Organics Recycling

Some California businesses and multifamily properties are required to start recycling their organic waste by April 1, 2016.  Organic waste includes food waste, food-soiled paper waste, and landscaping waste (grass clippings, tree trimmings, etc.).

The purpose of California’s mandatory commercial recycling law (Assembly Bill 1826) is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diverting commercial organic waste from landfills and transforming it into reusable products through composting, anaerobic digestion, or incineration.  

Business and Multi-Family Recycling in Elk Grove

Per the new state law, some Elk Grove businesses and multifamily properties will be required to recycle organics based upon the following timetable: 

April 1, 2016 Generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
January 1, 2017 Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
January 1, 2019 Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week
 January 1, 2020   Generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week, if statewide disposal of organic waste is not decreased by half

Learn more about mandatory organic recycling in California:

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is organic waste?

Recyclable Organics may include:

 

  • Food material resulting from the processing, storage, preparation, cooking, handling, or consumption of food. Examples include:
    • discarded meat scraps; dairy products; egg shells; fruit or vegetable peels and trimmings;
    • other unused, expired, or otherwise unwanted food items;
    • and food-soiled paper products such as used napkins, paper towels, paper plates, and paper cups.
  • Landscaping Waste
    • leaves, grass clippings, plants, and seaweed;
    • pruning’s, shrubs, and small branches; and
    • stumps.
  • Wood Waste
    • Unpainted, new or demolition (may contain nails or other trace contaminants);
    • plywood, particleboard, wafer board, oriented strand board, and other residual materials used for construction (may contain nails or other trace contaminants); and
    • unpainted wood pallets, crates, and packaging made of lumber/engineered wood.
  • Who must comply?

    The mandatory organics recycling law defines a business as a commercial or public entity (such as a school or hospital), including multifamily residential dwellings (5 units or more), that generates a specified amount of organic waste after April 1, 2016.

    A business is a commercial or public entity, 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, or a multifamily residential complex. For businesses that are co-located within a shopping center or a single building, the property owner or management company may require tenants or lessees to separate their organic waste for compliance with this law.

    Multifamily complexes are not required to recycle food waste, only landscaping waste.

    The timing of compliance will depend upon how much waste your business generates:

    A business that meets the waste generation threshold must do one or more of the following activities to be in compliance:

    April 1, 2016Generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week

    January 1, 2017Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week

    January 1, 2019Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week

    January 1, 2020 Generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week, if statewide disposal of organic waste is not decreased by half

     

    How do I recycle organics?

    1. Donate excess food: Fruits and vegetables, non-perishable, unspoiled food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters. AB 152 provides a 10% tax credit for California growers donating fruits and vegetables to food banks. (click here for a list of non-profit organizations in the Sacramento/Elk Grove area that may be interested in receiving donations. Please call the organization directly to confirm their ability and willingness to accept donated food items.)
    2. Separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that specifically includes collection and recycling of organic waste. (Click here or a list of registered haulers to coordinate services.) This is similar to existing recycling services for items such as paper, plastic, and aluminum where the recyclable materials are placed into a separate bin for collection.
    3. Recycle organic waste onsite. Examples of recycling methods can include composting, transformation into animal feed, or use as feedstock for anaerobic digesters or incinerators that transform it into fuel or electricity.
    4. Self-haul organic waste to an authorized recycling facility. For this option, you must complete and retain onsite a Self-Haul Recycling Form.
    5. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that includes mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.

    What are the program requirements?

    1. Complete a Recycling Plan with your solid waste hauler. The Recycling Plan includes summary information about your business or multi-family property and indicates how you will comply with the program.
    2. Keep the organic recyclables separate from your trash and other recyclables.
    3. Provide for the collection and delivery of recyclables to a recycling facility by either:

      a. Entering into a Service Agreement with a Registered Commercial Hauler or an Authorized Recycler for the collection of recyclables; or

      b. Self-haul organic waste to an recyclables to an authorized recycling facility. For this option, you must complete and retain onsite a Self-Haul Recycling Form.

    4. Provide containers for the collection of recyclable materials. within your business/facility. Your waste hauler may provide you with a bin or you can request a free organic recycling bin from the City (while supplies last).
    5. Post and maintain organic waste signs in areas where recyclables are collected.
    6. Transfer collected materials to an exterior bin for pick-up by your waste hauler (organic waste must be picked up a minimum of two times per week).
    7. Educate employees and/or tenants about the program.

    Who are the registered commercial haulers and authorized recyclers?

    Only Registered Commercial Haulers or Authorized Recyclers can collect and haul recyclables in the City of Elk Grove. View the list of commercial service providers.

    Will it cost money for my business or multi-family property?

    Possibly. Your existing hauler may or may not charge more to begin picking up your organic waste. You may need to contract with an additional hauler if your existing hauler does not provide this service. However, you may be able to save money by reducing the amount of trash you generate once you begin recycling organics because this could decrease the size of your trash dumpster or the frequency of collection. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about reducing overall costs. In general, waste reduction can save businesses money. See our brochure, "Waste Reduction Tips for Businesses."

    Where are some food donation programs in the area?

    For a list of programs accepting food donations, click here

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