Procurement Overview

Q: Who is required to comply with the SB 1383 procurement requirements? Do any of the procurement requirements pertain to special districts?

The procurement requirements in 14 CCR Section 18993.1 regarding recovered organic waste products pertain to jurisdictions such as cities, counties, or cities and counties, but do not pertain to special districts [(see definition of “jurisdiction” in 14 CCR Section 18993.1(a)]. However, the recycled-content paper procurement requirements (14 CCR Sections 18993.3 and 18993.4) apply to all types of jurisdictions [see 14 CCR Section 18982(a)(36)], including special districts.

Q: What if a jurisdiction already has procurement programs in place? Can that procurement count towards meeting the SB 1383 procurement requirements?

If a jurisdiction is already procuring recovered organic waste products that meet the requirements outlined in 14 CCR Section 18993.1, these can count towards a jurisdiction’s procurement target. A jurisdiction is not required to prove additional procurement beyond any other mandatory or voluntary procurement programs they already have in place, as long as their target is met.

For example, a city may use mulch in a city landscaping project or give away compost to their residents and these end uses may count towards the city’s SB 1383 procurement target, regardless of whether these are already required by existing city programs.

Similarly, a jurisdiction may count eligible renewable gas or electricity products procured from a utility towards their SB 1383 procurement target, regardless of whether that utility has to meet separate renewable energy procurement requirements, such as through the Bioenergy Market Adjusting Tariff (BioMAT) program, or whether the jurisdiction was already procuring eligible renewable energy before the implementation of SB 1383.

Q: Are there enough organics processing facilities in operation to accommodate the quantity of organic waste diverted under SB 1383 and produce the quantity of products that must be procured by jurisdictions?

Unfortunately, California does not currently have sufficient organics recycling capacity to accommodate the more than 27 million tons of organic waste that need to be diverted from landfills in the year 2025 to meet the goals outlined in SB 1383. California will need to build 50-100 new or expanded organic waste processing facilities to accommodate this organic waste.

However, while expanded organics recycling infrastructure is still needed to accommodate newly diverted organic waste, there is sufficient infrastructure currently in operation to produce the quantity of products that must be procured by jurisdictions beginning January 1, 2022. In 2017, approximately 6 million tons of organic waste were processed by composting and in-vessel digestion facilities in California. This is more than enough to produce the quantity of recovered organic waste products necessary to meet the procurement requirements statewide.

The SB 1383 Infrastructure and Market Analysis Report provides more information on the status of currently available infrastructure within California. The primary driver of infrastructure development within the state is the availability of feedstock materials, which will be in abundance as a result of SB 1383. The procurement requirements are designed to provide the regulatory certainty needed to support investment in organics recycling infrastructure and drive market demand for the recovered organic waste products produced by these facilities.

Q: Do recovered organic waste products that a jurisdiction procures need to be sourced from the jurisdiction’s generated organic waste, produced in the jurisdiction, or used within the jurisdiction?

No, jurisdictions are not required to procure recovered organic waste products made from “their” organic waste to satisfy the procurement requirements, nor do the products need to be produced or consumed within their jurisdiction. A jurisdiction may purchase or otherwise acquire products from any entity, or produce it themselves, and use these toward their procurement target, provided the end products meet the 14 CCR Section 18982(60) definition of “recovered organic waste products.” The jurisdiction may use the end products in a way that best fits local needs, which may include use or free distribution within their jurisdiction or other jurisdictions.

Q: Can regional agencies and special districts coordinate procurement requirements on behalf of their individual member jurisdictions?

Nothing in the regulatory text prohibits a regional agency or special district from coordinating resources for procurement. Jurisdictions are encouraged to work with special districts and similar entities to meet the jurisdiction’s procurement targets, provided this is accomplished through a direct service provider contract or written agreement.

Special districts or regional agencies may be considered direct service providers to the jurisdiction, provided that a contract or other written agreement, such as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), is in place to prove the direct service provider relationship. Without said contract or agreement, any entities that are not part of the jurisdiction’s departments or divisions would not, by default, be considered part of the jurisdiction, nor would their procurement count towards the jurisdiction’s procurement target.

Procurement Target

Q: How is a jurisdiction’s procurement target calculated?

