businesses that are complying with the law;
  2. The recovery rate of the organic waste from the material recovery facilities that are utilized by the businesses, which includes all information, methods, and calculations, and any additional performance data, as requested by CalRecycle from the material recovery facilities; The extent to which the jurisdiction is conducting education and outreach to businesses;
  3. The extent to which the jurisdiction is monitoring businesses and notifying those businesses that are not in compliance;
  4. The appropriateness of exemptions allowed by the jurisdiction;
  5. The availability of markets for collected organic waste recyclables;
  6. Budgetary constraints;
  7. In the case of a rural jurisdiction, the effects of small geographic size, low population density, or distance to markets;
  8. The availability, or lack thereof, of sufficient organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, and other nondisposal opportunities and markets;
  9. The extent to which the jurisdiction has taken steps that are under its control to remove barriers to siting and expanding organic waste recycling facilities.

The determination of a good faith effort will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis using the review factors outlined above and the Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II. If a jurisdiction requires technical assistance to implement any aspects of its organics program, please contact your LAMD representative.

5) Is there anything in the law that includes a stipulation that the jurisdiction would be required to provide a curbside program? What are the specific requirements on jurisdictions to comply with the law?

No, a curbside program is not required. The law requires jurisdictions to have an organics recycling program and to provide education, outreach, and monitoring to affected businesses to inform them of the state requirement to recycle and to tell businesses how they can recycle in the jurisdiction.

Regarding informing and educating businesses about recycling opportunities in the jurisdiction, the types and combinations of commercial recycling programs vary by jurisdiction and can include curbside collection, drop-offs, and utilizing mixed waste processing. Additionally, businesses may choose to self-haul material to a drop-off or recycling center, arrange for the pick-up of organics, etc.

6) We have two large casino/hotels on tribal land in our County. While it is clear that they are exempt from MORe, will getting them to comply with the program be noted for compliance or a GFE?

The jurisdiction’s efforts to develop its program, for covered businesses and those not covered by the law, would be considered as part of CalRecycle’s Jurisdiction Review. Implementing organic waste recycling at some locations does not exempt the jurisdiction from implementing the requirements of the law.

7) I have been told by the city where my business is located that there is an exclusive hauler for waste collection. Yet, this hauler does not provide separate collection of food waste. We generate enough food material to be covered by the law starting January 1, 2017. What are our options for having the food material collected at that time?

If the exclusive hauler does not provide food or any other covered organic waste collection services, a business is allowed to arrange for services with another hauler until such time that the agreement with the hauler includes organic waste recycling services or the jurisdiction implements additional requirements via ordinance. It is possible that the current hauler may provide organic waste collection if requested by the business. It would be important to evaluate the services offered by the exclusive hauler or any new requirements implemented by the city, and to refer to resources provided by the city related to options for recycling organic material, closer to the implementation date.

8) According to the law, a business may arrange for separate organic waste and recycling services until a local ordinance or the jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services. What if the jurisdiction’s franchised hauler provides commercial green waste collection, but not food waste collection?

Organic waste is defined by the law to mean food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. To that end, if a jurisdiction’s franchised hauler is currently providing collection for one of the listed materials, for example landscape and pruning waste, but is not specified to provide for the collection of food waste for the purposes of recycling, the business could arrange for collection of food waste until such time that this material is addressed through local ordinance or specified by the franchise agreement, etc.

The law indicates that covered businesses shall arrange for recycling services for organic waste, which is defined as stated in the previous paragraph. The organic materials specified in the law will be used to determine if a business meets the determined thresholds and is therefore subject to the law. As a result, the business would need to recycle or otherwise divert all of the covered materials it generates in order to be in compliance with the law. One exception noted in the law is that while multifamily dwellings of five or more units are considered “businesses” for purposes of the law, they would not be required to arrange for collection of food waste and food-soiled paper in order to be in compliance with the law (see Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper). Green waste, landscape and pruning waste, and nonhazardous wood waste generated at these sites would still be subject to the law.

