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Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

Recycle new state requirementSet up or imrpove your Recycling Efforts email link

Resources for organics recycling

8.5X11 poster for curbside yard & veggies recycling (PDF: 2.1 mB)

8.5X11 Poster con informacion de reciclaje de vegetales y desechos del jardin (PDF: 6.46 mB)

11X17 poster for curbside yard & veggies recycling (PDF: 1.88 MB)

11X17 Poster con informacion de reciclaje de vegetales y desechos del jardin (PDF: 3.7 mB)

State Mandatory Commercial OrganicsRecycling

CalRecycle’s Public Service Announcement – Mandatory Organics Recycling

Employee-based Generator ID Tool to estimate how many employees to generate 8 cubic yards or 4 cubic yards of organics/week

AB 1826-exemption form

CalRecycle Food Scrap Management

EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge

Local laws related to commercial recycling infrastructure

County code Chapter 22, Sec. 22-2 requires that commercial buildings with fifteen thousand (15,000) square feet of floor space or greater, and multiple housing units with seven (7) or more bedrooms, or any facility generating or anticipated to generate one (1) cubic yard or more of refuse per week, shall provide sufficient container area(s) to house the number and size of containers required.

Recycling ContainersCalifornia’s Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law, AB 1826, requires certain businesses to arrange for organic waste recycling services.

When did the law take effect?

Starting April 2016, AB 1826 will require businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste to arrange for organic waste recycling services.

Effective January 2017 this requirement will extend to businesses that generate 4 cubic yards of organic waste.  

What is the purpose of the law?

  • Mandatory recycling of organic waste is the next step toward achieving California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills 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.

What is organic waste?

  • Organic waste as defined in the law includes the following material: food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste.

Which businesses must comply with the law?

Businesses and public entities, including but not limited to a firm, partnership, proprietorship joint stock company, corporation, or association that is organized as a for-profit or nonprofit entity, strip mall (e.g., property complex containing two or more commercial entities), industrial facility, school, school district, California State University, communitycolleges, University of California, special district or a federal, state, local, regional agency or facility.

A business is required to comply with the new law if it generates a certain amount of waste after the specified date.

Multifamily Residential Dwelling A multifamily dwelling that consists of five or more units are required to recycle their green waste, but are not required to arrange for organic recycling services for food waste, including food-soiled paper.

Implementation Dates

Date Amount of Organic Waste Generated/Week
April 1, 2016 8 cubic yards (cy) of organic waste/week
January 1, 2017 4 cubic yards of organic waste/week
January 1, 2019 4 cubic yards of municipal solid waste/week
Fall 2021 If a 50% reduction of organic waste disposal has not been met, businesses generating 2 cubic yards of commercial solid waste/week will be required to implement organics recycling.

Where does the law NOT apply?

  • Multifamily dwellings of five units or more that generate the required threshold of organics or solid waste are not required to arrange for organic recycling services for food waste, including food-soiled paper.
  • Multifamily dwellings of less than five units.
  • Single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums.

Possible exemptions

To qualify, the commercial entity must submit an AB 1826-exemption form with one of the following reasons:

  • Lack of adequate space for containers
  • A significant portion of organics is being diverted from landfill through other actions (e.g., food donated to people/animals, self-hauling, back-hauling, or on-site composting)
  • Less than a 1/2 cubic yard of organic material is being generated each week

How to get started?

A business that meets the waste generation threshold shall engage in one of the following organic recycling activities:

  • Source separate organic waste from other waste and participate in a waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  • Recycle organic waste on site, or self-haul organic waste off site for recycling.
  • Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.

Business Assistance

  • Get a free on-site waste assessment.
  • Sonoma County Recycling Guide (English & Spanish versions).
  • Posters/letters for organics recycling education and education about the law.
  • Education outreach events
    • Staff trainings
    • Custodial & housekeeping trainings
    • Multifamily complex community events
    • Multifamily complex door-to-door outreach
    • School/kids presentations

For more information and to schedule outreach, contact us at
or (707) 565-2413 or (707) 565-3375.

Organics recycling service providers

For collection of putrescible food waste including food-soiled paper waste, you are required to use the franchised garbage company for your area.

For collection of source separated green waste, landscape/pruning waste and nonhazardous wood waste, see Commercial & Multifamily Dwellings service providers. In addition, use the “What would you like to recycle?” search function at the top of this web page. Choose the topic “Yard debris/wood.”

Sonoma County Waste Management Agency ● 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-100 ● Santa Rosa, CA 95403