A jurisdiction’s procurement target will be calculated by multiplying the per capita procurement target (0.08 tons of organic waste per California resident per year) by the jurisdiction population, as reported in the most recent annual data by the California Department of Finance (DOF): Population Estimates for Cities, Counties, and the State [see 14 CCR Section 18993.1(c)]. The resulting procurement target can then be multiplied by the recovered organic waste product conversion factors included in 14 CCR Section 18993.1(g) of the regulations to obtain the quantities of recovered organic waste products that would need to be procured to meet the procurement target.

See the hypothetical example below of such calculations:

A hypothetical jurisdiction with a population of 100,000 would use the following equation to derive their annual procurement target and the quantities of recovered organic waste products they would need to procure to meet this target.

Procurement target = 100,000 residents x 0.08 tons of organic waste/resident/year = 8,000 tons of organic waste/year:

  • If 100% transportation fuel from anaerobic digestion: 8,000 x 21 DGE = 168,000 DGE
  • If 100% electricity from anaerobic digestion: 8,000 x 242 kWh = 1,936,000 kWh
  • If 100% heating from anaerobic digestion: 8,000 x 22 therms = 176,000 therms
  • If 100% biomass conversion electricity: 8,000 x 650 kWh =5,200,000 kWh
  • If 100% compost (tons): 8,000 x 0.58 tons = 4,640 tons
  • If 100% compost (cubic yards): 8,000 x 1.45 cubic yards = 11,600 cubic yards
  • If 100% mulch: 8,000 x 1 ton = 8,000 tons

The calculated product totals above assume the jurisdiction would fulfill 100 percent of their procurement target through the procurement of one single product (e.g., 168,000 DGE of transportation fuel or 4,640 tons of compost). However, the procurement requirements are designed to provide flexibility and a jurisdiction may instead procure a mix of products to fulfill 100 percent of the procurement target.

Q: How can a jurisdiction meet their procurement target? Are they required to purchase recovered organic waste products? Can the sale of recovered organic waste products count towards a jurisdiction’s procurement target?

Jurisdictions can meet their procurement target through their own direct procurement or through a direct service provider working on the jurisdiction’s behalf. Direct procurement involves a jurisdiction’s procurement of products for their own use or giveaway. Procurement through a direct service provider requires that the jurisdiction have a written contract or agreement with the direct service provider to procure recovered organic waste product(s) on behalf of that jurisdiction.

These products do not have to be obtained solely through purchasing. A jurisdiction may also produce or otherwise acquire products (e.g., free delivery or free distribution from a hauler or other entity via an agreement) and subsequently use or donate those products to meet their procurement target. However, 14 CCR Section 18993.1(e)(1) limits procurement to “use or giveaway,” and does not include the sale of products.

The intent is to encourage the demand and use of recovered organic waste products, as this is where most of the environmental benefits are realized. Procuring compost and then selling it via a third party does not meet the intent of these regulations, which is to build markets for the use of recovered organic waste products.

Q: Does a jurisdiction have to procure specific products, such as compost and mulch, to meet their procurement target?

No, the regulations provide flexibility for jurisdictions to choose a combination of the types of recovered organic waste product(s) defined in the regulations that best fit local needs to meet their procurement target. A jurisdiction has the option to meet their procurement target by procuring a sufficient quantity of one product or a mix of products.

Q: What if the jurisdiction’s calculated procurement target exceeds the quantity of recovered organic waste products that they are able to use?

The procurement requirements are designed to build markets for recovered organic waste products, which is an essential component of achieving the organic waste diversion targets mandated by SB 1383. The regulations specify a wide variety of eligible recovered organic waste products that may be procured in order to give jurisdictions flexibility to choose products that fit their local needs. However, CalRecycle also recognizes that, in some extraordinary cases, the procurement target may exceed a jurisdiction’s need for recovered organic waste products.

14 CCR Section 18993.1(j) provides jurisdictions with a method to lower the procurement target to ensure that a jurisdiction does not procure more recovered organic waste products than it can use by showing that the amount of fuel, electricity, and gas for heating applications procured in the previous year is lower than their procurement target.

