Composting Organics Is Now The Law for Everyone in California!

California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

In September 2016, the Governor set methane emissions reduction targets for California (SB 1383 Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). California must:

  • Reduce organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025.
  • Rescue for people to eat at least 20% of currently disposed surplus food by 2025.

This law expands upon the goals of AB 341: Mandatory Commercial Recycling and AB 1826: Mandatory Commercial Organics. However, SB 1383 is unique in that it impacts residents in addition to businesses, and it requires some businesses to donate excess edible food to feed people in addition to composting organic materials. Unlike previous laws, there are significant penalties for non-compliance.

Fights Climate Change and Helps Public Health

Organics like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard make up half of what Californians dump in landfills each year. Reducing Short-Lived Climate Super Pollutants like organics will help the climate crisis.

Organic discards in landfills emit: 

  • 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • Air pollutants like PM 2.5, which contributes to health conditions such as asthma.


January 1, 2022 - CalRecycle’s regulations to meet the organic waste reduction targets take effect and are enforceable on this date.

January 1, 2024 - Jurisdictions may impose penalties for non-compliance on regulated entities subject to their authority.

January 1, 2025 - By this date, the state must achieve a 75% reduction in the level of statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level. In addition, not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food must be recovered for human consumption. 

Who's Affected? 

How to Participate in Organics Programs to be Compliant with SB 1383.


Residents can participate in organics programs provided by the Franchised service provider, Republic Services (the green cart!) to compost organic materials at no additional cost to your services. 

Self Haul: It is not mandatory in the RecycleSmart service area to subscribe to services provided by Republic Services, however, all three material streams (organics, recyclable materials and landfill) must be sorted and disposed of at a facility with the ability to process these materials properly. Subscribing to services in Unincorporated County is mandatory unless granted an exemption from the County's Environmental Health Division of the Health Services Department.  

Use a compost bin! Compost your green material, food soiled paper (uncoated) and food scraps at home! Attend a free workshop, and reduce the material you're putting in your carts today! Learn more about backyard composting and purchase a reduced cost compost bin. 


1. Divert and recover your organics from the landfill.

  • Subscribe to regular organics collection service with the Franchised hauler, Republic Services, or
  • Self-haul organics to a local facility. A record must be kept showing the amount of organic material delivered to each facility; this record shall be subject to inspection. 
    • Records must include delivery receipts and weight tickets that indicate the amount of material in cubic yards or tons.

2. Provide organics and recycling service to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.

  • Collection service must be arranged so that access to an adequate number, size, and location of containers is available.
  • Small indoor containers for organics and recycling must be provided in all areas where garbage containers are present, except for restrooms.*
  • For all outdoor and indoor containers, the container bodies or lids shall conform to the following color scheme: gray/black for landfill, blue for recycling, and green for organics. In addition, containers shall have labels with graphic images to indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited.
  • Annually provide educational information about the legal requirements to compost and recycle. In addition, education must be provided on how to properly sort the three waste streams into correct containers. Please note, for new tenants, this information must be provided before or within 14 days of move-in.
  • Periodically inspect recycling and organics containers and inform employees if contamination is found.

3. Tier One and Tier Two commercial entities (defined in the graphic below) are required to donate the maximum amount of excess edible food to feed people.

  • A contract or written agreement must be maintained with food recovery service(s) or organization(s) to pick up or receive edible food.
  • A record must also be kept indicating all types of food being donated, pounds donated per month, frequency of donations, and the contact information of the contracted food recovery service(s) and/or organization(s).
  • Generators shall not intentionally spoil food that can be recovered.
  • Large venues or large event operators that do not provide food services, but allow for food to be provided, shall require food facilities operating on site to comply with the above organics diversion and food recovery requirements.

* Denotes requirements from which multifamily residential dwellings are exempted.

Reference: SB 1383 Regulations §§ 18984.7, 18984.8, 18984.9, 18984.10, 18986.1, 18986.2, 18988.3, 18991.3, 18991.4