CalRecycle is now accepting applications for waivers and exemptions.

Please email your waiver application and questions toslcp.organics@calrecycle.ca.gov

The Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy tasks jurisdictions with providing all residents and businesses with mandatory organic waste collection services. If certain conditions are met, CalRecycle may issue waivers to jurisdictions, local education agencies, and non-local entities that exempt them from some or all of these collection requirements.

Department Approved Waivers

Rural, Elevation, and Low-Population Jurisdictions

Rural, elevation, and low-population jurisdictions have a small organic waste footprint and face significant challenges to collecting organic material. These jurisdictions can apply to the department a waiver from the organic waste collection requirements that are outlined in Article 3 (14 CCR 18984 - 18984.14). Jurisdictions that receive a department-issued waiver will still contribute to the state’s organic waste recovery targets by implementing other sections of the regulations.

Emergency Waivers

Jurisdictions must notify CalRecycle after issuance of a waiver allowing a facility to temporarily dispose of organic waste in the event of unforeseen circumstances at the facility. Additionally, jurisdictions must submit a waiver to the department to authorize the landfill disposal of organic waste collected in disaster debris, such as from wildfires or other natural disasters.

Non-Local Entities and Local Education Agencies

Non-local entities and local education agencies can apply to CalRecycle to waive their obligation to comply with some or all of the organic waste collection requirements [14 CCR 18986.3(a)]. A non-local entity or local education agency may receive a waiver if any of the following circumstances apply:

  1. If the non-local entity or local education agency generates a de minimis amount of organic material, the entity may receive a waiver from collecting material in the blue and/or green container. For example, if no food waste or green waste is generated on site, then a green collection container for that material would not be necessary. However, a blue recycling container would still need to be provided for the collection of other organic waste, such as paper products and cardboard.
  2. If a non-local entity or local education agency has space constraints that would prohibit the use of the green and/or blue collection container onsite, the entity may receive a waiver from collecting materials in one or both of those containers. This waiver is only applicable in limited scenarios and should decrease in use over the years.
  3. If a jurisdiction is granted a low-population, rural, or elevation waiver and the non-local entity or local education agency is located in the area that is waived, then the non-local entity or local education agency does not have to comply with the requirements outlined in 14 CCR 18986.1-18986.3.

Waiver Eligibility and Applications

The tables below provide an overview of each type of department-issued waiver and a link to the related waiver application, notification, and/or recordkeeping.

Please email your waiver application and questions toslcp.organics@calrecycle.ca.gov

Department-Issued Waivers for Jurisdictions and Jurisdiction Notifications to the Department

Country road with green hills

Low Population Waiver Application for Cities and Special Districts that Provide Solid Waste Collection Services

A jurisdiction (city or special district providing solid waste collection services) may apply to CalRecycle for a waiver for some or all of its generators from some or all of the requirements of Article 3 (14 CCR 18984-18984.10).

To qualify, the following must apply:

  • The jurisdiction disposed less than 5,000 tons of solid waste in 2014 as reported in the Disposal Reporting System.
  • The jurisdiction has a total population of less than 7,500 people.

Application Form

Approved Low Population Waivers

Country road in desert

Low Population Waiver Application for Unincorporated Portions of Counties and Special Districts that Provide Solid Waste Collection Services Located in Unincorporated Portions of Counties

Unincorporated counties or special districts providing solid waste collection services and are located in an unincorporated county may apply to CalRecycle for a waiver for some or all of its generators located within specified census tracts from some or all of the requirements of Article 3 (14 CCR 18984-18984.10).

To qualify, the following must apply:

  • The unincorporated census tracts individually have a population density of less than 75 people per square mile.

Application Form

Approved Low Population Waivers

Bear inside trash dumpster in mountains

Elevation Waiver Application

A jurisdiction may apply to CalRecycle for a waiver from the requirement to separate and recover food waste and food-soiled paper if the entire jurisdiction is at or above an elevation of 4,500 feet or for portions of an unincorporated county with specific census tracts that are at or above an elevation of 4,500 feet.

The elevation waiver can be for some or all of its residential and commercial generators located at or above 4,500 feet.

