As part of the State’s goal to achieve 75% waste diversion statewide by 2020, the State adopted a mandatory commercial organic recycling program for local jurisdictions to make available by April 2016. This new law was designed to help improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that are produced in landfills. Organic waste includes food scraps and yard waste. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30% could be used for compost or mulch. 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. 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.

The law phases in mandatory commercial organics beginning with the largest generators. The law includes schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, nonprofit organization and multifamilities of 5 units or more that are generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week. A list of these large generators was established by the City’s waste hauler, Republic Services, and letter notifications were mailed in late February. Refer to attachments above for letters in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Under this new law, businesses, non-profits and multifamilies would need to apply good faith efforts in organic waste recycling through the following options:
• Subscribe to the existing Yard Waste recycling service through Republic Services
• Subscribe to the new Food Scrap recycling service through Republic Services that will commence on April 1,2016
• Recycle organic waste onsite, or self-haul organic waste for organic recycling
• Sell or donate the generated organic waste

To sign up for recycling service with GGD, call (714) 238-3300 or visit their website. The State is allowing for exemptions for small businesses and multifamilies if they lack sufficient space for these collection bins, have alternative methods in place for recycling a significant portion of organic waste, or are undergoing extraordinary/unforeseen events. This exemption is subject to expiration if the State fails to meet disposal reduction targets in 2020.

Additional Resources:

Food Scrap Management
Food Banks and Recovery (Rescue) Organizations