SB 1383: State Organics Law

What is SB 1383?

Effective January 1, 2022, SB 1383 is a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. Specifically, the law sets the following goals:

  • By 2025, reduce the amount of compost materials disposed in landfills by 75%.
  • By 2025, rescue at least 20% of edible food currently disposed for human consumption.

This law expands upon the requirements of AB 341: Mandatory Commercial Recycling and AB 1826: Mandatory Commercial Organics. However, SB 1383 is unique in that it impacts residents, property managers and owners, and businesses. It also requires some businesses to donate excess edible food to feed people while diverting compost materials from the garbage.

The final regulations for SB 1383 can be found here.

Why SB 1383?

California is experiencing a climate crisis: record-breaking temperatures, longer fire seasons, extreme droughts, and rising sea levels. These extreme weather events are partly caused by too much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, so named because they trap the sun’s heat and warm the planet.

When compostable materials such as food scraps and paper products break down in a landfill, they produce methane (CH4)—one of the most potent greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

In San Mateo County almost 71% of all waste landfilled by San Mateo County is compost material. Meeting the goals of SB 1383 for 75% requires diversion of about 292,000 tons per year. While this goal may seem big, each one of us has the power to help reach this goal.

Who does SB 1383 apply to?

SB 1383 applies to all residents (single-family homes and apartments/condos), businesses, education agencies, and non-local entities (special districts, state/federal facilities, and prisons).

How does it impact me as a resident?

All residents living in single-family homes in the RethinkWaste Service Area are automatically provided curbside organics (compost/green cart) service. If you do not have compost service, please contact Recology San Mateo County to set it up.

How does it impact me as a business?

If you own a business or apartment/condo complex* (of five units or more), you are required to:

  • Subscribe to and participate in the compost service via Recology San Mateo County. Alternatively, self-haul is allowed as long as records of receipts and weight tickets are kept.
  • Provide collection containers for compost and recyclables to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.
    • There must be access to an adequate number, size, and location of containers with correct labels.
    • Containers for compost and recyclables must be provided in all areas where garbage containers are present, except in restrooms or inside multi-family property units.
    • Container bodies or lids shall conform to the following color scheme: gray/black for garbage, blue for recycling, and green for compost materials. In addition, containers shall have labels with graphic images to indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited. Recology San Mateo County may be able to provide some containers and labels at no additional cost.
  • Annually provide educational information about the requirements to compost and recycle including how to sort properly between the three waste streams. RethinkWaste and Recology San Mateo County can provide educational materials for your employees and apartment/condo tenants.
  • Periodically inspect recycling and compost containers and inform employees if contamination is found.

*Businesses and multi-family properties may be granted a waiver and exempted from some requirements if they can provide documentation and evidence to support one of the waiver options. More information about waivers on our Organics Collection Waiver page.

Who is required to donate edible food?

If you are a large, food-generating business or organization you have new edible food recovery requirements under SB 1383. Edible food recovery is the act of diverting surplus edible food from businesses, organizations, or events that otherwise would have been disposed of for consumption by members of our community.

The entire RethinkWaste service area ispart of one countywide edible food recovery program to help all affected businesses and organizations meet their new requirements. This program is managed by the County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability and has recovered millions of pounds of food to date!

Visit County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability to learn if your business has new edible food recovery requirements, the countywide program, and resources available to help you comply.

Why Are My Bins/Carts Inspected?

SB 1383 requires that every city, town and county conduct annual reviews of residential and commercial carts/bins to assess contamination levels of each of the waste streams. This is an effort to keep these waste streams clean and increase what is recycled and composted. A lot of the material currently going to local landfills is compost material (food scraps, yard trimmings, and food/beverage soiled paper) that could have been beneficially collected in the Compost Cart/Bin.

What Should I Do if I See An SB 1383 Violation?

If you believe a violation has occurred (such as failure to provide recycling, compost or improper sorting of materials) in the RethinkWaste service area, please complete our SB 1383 Violation Complaint Form. RethinkWaste will review your submission and commence an investigation within 90 days.