Q: 14 CCR Section 18993.1(j) provides jurisdictions with a method to lower their procurement target to ensure that a jurisdiction does not have to procure more recovered organic waste products than it can use. They can do this by demonstrating that their previous year’s procurement of energy products (i.e., electricity, transportation fuel, and gas for heating applications) is lower than their procurement target for that reporting year. Why is a jurisdiction’s previous year’s procurement of compost and mulch not included in this method?

Energy products—such as electricity, heat, and transportation fuel—have readily available organic waste conversion factors. Ineligible energy products can be quantified relatively easily and replaced with an eligible recovered organic waste product (e.g., replacement of fossil-based natural gas with renewable gas derived from organic waste generated within California). Compost and mulch, however, were not included in this method to lower a jurisdiction’s procurement target, due to the potential difficulty of determining conversion factors for comparable products to compost or mulch (e.g., liquid chemical fertilizers compared to solid compost).

The focus on energy products is intended to simplify the process by which a jurisdiction can lower its procurement target. Although a jurisdiction may only use their previous year’s procurement of energy products to lower their target, the jurisdiction can still meet its lowered target with any recovered organic waste products, including compost and mulch.

Q: When will jurisdictions be notified of their procurement target, so that they may plan for the procurement of recovered organic waste products?

CalRecycle will calculate the annual recovered organic waste product procurement target for each jurisdiction and notify each jurisdiction of this target annually, beginning on or before January 1, 2022.

However, for planning purposes, the jurisdiction may choose to make these calculations on their own to derive their procurement target and determine the quantities of recovered organic waste products needed to meet this target.

CalRecycle has created a Procurement Calculator Tool to assist jurisdictions with making these determinations, which will be made available soon, but jurisdictions may also make these calculations on their own by using the formula set forth in the regulations (see FAQ #6 for an example of these calculations).

It is important to note that calculations made now will be preliminary, as official procurement targets will take into account newer population data than is currently available. The jurisdiction procurement targets for the first year of compliance, 2022, will utilize the January 1, 2021 population estimates reported by the California Department of Finance (DOF) (Population Estimates for Cities, Counties, and the State), which will be released on May 1, 2021. The procurement targets will be recalculated every five years to reflect population changes.

General Product Eligibility

Q: What products can a jurisdiction procure to meet its procurement target?

To meet its procurement target, a jurisdiction may procure one or more of the following eligible recovered organic waste products:

  • Compost;
  • Mulch;
  • Renewable gas used for transportation fuel, electricity, or heating applications; and/or
  • Electricity from biomass conversion.

These products must meet the requirements and standards of the regulations in order to count towards meeting the jurisdiction’s procurement target [see 14 CCR Section 18993.1]. Eligible recovered organic waste products are limited to those that are derived from California, landfill-diverted recovered organic waste processed at a permitted or otherwise authorized operation or facility.

For example, compost may be eligible for procurement if it is produced at an authorized compostable material handling operation or facility or at a permitted in-vessel digestion facility that composts on-site. Similarly, a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that is authorized to co-digest organic waste may produce renewable gas eligible for procurement if the organic waste is received from a compostable material handling operation or facility, landfill, or transfer/processing facility or operation.

This is necessary to ensure that the procurement and use of the end product (e.g., compost or renewable gas) actually helps reduce the disposal of organic waste and supports the goals of SB 1383. See 14 CCR Section 18993.1 for additional requirements for recovered organic waste product eligibility.

Q: If a jurisdiction or its hauler produces its own recovered organic waste products (e.g., compost) to use towards toward its procurement target, do those products have to meet the same standards as products they might purchase elsewhere?

To count towards the jurisdiction’s procurement target, the recovered organic waste products procured must meet the requirements outlined in 14 CCR Section 18993.1 of the regulations. The method of obtaining a product—whether it be produced, purchased, or acquired in another way by the jurisdiction—does not change the standards and requirements that the recovered organic waste products must meet.

Compost and Mulch

Q: Can biosolids or digestate produced from anaerobic digestion count as compost and as eligible recovered organic waste products for procurement?

