California Organics Recycling Regulations

Updated: July 2023


The landfill has long been the accepted destination for food and other organic waste. However, this is changing, especially in California with passage of the 2014, California Mandatory Organics Recycling Program (AB 1826). The goal of AB 1826 is to reduce the amount of organic waste that covered businesses send to landfills by half of the 2014 amount. As of January 1, 2019, covered businesses include retailers and other businesses that generate more than four cubic yards of commercial waste each week. These businesses need to arrange for organic waste recycling services or take steps to recycle their organic waste onsite. While AB 1826 will apply across California, the program is implemented at the local level. Therefore, the specific requirements and potential penalties can vary across the State.:

In addition to the requirements set by AB 1826, retailers are subject to requirements set forth by California’s SB 1383:Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Act. SB 1383 targets the reduction of methane emissions from the disposal of organic waste. This fact sheet lays out the elements of AB 1826 that may apply to retailers. It also includes the requirements set forth by SB 1383 and any local jurisdictions that have implemented organic recycling programs more restrictive than California’s AB 1826 regulations.

This fact sheet also includes solutions to common organic waste compliance challenges for retail.


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