Mandatory Organic Waste Recycling

State Assembly Bill 1826 (AB1826) requires recycling of organic waste from businesses that meet specific waste generation thresholds. Organic waste includes food waste, food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste, plant waste, and wood waste. Implementation is incrementally phased in based on a business's waste generation. 
 

Why Organics?


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills has been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. Mandatory recycling of organic waste is the next step toward achieving California's aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. Organic wastes, such as plant waste and food materials, are recyclable through composting and mulching, and through anaerobic digestion, which can produce renewable energy and fuel. Processing the material into other uses reduces GHG production.  

The organic recycling program represents a significant ratcheting up of waste management regulations that began with AB939 in 1989. AB939 led to the residential curbside recycling programs that have become a standard feature of the waste management landscape. AB1826 will produce both challenges and cost to the business community in much of the same way as AB939 did for the residential community.

Implementation


Implementation is phased in over time according to the amount and type of waste that a business produces. The requirements also apply to multi-family residential dwellings with five or more units; however, they are not required to recycle food waste. Full implementation is required by 2019. Implementation is as follows:

  • April 1, 2016: Businesses that produce 8 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week shall recycle their organic waste.
  • January 1, 2017: Businesses that produce 4 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week shall recycle their organic waste.
  • January 1, 2019: Businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of solid waste per week shall recycle their organic waste.
  • January 1, 2020: If statewide disposal of organic waste is not reduced to 50 percent of the 2014 level, a business that generates 2 cubic yards or more of solid waste per week will recycle their organic waste.

The standard size trash dumpster is 3 cubic yards. Participants are required to recycle all organic waste produced at their facility. Rainbow Environmental Services has developed an organic waste recycling program that will achieve the state mandated goals. Looking forward to the 2019 and 2020 deadlines, much of the commercial sector will be required to participate in the program.

For more information, please visit CalRecycle's webpage on Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling (MORe).