9) Can a business claim it is meeting the requirements of the law by simply recycling some of its organic waste? Specifically, can a business claim that it is in compliance with the organic recycling requirements because it has its landscaper recycling green waste?

Not necessarily. The law indicates that covered businesses shall arrange for recycling services for organic waste, which is defined as food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper that is mixed in with food waste. As a result, the business would need to recycle or otherwise divert all of the covered materials it generates in order to be in compliance with the law. If green waste was the only covered material type generated by this business and, when arranging for gardening or landscaping services the business required the landscaping service to recycle or divert material in accordance with the law, this business would be meeting the requirements of the law.

If the business in question was a multifamily dwelling that fell under the law’s threshold, it would not be required to arrange for collection of food waste in order to be in compliance with the law. If the complex was generating green waste, landscape and pruning waste, and/or nonhazardous wood waste and the materials were being recycled through either the landscaping service or other methods prescribed through the law, the multifamily complex would most likely be meeting the requirements of the law.

Regarding the jurisdiction’s responsibility, a jurisdiction is required to have an organics recycling program and provide education and outreach to covered businesses informing them of the organics waste recycling opportunities that are available. In addition, if a jurisdiction discovers that a covered business is not in compliance, the jurisdiction shall notify the business that it is not in compliance and inform it of the organics waste recycling opportunities that are available.

10) What is the threshold of compliance for a business if they are recycling all of their preconsumer foodwaste and do not want to recycle post-consumer waste?

A covered business (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) shall recycle all of the organic waste that it generates. A business that is required to recycle organic waste will not be in compliance with the law if it only arranges for organic waste recycling for a portion of the organic waste it generates.

11) Can you confirm if a commercial or multifamily development grasscycled their clippings, would they still be required to recycle their other green waste materials? (i.e. leaves, prunings, etc.)

A covered multifamily complex (see question 1 under General for thresholds and compliance schedule) shall recycle all of the organic waste that it generates with the exception of food and food soiled paper (see Question 10 under General for definition of food-soiled paper). A multifamily complex that is required to recycle organic waste will not be in compliance with the law if it only addresses a portion of the covered organic waste it generates.

12) If my jurisdiction already offers organic recycling to commercial and multifamily customers at no additional charge and we monitor participation rates, are we in compliance?

If a jurisdiction already has a commercial on-site organic recycling program that targets all commercial customers and addresses the organic materials, and also conducts the education, outreach, identification, and monitoring components of the law, the jurisdiction would not be required to implement a new or expanded program. Jurisdictions could do the outreach/education/monitoring to all businesses and multifamily complexes or those that meet the Mandatory Commercial Recycling thresholds, regardless of the actual organic generation. It may be more cost-effective in the long-run to do outreach and education to a broader group rather than those that fall in the 2016 and 2017 threshold, and jurisdictions may want to consider the economies of scale of providing services to more than the year 1 and 2 regulated entities. The law allows for a more stringent approach.

However, most jurisdictions will need to ensure that their program identifies covered businesses and provides education, outreach, and monitoring to determine whether organics recycling is taking place. In addition, depending on the program that the jurisdiction has for monitoring participation rates, the jurisdiction may need to add a component of informing those covered entities that are not recycling organics of the state requirement and how they can recycle organics in the jurisdiction. Additionally, some jurisdictions may need to implement new or expanded organics recycling services.

13) Some jurisdictions have mandatory commercial recycling for all sites within their borders in response to AB 341. In such cases, annual identification, education, and monitoring of the smaller subset that will be subject to AB 1826 seems unnecessary given that the total business population is mandated to recycle in our jurisdiction. Will CalRecycle accept such jurisdiction-wide mandatory recycling programs as a valid approach to identifying and monitoring requirements?

