California requires mandatory organics recycling.
Businesses generating 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week, must recycle their organic waste. The law includes schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, for-profit or nonprofit organizations, as well as residential dwellings with 5+ units. These new requirements will be phased in over several years and will help California recycle 75 percent of its generated waste by 2020.
Why is this necessary?
Landfill gas created by decomposing organic wastes is a significant source of greenhouse gas. This law helps California achieve its aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals and address climate change. Despite the state’s robust and traditional recycling infrastructure, organic materials (yard trimmings, food scraps and soiled paper) make up 41% of the remaining waste stream. Redirecting these resources to composting and digesting operations, will save landfill space, generate energy, reduce emissions, and restore soils.
Organic recycling mandates are triggered by timelines and quantities. Here are the start dates:
- April 1, 2016 - generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
- January 1, 2017 - generators of 4 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
- January 1, 2019 - generators of 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week
- January 1, 2020 - generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week (pending statewide progress) UPDATE: This threshold has been delayed. Four cubic yards is still the minimum standard mandating compliance under AB 1826.
What can you do?
Businesses can meet the mandatory requirements through any of the following:
- Separate organic wastes and contract a waste recycling service to collect and recycle organics.
- Recycle organics on site, or haul organics off site for processing.
- Subscribe to a waste recycling service that separates organics from mixed waste and recycles the organics.
Click here to learn more about California’s Mandatory Organics Recycling Law