Commercial Organics Recycling

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Recycling for Commercial & Multi-Family Properties

Since 2012, California’s Mandatory Commercial Recycling Legislation (Assembly Bill 341) has required all businesses that generate four (4) cubic yards or more of solid waste per week and multi-family properties with five (5) or more units to arrange for recycling services. Some California businesses and multi-family properties are also required to recycle their organic waste. Organic waste includes food waste, food-soiled paper waste, and landscaping waste (grass clippings, tree trimmings, etc.).

California’s Mandatory Organic Waste Recycling Legislation (Assembly Bill 1826) builds upon Assembly Bill 341 and sets requirements for businesses (commercial) and multi-family properties (5 units or more) that generate specified amounts of organic waste. These properties are required to arrange for recycling services in accordance with the following schedule:

Effective Date


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

January 1, 2020

Generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week, if statewide disposal of organic waste is not decreased by half








The purpose of Assembly Bill 1826 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diverting commercial organic waste from landfills and transforming it into reusable products.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is organic waste?

Food material resulting from the processing, storage, preparation, cooking, handling, or consumption of food. Examples include:

  • Discarded meat scraps, dairy products, egg shells, fruit or vegetable peels and trimmings;
  • Coffee grounds, chips, pasta, rice, pizza, bread and cheeses;
  • Other unused, expired, or otherwise unwanted food items; and
  • Food-soiled paper products such as used napkins, paper towels, paper plates, and paper cups.

Who must comply?

A business is a commercial or public entity (e.g., school or hospital), including a multi-family residential dwelling (5 units or more), that generates a specified amount of organic waste after April 1, 2016. This includes but is not limited to firms, partnerships, proprietorships, joint stock companies, corporations, or associations organized as for-profit or nonprofit entities, or multi-family residential complexes. For businesses co-located within a shopping center or a single building, the property owner or management company may require tenants or lessees to separate their organic waste to ensure compliance with this law.

The timing of compliance depends upon the type of waste and how much waste a business generates. See above table.

What are the requirements to participate in the City’s organics recycling program?

  • Contact the City of Santa Maria Utilities Department at (805) 925-0951 extension 7270 to request participation in the organics recycling program.
  • Utilize one or more City-provided organics recycling containers for the collection of organic recyclables.
  • Post and maintain City-provided organic waste signs in areas where recyclables are collected.
  • Transfer collected materials to an exterior bin (provided by the City) for pick-up at least two times per week.
  • Educate employees and/or tenants about the program.

What is the cost to participate in organics recycling?

At this time, there is no cost to participate. This may change in the future, however, the City’s goal is to help others comply with State law and divert organic waste away from the Landfill.

Are there other options for a business or multi-family property to recycle organics?

One way is to donate excess food. Fruits and vegetables, non-perishable, unspoiled food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters. Some may be eligible for a tax credit for donating fruits and vegetables to food banks. Consult a tax professional for assistance.

Another way is to recycle organic waste onsite. Examples of recycling methods include composting, transforming into animal feed, or using it as feedstock for anaerobic digesters or incinerators that transform into fuel or electricity. Visit the CalRecycle website (link below) for more information.

Learn more about Mandatory Organic Recycling in California

Resource: CalRecycle Commercial Organics Program

food waste poster