This would be a valid approach to provide the entire total number of businesses that are being regulated instead of identifying the subset of businesses that meet the mandated threshold. This is an example of a case in which the jurisdiction has implemented a more stringent requirement.

14) Will a generation study be required to demonstrate compliance?

No. Resources have been developed to help jurisdictions identify affected businesses that generate covered material types. The two primary tools that can assist in estimating the amount of organic waste generated, and thus which businesses are likely subject to the law, include the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) and the Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB).

15) What will be done to ensure program compliance by businesses?

This will mainly depend on how local jurisdictions have structured their monitoring program and any additional requirements for businesses that they have chosen to implement. At a minimum, jurisdictions will determine if the stores meet that year’s threshold, if covered organic waste materials are being diverted, and if available, the tonnage that was diverted.

16) What is the business inspection process?

Inspections are not stipulated in the law. A jurisdiction may want to meet with a business to provide information about the law and determine what organic waste recycling efforts are taking place. During the jurisdiction’s annual visit from CalRecycle, jurisdiction representatives may take LAMD representatives to a business location to showcase as an example of how the jurisdiction’s programs are being implemented. This type of visit is typically intended to learn more about the business’s experience implementing the law and/or provide additional tools the business could use to further develop its programs. The goal is assistance oriented, not enforcement related. Again, though, individual jurisdictions may implement more stringent measures.

17) How should jurisdictions collect information from businesses to determine compliance?

Through the implementation of Mandatory Commercial Recycling requirements, jurisdictions typically used hauler account information to determine if a business was recycling or not. Other tools, such as surveys, were also used to monitor recycling efforts. In developing a jurisdiction’s organics recycling program according to the mandatory commercial organics recycling law, additional tools and resources for local jurisdictions such as the CalRecycle-developed Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) may be needed to identify covered businesses. Jurisdictions also have the ability to place additional requirements on businesses.

Jurisdictions will want to discuss approaches with their Local Assistance and Market Development (LAMD) contact in advance and report in the Electronic Annual Report their efforts at monitoring. It is important to note that the jurisdiction is not held accountable if a business chooses not to recycle, although the jurisdiction still needs to have an organics recycling program that includes outreach, education, identification, and monitoring efforts in place. The monitoring of businesses that are and are not recycling organic material is not intended to be onerous for the jurisdiction. However, LAMD staff will want to know if there are businesses that are not recycling covered material types so that they can assist the jurisdictions. Through the jurisdiction’s monitoring efforts, LAMD staff can more readily identify if issues related to participation are a result of education and outreach efforts, difficulty identifying covered businesses, or lack of markets or infrastructure. This information will help CalRecycle staff target assistance efforts. Discuss your ideas with your LAMD representative to get additional feedback and consider coordinating with any other neighboring jurisdictions for consistency.

18) The jurisdiction has a number of privately owned and operated transfer stations where self-haulers deliver commercial waste, including organic waste. Is it the responsibility of the facility owner/operator to ensure compliance with the law? Or does the jurisdiction need to establish an ordinance or landfill ban?

The requirement is on businesses to ensure that they are complying with the law. Jurisdictions shall implement a program that includes adequate organics recycling services as well as education, outreach, identification, and monitoring for targeted businesses. Jurisdictions also have discretion to implement fines and penalties, certification requirements for self-haulers, ordinances, landfill bans, or other means to regulate commercial organic recycling consistent with their legal authority.

19) How will jurisdictions and CalRecycle be able to evaluate the effectiveness of a program if the jurisdiction is unable to provide certain types of data?

Through use of the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB) and other tools and resources compiled to assist jurisdictions in identifying covered businesses, jurisdictions should have some information to provide to CalRecycle to demonstrate that they have conducted education, outreach, identification, and monitoring activities. The jurisdiction should also be able to determine or estimate the businesses that are meeting the thresholds outlined in the law. The jurisdiction should also be able to report on how many businesses received outreach and education, and provide information regarding the infrastructure in place to develop its organics recycling program. The jurisdiction would also be able to report on any exemptions made, and any enforcement actions taken, if applicable.

