AB 1826 Mandatory Organics Recycling

Mandatory Commercial Organics (Compost) Recycling – AB 1826

The mandatory Commercial Organic Waste Recycling Law – Assembly Bill (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. Download the AB 1826 brochure here.

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, recycling, and organic waste combined per week

Generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste, recycling, and organic waste combined 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 requirements will help California and our community reach its goal of 50% waste diversion by 2020. 

Regulatory Requirements

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

  • Food scraps
  • Green waste and 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. Multi-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 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 Compost and Recycle collection services offered in your area.

For more information about AB 1826, please visit CalRecycle’s website on the law: calrecycle.ca.gov/Recycle/Commercial/Organics/

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that the transition will take time. However, once good habits are formed, it becomes second nature.

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.

Want to know if your bags are certified? Visit BPIWorld.Org to find out.

Recology offers free, on-site trainings to educate your staff and also provides posters, stickers, and internal containers. All at no additional cost!