Commercial Organics Recycling – It’s the law!
California State Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826) made commercial organic recycling mandatory in 2016. As of January 1, 2020 a business (including public entities) that generates two (2) cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week or is a multifamily residential dwelling of five (5) units or more shall arrange for organic recycling services.
In addition, California State Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) establishes organics diversion regulations that require nearly all residential and commercial entities to recycle organic material. There is also a statewide goal that 20% of edible food that is currently landfilled be diverted to food recovery organizations for human consumption. This law went into effect on January 1, 2020.
According to information from a 2014 waste characterization study, approximately 30 million tons of material are landfilled each year in California. Of that total, more than 30 percent can be diverted for composting/mulch applications. In order to achieve the aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goals, the aforementioned laws have been passed to mandate that 75% of this material be diverted from landfill disposal by 2025.
According to figures from 2014, there are 5.4 million Californians that are food insecure – meaning they have uncertain access to enough food to eat. Food waste constitutes 17-18% of total landfill disposal and a significant portion of that food is appropriate for human consumption. SB 1383 works to help address this gap by requiring the rescue of 20% of the edible food from the waste stream for delivery to local food banks and food recovery organizations.
CalRecycle has identified the following benefits of organics diversion:
- Compost has numerous benefits including water conservation, improved soil health, and carbon sequestration.
- Anaerobic digestion produces biogas that can be used to create electricity or renewable transportation fuels.
- Food rescue assists Californians who are unable to secure adequate, healthy food by diverting edible food to food banks and pantries.
Businesses and Multi-Family units can comply with the law by subscribing to organic recycling service with the Environmental Resources Division. Depending on the organic material generated, either green waste collection, food waste collection or both may be necessary. There may also be opportunities for small-scale community composting where organic materials are managed on site.
Oxnard is partnering with Waste-Free Ventura County (Waste-Free VC) to connect organizations that have edible food to donate with food recovery organizations. It’s easy and free to participate, so any organization that has edible food to donate should take advantage of this program.
Environmental Resources staff are available to consult with business, and perform waste assessments, to help determine the best mix of organics recycling and waste containers (called right-sizing) to maximize both recovery and savings. Send an email to email@example.com to learn more.
Businesses and Multi-Family Units that choose not to use the Environmental Resources Division service and instead utilize a third-party or self-haul their organic material, must annually certify what materials are recycled, how they are being recycled and estimated monthly quantities. They must also commit to communicate any intent to alter their organic recycling service(s) to the Environmental Resources Division prior to implementing them. The Alternative Service Certification Form is linked below.
In certain situations, waivers can be granted for compliance with mandatory organic diversion.
Qualifying circumstances include:
- Physical Space Waiver – Lack of sufficient space in multifamily complexes or businesses to provide additional organic recycling bins.
- De Minimus Waiver – Where an organization generates:
- two (2) cubic yards or more of solid waste per week; generation of 20 gallons or less of organic waste per week.
- less than two (2) cubic yards of solid waste per week; generation of 10 gallons or less of organic waste per week
Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis and must be requested and verified every two years. To begin the waiver process, please complete the form below, and send it with supporting photographic evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.