However, if the jurisdiction is not able to gather relevant data, then the jurisdiction should communicate with its LAMD representative to address the data gaps well in advance of a jurisdiction’s formal review. Regarding the jurisdiction’s compliance with the law, CalRecycle will take into consideration the reasons that a jurisdiction cannot provide certain types of data.

Just as is required in the AB 939 formal review regarding implementing the Source Reduction and Recycling Element and Household Hazardous Waste Element programs, whether or not a jurisdiction has made a good-faith effort in complying with the commercial organics recycling requirement will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

20) All waste materials generated by the commercial sector in my jurisdiction are sent to a mixed waste processing facility (aka “dirty MRF”), whereupon materials are separated from general garbage for recycling. Is that system alone sufficient to comply with the law?

No, because the jurisdiction is still responsible for conducting education, outreach, identification, and monitoring. Education and outreach ensures that businesses know about the state requirement to recycle organics and how they can recycle in the jurisdiction. Through identification of covered businesses, the jurisdiction can target its education and outreach effort if necessary and determine which businesses may need to be contacted if their organics recycling efforts are unknown.

Monitoring efforts could include verification as to how the material is being processed at the material recovery facility. The mixed waste processing system used would need to specifically recycle the organic waste recovered. The recovery rate of the organic waste from the material recovery facilities is a factor that can be used in determining a jurisdiction’s good-faith effort in complying with the law.

Jurisdictions that use mixed waste processing for the commercial sector would need to educate businesses about the state requirement to recycle organics and how they can recycle covered materials in the jurisdiction, e.g. using source-separated collection, mixed waste processing, or a combination of both. Additional options that may be available to businesses based on the jurisdiction include use of third-party recyclers, self-haul, back-haul, and/or donation of organics. In addition, the jurisdiction would provide information to covered businesses that in arranging for gardening or landscaping services, the contract or work agreement between the business and the service provider shall require that the organic waste generated by those services be recycled.

21) Do we need to send commercial organic and/or multifamily waste to a mixed waste processing facility prior to landfilling to comply with the law?

CalRecycle understands that each jurisdiction has its own unique set of circumstances and generators and is in a better position to determine what will work best to divert organic material generated by the commercial sector. The law provides flexibility and does not dictate how a jurisdiction shall implement a program, or that the material shall be sent to a mixed waste processing facility prior to being landfilled. However, the organics material shall be processed in some manner prior to any non-recyclable residuals being landfilled.

22) Will CalRecycle consider availability of composting facilities and markets in its review?

The availability, or lack thereof, of sufficient organic waste processing infrastructure, organic waste recycling facilities, and other non-disposal opportunities and markets are some of the factors explicitly outlined in the law for CalRecycle to consider as part of its review of a jurisdiction’s good faith effort (see Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II) to implement its organic waste recycling program.

F. Enforcement

1) Is there going to be an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance by the businesses?

The law provides that jurisdictions may implement enforcement provisions and other oversight methods that may assist in developing the jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program. A jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program may include any one or more of the following:

  1. Enforcement provisions that are consistent with the jurisdiction’s authority, including a structure for fines and penalties
  2. Certification requirements for self-haulers
  3. Exemptions on a case-by-case basis

Jurisdictions can choose to implement a local mandatory organic recycling commercial recycling program to enforce business compliance. Approaches might include:

  1. Implementing a mandatory commercial organic waste recycling policy or ordinance that addresses organic waste recycling,
  2. Requiring a mandatory commercial organic waste recycling program through a franchise contract or agreement, or
  3. Requiring that organic waste go through a source-separated or mixed waste processing system that diverts material from disposal.

2) Is there a requirement for local jurisdictions to enforce the law?