Application Form

Approved Elevation Waivers

Rural countryside in California

Rural Exemption Application

A rural jurisdiction may apply to CalRecycle for an exemption from complying with the organic waste collection requirements outlined in Article 3 (14 CCR 18984-18984.14)

To qualify, the following must be met:

  • The jurisdiction meets the definition of a “Rural Jurisdiction” as defined in PRC Section 42649.8.
  • The jurisdiction’s governing body adopts a resolution that includes a finding regarding the purpose of and need for the exemption.

Please note all cities in rural counties will need to submit their own waiver application and pass their own resolution, unless the city is located in a rural county that is a Joint Power Authority (JPA) or a Regional Agency (RA) that has passed a countywide resolution.  All cities located in a rural county that are a Joint Power Authority (JPA) or a Regional Agency (RA) that has passed a countywide resolution, will only need to submit their own waiver application.

Application Form

Approved Rural Exemptions

Fire truck in front of a warehouse facility on fire

Notification of Emergency Processing Facility Temporary Equipment or Operational Failure Waivers Issuance

CalRecycle must be notified within 10 days of a waiver decision by a jurisdiction per 14 CCR 18984.13(a).

A jurisdiction may issue a waiver to allow the organic waste stream transported to a facility by its hauler(s) to be deposited in a landfill or landfills for up to 90 days in the following circumstances:

  • The facility processing the jurisdiction’s organic waste has unforeseen operational restrictions that have been imposed upon it by a regulatory agency or an unforeseen equipment or operational failure has temporarily prevented the facility from processing and recovering organic waste.

This form has been developed as a means to notify CalRecycle.

Application Form

Couple standing in front of their burned down home

Disaster and Emergency Notification Submittal

A jurisdiction may obtain a waiver from the department for the landfill disposal of “disaster debris” as defined in CCR Section 17210.1(d) when division of the debris cannot be diverted as defined in CCR 17210.1(e).

Application Form

Department-Issued Waivers for Non-Local Entities and Local Education Agencies

Fire truck in front of a warehouse facility on fire

Non-Local Entity Waiver Application

A non-local entity may apply to CalRecycle for a waiver from some or all of the collection requirements of Article 3 the requirements of Article 5 (14 CCR 18986.1).

To qualify, one of the following criteria must apply:

  • Inadequate space for containers.
  • De minimis amount of generated organic waste.
  • The non-local entity is located within a jurisdiction or census tract that has been granted a waiver by CalRecycle.
  • A waiver application must be submitted for each location/address of the non-local entity that requests to be waived.

Application Form

Couple standing in front of their burned down home

Local Education Agency Waiver Application

A local education agency may apply to CalRecycle for a waiver from some or all of the organic waste collection services requirements of Article 5 (14 CCR 18986.2).

To qualify, one of the following criteria must apply:

  • Inadequate space for containers.
  • De minimis amount of generated organic waste.
  • The local education agency is located within a jurisdiction or census tract that has been granted a waiver by CalRecycle.
  • A waiver application must be submitted for each location/address of the local education agency that requests to be waived.

Application Form

Process for Submitting Waiver Requests & Notification

Jurisdictions, non-local entities, and local education agencies may submit waiver requests to CalRecycle beginning Fall 2021.

Please email your waiver application and questions toslcp.organics@calrecycle.ca.gov

  • CalRecycle will review each request for a waiver or notification to ensure that it is complete and accurate. If the request or notification is not complete or accurate, CalRecycle will contact the person submitting the request for clarification and/or additional information.
  • After review of a complete and accurate waiver request, CalRecycle will notify the applicant of the approval and will post approved waivers on this page (see Department Approved Waivers below).

On September 23, 2021, CalRecycle hosted a statewide webinar that reviewed the requirements for jurisdictions, non-local entities, local education agencies, solid waste facilities to be issued a waiver or exemption by the Department. The webinar included a review of the waiver and exemption application forms and a question and answer session.

  • SB 1383 Department-Issued Waivers and Exemption Webinar | YouTube (1:03:51)
  • PowerPoint Presentation (Coming soon)

Determining Eligibility

The department is continuing to compile specific data for each jurisdiction that is eligible for low population and elevation waiver(s) or rural exemptions, that will be available at a later date. 

The information below will provide basic data that a jurisdiction would need to determine some waiver eligibility based on: total county population for rural designation, unincorporated census tract population density, and jurisdiction population (which may need to be used in conjunction with 2014 Disposal Reporting System Data).

Department Approved Waivers