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Mandatory Commercial Organics (Compost) Recycling - AB 1826

The mandatory Commercial Organic Waste Recycling Law - AB 1826 became effective on January 1, 2016 and requires businesses and multi-family complexes (with 5 or more units) that generate specified amounts of organic waste (compost) to arrange for organics collection services. This includes schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, for-profit or nonprofit organizations, as well as residential dwellings with 5+ units.  

AB 1826 requires businesses and multi-family complexes to start recycling organic waste (compost) by the following 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

*Please note that gardening or landscaping service offered to impacted businesses are also subject to this law and businesses must ensure that this organic waste is recycled.

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Why Compost?

Approximately 30 million tons of waste is sent to landfills in California each year, of which more than 30% is organic and compostable material. Additionally, the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills have been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. These new requirements will be phased in over several years and will help California and our community reach its goal of 75% waste diversion by 2020. 

Regulatory Requirements

This law requires businesses to separate and recycle the following types of organic waste:

  • Food scraps

  • Green waste & yard trimmings
  • Non-hazardous, non- treated wood waste
  • Food-soiled paper and cardboard

Multi-Family Complexes

Multi-family complexes (with 5 or more units) that fall within the schedule outlined above must also separate organic waste and arrange for collection services. Mutli-family complexes are required to separate organic waste with the exception of food waste and food-soiled paper.

How to Comply

To comply with AB 1826, businesses and multi-family complexes must separate organic waste and:

  • Subscribe to the BizSMART organics (Compost) collection service provided by Recology San Mateo County or a similar service provided by another vendor; or,
  • Recycle organic waste onsite, or self-haul organic waste for recycling; or,
  • Sell or donate the generated organic waste.

Please contact Recology San Mateo County to learn more about the BizSMART Compost and Recycle collection services offered in your area.

650.595.3900
  |  GreenYourBiz@Recology.com
  |  www.RecologySanMateoCounty.com

  • State Mandate Information & FAQs
    For more information, please visit: www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Recycle/Commercial/Organics/
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    WILL THIS TAKE MORE TIME TO SORT? We understand that the transition will take time. However, once good habits are formed, it becomes second nature. WILL MY COMPOST CONTAINER SMELL? We recommend using clear or certified compostable bags for your compost. This will help keep odors down and help keep your cart or bin clean. CERTIFIED COMPOSTABLE BAGS Want to know if your bags are certified? Visit BPIWorld.Org to find out. HOW CAN I EDUCATE MY STAFF? Recology offers free, on-site trainings to educate your staff and also provides posters, stickers, and internal containers. All at no additional cost!
  • 75% Diversion by 2020
    RethinkWaste and Recology San Mateo County are working closely with local businesses, property managers, and residents to meet our goal of diverting 75% of landfill waste by the year 2020. Through increased participation in recycling and composting programs, our communities can work toward reaching this goal and reducing our impact on the environment.

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