No, the law does not require jurisdiction enforcement upon businesses. However, the law does provide for enforcement provisions and other oversight methods, should the jurisdiction choose, at its discretion and consistent with its legal authority, that may assist in developing the jurisdiction’s organic waste recycling program (see previous question).

Jurisdictions can choose to implement some type of local mandatory organic recycling commercial recycling program to enforce business compliance. Approaches might include:

  1. Implementing a mandatory commercial organic waste recycling policy or ordinance that addresses organic waste recycling
  2. Requiring a mandatory commercial organic waste recycling program through a franchise contract or agreement
  3. Requiring organic waste go through a source-separated or mixed waste processing system that diverts material from disposal

In terms of overall policy and program design, mandatory organic commercial recycling programs can vary substantially. For example, the types and sizes of businesses and industry can vary, as can the amount and types of material generated per week, etc. Those regulated may include the hauler, business generators, or both. The methods for monitoring and determining compliance and enforcing the ordinance can differ greatly depending upon a jurisdiction’s resources, hauler arrangement, etc.

3) Is there an enforcement component for any entity in the law?

Yes, CalRecycle will evaluate the jurisdiction’s implementation of its organic waste recycling program during the AB 939 review of the jurisdiction’s Source Reduction and Recycling Element and Household Hazardous Waste Element. If the jurisdiction is found to not have made a good faith effort (see Updated Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) Enforcement Policy, Part II) in implementing its organics waste recycling program, CalRecycle can place the jurisdiction on a compliance order.

4) What measurement methods are acceptable for identifying how much organic material a business generates? How can these acceptable methods be enforced without regulations? For example, we have several businesses that generate 12 or more cubic yards of waste per week. How would we determine if 8 or more cubic yards of the waste generated weekly is organic waste?

Jurisdictions are required to provide CalRecycle with information on the number of regulated businesses that generate and are recycling organic waste. However, the law does not specify how covered businesses will be identified. To that end, there are various sources that could be used to identify businesses meeting each of the stated thresholds.

  1. The first two thresholds require determining how much organic waste a business generates. This data may not be readily known by the business, jurisdiction, or hauler. Using the California 2014 Statewide Waste Characterization Study data, CalRecycle staff developed the Generator ID tool (Excel, 46 KB), which can assist in identifying businesses subject to the law in 2016 and 2017. It may be possible to overlay waste characterization data with other online resources, as well as hauler-provided information, to help jurisdictions determine businesses meeting each threshold.
  2. Other approaches used to identify covered businesses under MCR included the use of surveys and on-site waste assessments. This approach could be used to identify whether businesses generate 4 or 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week or 4 cubic yards of solid waste per week.
  3. The Service-Level tool (Excel, 25 KB) has been developed to assist with identifying businesses subject to the first two thresholds for which organic waste may be a portion of total waste generated by a business. Hauler account information can be used to identify businesses that meet the 2019 threshold of 4 cubic yards/week of solid waste.
  4. Jurisdictions could do the outreach/education/monitoring to all of the potential covered businesses regardless of the actual organic generation, which means targeting the same businesses subject to Mandatory Commercial Recycling. It may be more cost-effective in the long-run to do outreach and education to a broader group rather than those that fall in the 2016 and 2017 threshold, and jurisdictions may want to consider the economies of scale of providing services to more than the year 1 and 2 covered entities. The law allows for a more stringent approach.

5) The law states certain exemptions can be provided for lack of space for the placement of bins, carts etc. Will there be certain criteria for determining this, or will it be left up to the judgment of the jurisdiction?

Under the law, jurisdictions can consider exemptions for individual businesses and or multifamily complexes. The jurisdiction should work with its attorney or counsel to determine potential exemptions.

If it is determined that an exemption can be made, the jurisdiction would include information on the rationale in its annual report to CalRecycle as part of the organics recycling program update. Reasons for an exemption might include: lack of sufficient space in multifamily complexes or businesses to provide additional organic recycling bins; current actions by a business that result in the recycling of a significant portion of its organic waste; the business or a group of businesses sharing service do not generate at least one-half of a cubic yard of organic waste per week; or limited-term exemptions for extraordinary or unforeseen events.

