- 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.
- Flyer and Brochure for schools regarding AB 1826 and small scale composting.
- Recycling and Organics Recycling Guide for Business Brochure
- Education/Outreach Tools
- AB 876 Guidance and Calculator--CalRecycle created guidance and a calculator to assist jurisdictions with longer term planning for organics infrastructure.
- 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.
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 land-fills 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:
*Note: Multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program.
Locate compost and/or mulch facilities by county and feedstock accepted. Additional facility information is available using CalRecycle’s Facility Information Toolbox (FacIT).
The California Green Business Program is a network of local programs operated by counties and cities throughout California.
Cool California provides resources for small businesses, including a carbon calculator, sustainability activities, success stories, funding wizard, and an awards program.
The Institute offers free resources that are tailored toward key stakeholders, including communities, material recovery facilities, composters, anaerobic digestion facilities and recycling end markets. Resources include overviews of California-specific recycling and composting studies, an interactive map of end markets, information sheets for materals recovery facilities, resident outreach materials, and more.
AmpleHarvest.org is a unique nationwide resource that is eliminating the waste of food, the outcome being a reduction in hunger and malnutrition along with an improved environment. It is accomplished by utilizing the Internet to enable 42 million Americans who grow food in home/community gardens to easily donate their excess harvest to one of 8,563 registered local food pantries spread across all 50 states. These food pantries help nourish the one out of six Americans (including a quarter of all kids under six ) that rely on these pantries.
The Institute for Local Self Reliance has released Community Composting Done Right: A Guide to Best Management Practices. Resources include a full report, a summary of best management practices, a troubleshooting guide, data sheets, and a series of posters which won’t drain your printer cartridges that are designed to provide simple visuals that assist key operations. The resources are designed to support community-scale composters in successfully managing their composting process and site, with a particular focus on sites accepting food scraps.
The Center for EcoTechnology offers free resources on food waste reduction, food rescue and food waste separation. The Best Management Practice Tip Sheets were tailored to businesses and institutions in San Diego County, created by CET with guidance from CalRecycle, Solana Center and San Diego Food System Alliance.