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Organics Recycling

Mandatory Organics Recycling (AB1826)

In October of 2014, the State of California adopted Assembly Bill 1826, requiring businesses and multifamily properties to recycle their organic waste materials beginning April 1, 2016. This will help California achieve the goal of 75 percent waste diversion by 2020, as well as an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

What is organic waste?

  • Food scraps and compostable paper: food waste and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste
  • Green/landscape waste: leaves, grass, prunings, trimmings, branches, stumps
  • Non-hazardous wood waste: construction and demolition non treated wood wastes, wooden pallets, wooden crates

Who is required to comply with AB 1826 and recycle their organic waste?

  • Businesses: Businesses and public entities that generate 8 cubic yards (CY) of organic waste (food and/or green waste) per week
  • Multi-Family Properties:Apartment and condominium complexes of five units or more

When does AB 1826 take effect?

AB 1826 will take effect in several phases. The bill requires businesses and multifamily properties generating large amounts of organic waste (8 cubic yards) to recycle their organic waste materials beginning April 1, 2016. In 2017 and 2019, the bill will take effect for those businesses generating smaller amounts of organic and solid waste.

Implementation Dates and Thresholds

  • April 1, 2016 – Businesses generating 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week
  • Jan. 1, 2017 – Businesses generating 4 cubic yards of organic waste per week
  • Jan. 1, 2019 - Businesses generating 4 CY of solid waste (trash) per week

More information on these dates and thresholds is available through the CalRecycle Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling website.

How do I comply with AB 1826?

There are several things businesses can do to comply with AB 1826:

1) Take Landscaping/Wood Waste to Regional Recycling Center

If your business is generating landscaping and clean wood waste materials, you can drop if off at any of these San Diego County recycling locations:

2) Follow Federal Guidelines for Food Recovery

If your business is generating food waste, you can follow federal guidelines for food recovery. The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a hierarchy with tips and other information to help your business prevent and divert wasted food.

3) Learn About Food Waste and How To Prevent It

Forty percent of food in the United States is wasted. Learn about the true impacts of food waste in a new campaign called Save the Food. Developing a food waste prevention plan is an important step for businesses. The resources below can help businesses develop a food waste prevention plan:

4) Don’t Throw Food Away, Donate It

Nearly one in seven San Diego residents (approximately 500,000 people annually) does not know where their next meal is coming from. Regionally, almost 500,000 tons of food waste is sent to the landfill. Instead of throwing food away, businesses can set up systems to donate food rather than throwing it away. The following resources are available for informational purposes. Note that these sites and services are not endorsed by the City of Carlsbad. Contact Us to suggest any additional links.

5) Additional Options for Organic Waste

  • Composting is nature’s way of recycling and turns organic waste into a valuable organic fertilizer. Composting is an excellent alternative to sending food waste to the landfill.
  • Food waste can also be sent to cogeneration facilities to generate energy.
  • As a last resort, food waste can be placed in the trash.

City of Carlsbad is currently working with CalRecycle, the city's trash hauler Waste Management and other jurisdictions in San Diego County to find a regional solution for composting and the energy cogeneration option. More information will be available soon.