Starting April 1, 2016, the new state law requiring "Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling" (AB 1826, signed by Governor Brown) takes effect, requiring many California businesses to recycle their organic waste, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week. This new law has prompted the City of Irvine and other local jurisdictions across the state and their waste haulers to begin implementing food waste and other organics recycling programs that will enable businesses to comply with the law. Organic waste is food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. Apartment complexes and other multifamily residential properties of five or more units are also required to implement programs to recycle landscape organics, but are not required to have food waste diversion programs.
As shown in the chart, organic waste is the single most disposed of material in landfills. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch. Organic waste such as green materials and food materials are recyclable through composting and mulching, and through anaerobic digestion which can produce renewable energy and fuel.
The AB 1826 law phases in mandatory recycling of commercial organics, which means that an increasingly greater portion of the commercial sector will be required to comply over time.
Implementation Dates and Thresholds:
The law phases in the requirements on businesses, including multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units, over time based on the amount and type of waste the business produces on a weekly basis, with full implementation realized in 2019. Additionally, the law contains a 2020 trigger that will increase the scope of affected businesses if waste reduction targets are not met. The implementation schedule is as follows:
- April 1, 2016: Businesses that generate eight cubic yards of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
BUSINESSES AND MULTIFAMILY PROPERTIES IN THIS CATEGORY SHOULD CONTACT THE CITY OF IRVINE'S RECYCLING PROGRAM AT 949-724-7669 FOR ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE if they have not already done so.
- January 1, 2017: Businesses that generate four cubic yards of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
- January 1, 2019: Businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
- Summer/Fall 2021: If CalRecycle determines that the statewide disposal of organic waste in 2020 has not been reduced by 50 percent of the level of disposal during 2014, the organic recycling requirements on businesses will expand to cover businesses that generate two cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week. Additionally, certain exemptions previously discussed, may no longer be available if this target is not met.
Free waste evaluations for your business are available through the City of Irvine. For more information and assistance with implementing or expanding recycling at your workplace, including mandated organics recycling, please contact the City of Irvine's Recycling Program at 949-724-7669.