A: Biosolids and/or digestate from anaerobic digestion may count as compost, an eligible recovered organic waste product for procurement, if these materials have been composted and meet the definition of compost. Compost is an eligible recovered organic waste product as long as the final product meets the definition of compost, per 14 CCR Section 17896.2(a)(4), and is produced either at a compost operation or facility or large volume in-vessel digestion facility that composts on-site [see 14 CCR Section 18993.1(f)(1)(A) and (B)]. Biosolids and/or digestate that do not meet the compost definition or have not undergone composting at these types of facilities or operations will not count towards the procurement target.

Q: If a jurisdiction chips green material on-site at its parks, would that mulch product be eligible to use toward a jurisdiction’s procurement target?

No, green waste chipped on site at a city park to produce mulch would not count towards the procurement target. Mulch may count towards a jurisdiction’s procurement target if it meets the requirements outlined in 14 CCR Section 18993.1(f)(4) of the regulations, which require, among other things, that the mulch be produced at specific permitted facilities and comply with land application standards. This is to ensure that material eligible for procurement is derived from solid waste diverted from landfill disposal consistent with the purpose of SB 1383 and is used in a way that complies with environmental health standards.

Q: Why can’t mulch derived from chipping and grinding facilities or operations count toward a jurisdiction’s procurement target?

Chipping and grinding facilities and operations are excluded because the feedstock entering these facilities is not typically landfilled, and therefore does not contribute to organic waste being diverted from landfill disposal consistent with the intent of SB 1383.

As defined in 14 CCR Section 17852(10), chipping and grinding facilities are limited to handling “green material.” “Green material” is defined in 14 CCR Section 17852(21) as “any plant material except food material and vegetative food material that is separated at the point of generation…,” which in turn is defined in 14 CCR Section 17852(35) as “material separated from the solid waste stream by the generator of that material.” Therefore, material entering a chipping and grinding facility or operation is not considered organic waste diverted from a landfill.

Mulch is an eligible recovered organic waste product for procurement, provided it is derived from certain solid waste facilities [see 14 CCR Section 18993.1(f)(4)(B)]. The intent is to ensure that these materials are diverted from a landfill in order to be consistent with the statutory requirements of SB 1383.

Renewable Gas

Q: Why can’t all of the gas produced at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) count toward the recovered organic waste product procurement target? Why is it limited to only the gas produced from the digestion of organic waste diverted from landfills?

Renewable gas derived solely from sewage is ineligible for meeting the procurement target because a POTW is not a solid waste facility and therefore not in the scope of the legislative intent of SB 1383. Sewage is also not typically destined for a landfill, so its use does not help achieve SB 1383’s landfill diversion goals.

However, Title 14 explicitly authorizes POTWs to accept food waste without a solid waste facility permit, making it functionally similar to incentivizing biomethane from a solid waste facility. Therefore, it is justifiable to allow the portion of renewable gas resulting from the digestion of food waste at POTWs to count toward the procurement targets, provided the POTW accepts food waste from specified facilities or operations [see 14 CCR Section 18993.1(h)(1)] and meets all other applicable requirements in 14 CCR Section 18993.1.

Recycled-Content Paper Procurement

Q: Is there a procurement target for recycled-content paper purchases, as there is for recovered organic waste product procurement?

No, there is no quantified procurement target for recycled-content paper purchases. Instead, there is a blanket requirement (see 14 CCR Section 18993.3) that purchases of paper products and printing and writing paper be consistent with existing Public Contract Code (PCC) requirements regarding recycled content (PCC Sections 22150-22154) and be eligible to be labeled with an unqualified recyclable label as defined by the Federal Trade Commission [16 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 260.12 (2013)].

PCC requires that jurisdictions purchase recycled content paper products and printing and writing paper, when available at no greater cost than nonrecycled products (although price preferences by a jurisdiction are not prohibited). Recycled content paper products and printing and writing paper are defined as consisting of at least 30 percent, by fiber weight, postconsumer fiber.

The regulations also requires that paper purchases must be eligible to be labeled with an unqualified recyclable label as defined in 16 CFR Section 260.12 of the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” (as known as “Green Guides”) [see 14 CCR Section 18993.3].

According to the Green Guides, marketers can make unqualified recyclable claims when recycling facilities are available to at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the item is sold. This requirement supports the organic waste reduction goals established by SB 1383 by helping to divert paper products and printing and writing paper purchased by jurisdictions from the landfill and recycle them at the end of their useful life.


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