State and Local Organics & Recycling Law
A new California State law, SB 1383, aims to keep food and other compostable materials ("organics") out of landfills to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change. Under the law:
- Edible food currently thrown away must be recovered and donated for people to eat,
- The remaining organics must be collected for composting,
- Recyclables must also be kept out of landfills.
Starting January 2022, SB 1383 regulations will be implemented in Alameda County under the Organics Reduction & Recycling Ordinance through a partnership among Alameda County jurisdictions, garbage service providers, StopWaste, and the Alameda County Environmental Health Departments. You can find the full Ordinance here.
For free resources and assistance to help comply with the new law, click here.
Español, 中文, 한국인, & Tiếng Việt www.StopWaste.org/rules-languages.
Who is affected by the new law?
The new law affects all generators of organic waste, including:
- Businesses, institutions, and non-profit organizations
- Multifamily property owners or managers of buildings with 5 or more units
- Residents in single-family homes, apartments, and condos
- Schools (public and private)
- Government agencies, such as state agencies and park districts
Why is this new law important?
Climate change has contributed to severe drought, wildfires, and extreme heat in California. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, is emitted into the atmosphere when compostable materials like food, paper, and yard waste are buried in landfills instead of composted or recycled.
In addition, when food scraps and yard trimmings are sent to a composting facility instead of a landfill, they are turned into compost, a valuable resource farmers and gardeners use to grow healthy food. The State law aims to reduce organics going to landfill by 75% by January 1, 2025.
The law also sets targets to recover and donate edible food. That's because much of the food currently thrown away in California is perfectly good to eat and could feed people instead of going to waste or even composting. Setting up systems to make this high-quality food available for people to eat will not only cut greenhouse gas emissions, but also help alleviate food insecurity in our communities.
For more background about the State law visit CalRecycle's SB 1383 website.
Your site must:
- Subscribe to curbside compost and recycling collection service in addition to garbage*
- Place color-coded and labeled compost and recycling containers next to all indoor garbage containers (excluding restrooms)
- Sort materials into the proper bins
- Compost: Food scraps, compostable paper, and plant waste
- Recycling: Cardboard, paper, bottles, and cans
- Do not place garbage into the compost or recycling bins
- Educate employees, contractors, tenants, and students about the law at least annually
- Commercial properties: Periodically inspect bins and provide feedback to employees and contractors about incorrectly placed items
- Residential & commercial property managers: Inform tenants no later than 14 days after move-in and at least 14 days prior to move-out about the rules
- Some businesses that generate surplus edible food—such as grocery stores, food distributors, and large restaurants—must have a written agreement with a food recovery organization or service to donate edible surplus food to feed people. See “Food recovery & donation information” below
*Don't have compost or recycling collection service? You must either:
- Order service from your collection service provider
- Upload documentation of shared service, back-hauling, or self-hauling of materials
- Apply for a waiver for organics collection
Residents in Alameda County are already provided with curbside recycling and organics/compost collection bins. If you don't have the service or containers, contact your garbage company, or if you live in a multifamily building with five or more units, contact your property manager.
Under the Organics Reduction and Recycling Ordinance, residents must sort recyclable and compostable materials into the appropriate containers. For a list of what goes where in your city visit our RE:Source curbside guide, or download this flyer about sorting recyclables and compostables.
Additional rules for food-generating businesses, institutions, and schools
By the dates listed below, these entities must:
- Recover the maximum amount possible of surplus edible food generated
- Partner with one or more food recovery organizations or services to pick up or receive your surplus edible food
- Have a written contract or agreement with the food recovery organization(s) or service(s)
- Track and maintain records of food recovered each month including type, frequency of collection and amounts in pounds
Type of entity
|Deadline for compliance|
|Large supermarkets, grocery stores, food service providers, food distributors, and wholesale food vendors (Tier 1)||January 1, 2022|
|Large health facilities, hotels, venues, event spaces, restaurants, state agency facilities, & schools with an on-site food facility (Tier 2)||January 1, 2024|
Resources for setting up a surplus edible food recovery program
- Food donation guide for businesses
- Food donation guide for schools
- List of food recovery organizations and services in Alameda County
- Customizable food recovery service agreement/contract
- Link to State food recovery resources
- Setting up service & proper sorting
- Free in-person, virtual, or phone assistance: order new service, set up indoor bins, and/or trainings to sort right
- Collection service providers and contact information by city for businesses
- Collection service providers and contact information by city for multifamily properties
- Searchable list of materials accepted for recycling and composting by city
- Download a flyer about how to sort compost and recycling for residents
- How-to video: Recycling and composting at work
- You can also contact the Ordinance Helpline at (510) 891-6575 (leave message for call back), ask a question with our online form, or email email@example.com for more information
- Signage & bins
- Resources for schools
To file a complaint for a violation of this law, click here.