Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

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Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826)  was signed  by California Governor, Jerry Brown, on September 28, 2014. This bill will require businesses, including multi-family buildings with five or more units, that generate a specific amount of organic waste per week (yard trimmings, food scraps and food-soiled paper) to arrange for organics recycling and diversion services according to a tiered implementation schedule.  These organic materials account for nearly one-third of the approximately 30 million tons of waste destined for California’s landfills each year which could be used for soil amendments which as compost and mulch.

What is Organic Waste?

  • Food Scraps including all solid, semi solid and liquid food such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, bones, poultry, seafood, bread, rice, pasta, tea bags, coffee filters and oils.
  • Food-Soiled Paper is uncoated paper that is soiled by food waste such as napkins, paper towels, paper cups, fast food wrappers and take out boxes, egg cartons, used pizza boxes, wax-coated cardboard and other paper and compostable food packaging.
  • Yard Trimmings include grass clippings, leaves, flowers, hedge clippings and weeds.  Non-hazardous wood waste includes tree branches, tree trunks and untreated lumber.

Who is Required to Have Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Services?

Effective January 1, 2016, AB1826 (Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling) places requirements on businesses, multi-family residences and jurisdictions to divert organics, which consists of food waste, green waste and non-hazardous wood waste, out of the landfills.  Obligations for commercial organics recycling will begin on April 1, 2016 and will ramp up over the next  4 years as summarized in the table below:

Commencement Date

Requirements for Businesses and Multi-Family Residences

Requirements for Jurisdictions

January 1, 2016


Implement organics recycling program for businesses and multi-family residences

April 1, 2016

Businesses with 8 cubic yards (CY)/week+ of organic material must recycle organics*


January 1, 2017

Businesses with 4 CY/week+ of organic material must recycle organics*


January 1, 2019

Businesses with 4 CY/week+ of solid waste must recycle organics*


January 1, 2020

Businesses with 2 CY/week+ of solid waste** must recycle organics*


*”Businesses” includes multi-family residences with 5 units or more; however, multi-family premises are not required to recycle food waste.

**This will only be applicable if CalRecycle determines that the statewide disposal of organic waste has not been reduced to 50% of the 2014 disposal level.

To summarize the table above, businesses with 8 cubic yards (CY) of organic waste must have an organics diversion program in place by April 1, 2016.  These identified businesses will have to source separate organic waste from non-organic waste and participate in a waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.    Businesses also have the option to self-haul its organic waste off site for processing and recycling.

The businesses with 4 CY of organic waste would be expected to start organics recycling on or after January 1, 2017 and so forth.

CR&R began offering food waste recycling services for Dana Point food establishments in early 2010 as part of a OC Waste and Recycling grant funded pilot commercial food waste recycling program from April 2010-October 2011.  Dana Point was chosen among eight other Orange County cities to participate in the food waste composting program.  The Dana Point food businesses that participated in this pilot program included Salt Creek Grille, The St. Regis Monarch Beach and the Ritz Carlton.  The total food waste tonnage diverted from these 3 businesses totaled 394.67 tons.

The City’s hauler, CR&R, Inc., has been performing outreach, education and monitoring of the businesses affected by AB1826 and can assist with right-sizing waste services with implementation of the organics program.

View CR&R's Commercial Food Waste Recycling Program handout or call CR&R (877) 728-0446 for program details.

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