- In January 2017, a memo from CalRecycle Director, Scott Smithline, was sent to all Jurisdiction and Annual Report Contacts outlining at any time Jurisdiction Reviews of Mandatory Commercial Recycling and Commercial Organics Recycling Programs.
- New Flyer and Brochure for schools regarding AB 1826 and small scale composting.
- Mandatory Businesses and Multifamily Organic Waste Recycling Brochure and now in Spanish.
- Education/Outreach Tools
- AB 876 Guidance and Calculator--CalRecycle created guidance and a calculator to assist jurisdictions with longer term planning for organics infrastructure. The related calculator is now available for use.
- General Information
- Business Requirements and Resources
- Local Government Requirements and Resources
- CalRecycle Requirements
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Resources
Background and Overview
In October 2014 Governor Brown signed AB 1826 Chesbro (Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014), requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste on and after April 1, 2016, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week. This law also requires that on and after January 1, 2016, local jurisdictions across the state implement an organic waste recycling program to divert organic waste generated by businesses, including multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units (please note, however, that multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program). Organic waste (also referred to as organics throughout this resource) means food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. This law phases in the mandatory recycling of commercial organics over time, while also offering an exemption process for rural counties. In particular, the minimum threshold of organic waste generation by businesses decreases over time, which means an increasingly greater proportion of the commercial sector will be required to comply.
Why Organics? Mandatory recycling of organic waste is the next step toward achieving California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch (see the 2014 Waste Characterization Study). Organic waste such as green materials and food materials are recyclable through composting and mulching, and through anaerobic digestion, which can produce renewable energy and fuel. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic wastes in landfills have been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. Reducing the amount of organic materials sent to landfills and increasing the production of compost and mulch are part of the AB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) Scoping Plan. For more information on the connection between the waste sector and California’s GHG emission reduction goals, please see CalRecycle’s Climate Change page.
Implementation Dates and Thresholds
The law phases in the requirements for businesses, including multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units,* over time based on the amount and type of waste the business produces on a weekly basis, with full implementation realized in 2019. Additionally, the law contains a 2020 trigger that will increase the scope of affected businesses if waste reduction targets are not met. The implementation schedule is as follows:
January 1, 2016: Local jurisdictions shall have an organic waste recycling program in place. Jurisdictions shall conduct outreach and education to inform businesses how to recycle organic waste in the jurisdiction, as well as monitoring to identify those not recycling and to notify them of the law and how to comply.
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. (See above for description of information to be provided.)
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.
Fall 2020: After receipt of the 2019 annual reports submitted on August 1, 2020, CalRecycle shall conduct its formal review of all jurisdictions.
Summer/Fall 2021: If CalRecycle determines that the statewide disposal of organic waste in 2020 has not been reduced by 50 percent of the level of disposal during 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 this target is not met.
*Note: Multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program.
April 2015 Stakeholder Workshop Materials
Workshop materials include a presentation, proposed FAQS, a generator identification tool, information on annual reporting, sample programs, a program needs assessment tool, and Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) enforcement revisions.
- Contact Search. Use the Contact Search form to locate jurisdiction (city, county, or regional agency) contacts and/or identify the CalRecycle liaison assigned to a jurisdiction.
- Mandatory Commercial Recycling Law. California's statewide recycling law requires a business that generates 4 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week to arrange for recycling services.
- CalRecycle’s Food scraps management page provides information by generator (e.g., Hotels/Restaurants, Health Care Industry, Stadiums/Special Events, Colleges/Universities). Visit CalRecycle’s page for organics materials management technologies, which includes multiple resources including list of anaerobic digestion projects, guidance, a listserv, and program news. These and other resources are all accessible from CalRecycle’s organics home page, which is regularly updated.
- U.S. EPA Food Recovery Challenge. Participants reduce wasted food through prevention, donation, composting, and anaerobic digestion.
- U.S. EPA’s Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit. The free toolkit includes a PDF guide and a tracking tool (Excel spreadsheet) to help food service facilities identify and implement opportunities to reduce food and packaging waste, which saves money and reduces environmental impacts.
- Stay up to date on CalRecycle’s proposed regulations on Compostable Materials, Transfer/Processing by signing up for the related listserv.