AB 1826 - Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Program

In October of 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 1826 Chesbro, requiring businesses across the state to recycle their organic waste on and after April 1, 2016, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week. This law also requires that on and after January 1, 2016, local jurisdictions across the state implement an organic waste recycling program to divert organic waste generated by businesses, including multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units (please note, however, that multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program). 

Implementation Dates and Thresholds 

The requirements established in the law have been implemented in phases, with the most current phase being in effect since January 1, 2019. 

  1. April 1, 2016: Businesses that generate 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste shall arrange for organics collection services.
  2. January 1, 2017: Businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services. 
  3. January 1, 2019: Businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week shall arrange for organic waste recycling services.
  4. 2020 Assessment: 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 2 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week.

Organic Waste 

Organic waste is split into two categories: food waste and green waste. Food waste includes all food scraps, peels, nuts, seeds, meat, bones, shells, and food-soiled paper. Green waste includes all plant debris and landscaping waste. For more information, please visit CalRecyclye's Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling page.

How to Comply

Businesses can meet the requirements by taking one or any combination of the following actions: 

  1. Source separate organic waste from other waste and participate in a waste recycling service that includes the collection and recycling of organic waste. 
  2. Recycle (compost) organic waste on-site, or self-haul organic waste off-site for recycling. 
  3. Donate surplus, edible food to local food banks instead of throwing it away. 
  4. Connect with local farmers or facilities that can process pre-consumer food waste into animal feed.

Business Tips to Prevent Food Waste

Reducing food waste saves money and resources by reducing your purchasing, handling, disposal and energy costs. Additionally, your business can receive tax benefits from donating edible food to local food banks and other food rescue organizations.

  • Donate pre-consumer food to local food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters.
  • Donate pre-consumer food to local farmers.
  • Compost post-consumer food and keep it out of the landfill.
  • Assess and track what food is being wasted.
  • Choose the best waste reduction strategy for the opportunities that exist at your facility.
  • Adjust food purchasing policies to prevent excess food purchasing.
  • Adjust menus to reduce frequently uneaten or wasted items.
  • Adjust preparation methods and portion sizes to minimize waste.
  • Store food properly to avoid spoilage.
  • Repurpose leftovers.

Available City Resources 

The City of Arcata’s Environmental Services Department offers the following free services to assist businesses with meeting the organic diversion requirements. Click here for a printable brochure that overviews AB 1826. 

  • On-site assistance: By visiting businesses and learning about business operations, city staff can provide advice on how to implement waste diversion programs. Contact Environmental Services at 707-822-8184 to schedule an AB 1826 site visit.
  • Posters and other educational materials: City staff can provide posters, handouts, and other materials that graphically show which items belong in the organics, recycling, and landfill bins.