If you need additional assistance determining the type of information that would need to be included with the annual report to support an exemption, please contact your LAMD representative.

6) If a business or school generates more than the minimum waste threshold and refuses to subscribe to an organic recycling service, do we need to take some enforcement action against the business (e.g., fine, notice of violation, etc.) to maintain the jurisdiction’s compliance with the law?

The law does not require enforcement. Jurisdictions are required to inform the business of the state requirement to recycle organics and how to recycle covered organic materials in the jurisdiction. However, a jurisdiction may choose to implement an enforcement program. Enforcement options that would be consistent with a jurisdiction’s authority include, but are not limited to, a penalty or fine structure.

7) Regarding enforcement, we are identifying a lot of multifamily dwellings and businesses that we think generate 8 CY + of organics, but they will not share their waste generation information with us. Do you have examples of other enforcement actions jurisdictions take to require businesses to provide this information? If they refuse to provide that information, then I don’t know how to get that information.

LAMD staff will continue to look for examples of enforcement actions specific to requiring businesses to provide information, and will post as a resource on the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling webpage.

8) Have you met with or spoken with trade associations, e.g., CA Restaurant Association, etc. yet? Our City is piloting a food waste program; however, the large restaurant chains would not allow us to pilot a food waste program. How can you help us deal with these businesses that will not let us require them to set up a food waste program?

In this situation, please contact your LAMD representative with information, including corporate contact information. CalRecycle will contact corporate to inform them of the law. CalRecycle has drafted a letter that you can provide to regulated entities  (PDF, 202 KB) that may be helpful.

9) If haulers are not subject to the statute, how can jurisdictions and businesses be held accountable if the haulers are not required to provide services and/or report out to the jurisdictions?

The legislation was developed to place the requirement on businesses to use any combination of recycling options, including subscribing to a recycling service, recycling its own organic waste on-site, self-hauling recyclables, and/or using a mixed waste processing facility. Additionally, jurisdictions may establish their own requirements on haulers. Finally, as each jurisdiction’s situation is unique, the assigned LAMD representative will work with jurisdictions to assess their particular situation.

10) If my jurisdiction offers organic recycling through a franchised hauler and a strip mall property owner subscribes to the service, but the tenants do not participate in it, does the tenant, property owner, or jurisdiction receive the enforcement action?

In order to answer this question, it is important to distinguish between different types of enforcement. Under AB 1826, it is up to jurisdictions to have a commercial recycling program. CalRecycle will evaluate each jurisdiction’s program using the factors outlined in Section 42649.82(h). CalRecycle will not be enforcing directly on businesses, so how the situation described above will be handled will depend upon the program that the jurisdiction has in place. For example, if the jurisdiction requires property owner participation, then it would be taking enforcement action against the property owner and be leaving it up to the property owner to deal with the tenant—most likely through a tenant rate increase agreement provision.

The jurisdiction’s LAMD representative can assist the jurisdiction in developing effective education and outreach tools to maximize compliance by covered entities. Additional tools and resources can be found on the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling web page.

11) What are consequences for noncompliance for a business?

Enforcement measures specific to businesses found to not be complying with AB 1826 are not specified in the law. However, a jurisdiction is authorized through the law to implement enforcement provisions. Please see Question 1 (and response) se under F. Enforcement for a description of the enforcement and oversight measures that can be implemented by the jurisdiction.

12) Will local jurisdictions be required to fine customers for not participating in the commercial organic recycling program?

No. Enforcement, including fines, is not a requirement. However, jurisdictions may choose, at their discretion and consistent with their legal authority, to use fines or other enforcement mechanisms.

Last updated: July 12, 2016
Commercial Recycling, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Recycle/Commercial/
Contact: LAMD@CalRecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6199