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California is experiencing a climate crisis which includes record-breaking temperatures, longer fire seasons, extreme droughts, and rising sea levels. These extreme weather events are partly caused by decomposed organic material such as food and yard debris in landfills that produce greenhouse gases. California lawmakers have passed a law designed to reduce greenhouse gases by diverting organic waste from landfills.

What Organic Waste Must Be Recycled?

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FOOD SCRAPS

Meats, dairy products (no liquids), fruits, vegetables, spoiled food, breads, leftovers, eggshells, nutshells, seafood, bones, coffee grounds, and tea bags.

FOOD-SOILED PAPER

Paper towels, napkins, non-shiny paper plates, paper cups, paper grocery bags with food scraps, greasy pizza boxes, and coffee filters.

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YARD TRIMMINGS &
LANDSCAPE MATERIALS

Grass clippings, leaves, weeds, pine needles, flowers, plant trimmings, small amounts of sod, and branches less than 3 inches in diameter.

SENATE BILL (SB) 1383

A new California State Law Senate Bill (SB) 1383 aims to keep food and other compostable materials known as organic waste out of landfills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the Mandatory Organic Waste Disposal Reduction Ordinance that requires all residents and businesses to subscribe to organic waste collection services. The separate collection of organic waste helps to divert it from entering landfills where it would decompose, release methane gas, and pollute the air impacting the climate.

Why Recycle Organic Waste?

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Policy Based On Science
Our Science Say Pollution Is Changing Our Climate

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Reduce
THE RELEASE OF METHANE GAS

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When organic waste is buried in a landfill and decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that pollutes the air and contributes to climate change.

Reduce
EXTREME WEATHER

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Climate change can look like extreme changes to weather, such as more frequent and intense heat waves, large storms, drought, more frequent or larger wildfires, and insect outbreaks.

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Create
USEFUL PRODUCTS

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When organic waste is collected separately from trash, it can be processed to create useful products such as compost, renewable electricity, and transportation fuel without releasing methane into the air.

Provide
EDIBLE FOOD TO LOS ANGELES
FAMILIES IN NEED

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Food service providers such as food distributors, restaurants, or grocery stores, are in the unique position to recover excess edible food that is safe to consume and donate it to local food recovery organizations that serve Los Angeles families in need.

Organic Waste Reduction Targets

SB 1383 establishes the following targets to reduce emissions:

0%

Reduction in statewide organic waste disposal by 2025 (from 2014 baseline)

0%

Rescue at least 20% of currently disposed edible food for human consumption

How To Comply?

Mandatory organic waste collection services are being rolled-out in phases throughout 2022 depending on your service area. Your waste hauler will provide specific information on when and how to separate your waste materials into the correct containers to ensure proper processing of organic waste and reduce contamination. Other options include managing your organic waste on-site such as composting, donating food scraps to a local farm, or self-hauling to a local composting site.

Requirements For Residents

Food waste accounts for 25% of the total disposed waste from multi-family residences (5 units or more).

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SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCES & MULTI-FAMILY (2-4 UNITS)

As a single-family household, a large portion of your waste may be organic materials, such as green waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper. With the new organic waste collection service, most residents will continue to use their current containers for trash, recyclables, and green waste, but place food waste in with their yard or green waste container.

Click on the following links for more information:

You may self-manage all or part of your organic waste.  Self-management includes, but is not limited to self-hauling, back-hauling, or on-site composting.  If you self-haul your organic waste, you must take it to an acceptable community compost center.  If you would like to manage your organic waste on site, and learn more about backyard composting, please visit SmartGardening.com.  Webinar attendees may purchase a discounted compost bin.  If you self-manage, you will be required to register and submit information to Los Angeles County Public Works to ensure compliance.

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MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENCES (5 UNITS OR MORE)

The County is transitioning the collection services from a Non-Exclusive Commercial Franchise System to an Exclusive System in unincorporated communities, where one waste hauler is awarded a specific service area. One benefit of having a single hauler is that it reduces the total number of vehicles on the road from multiple haulers, while also providing consistency in services offered. Due to this change, mandatory organic waste collection service will not start until the Exclusive System starts, which is October 1, 2022. Click here for more information.

Managers and owners of certain multifamily buildings of five (5) units or more have additional responsibilities.

  • Subscribe to an organic waste collection service in addition to garbage and recycling through a franchised hauling company for your area.
  • You can self-haul your materials and must ensure organic waste and recyclables are not landfilled, and receipts and weight tickets are kept on file. If you self-manage any part of your organic waste, such as through self-hauling, backyard composting, or back-hauling, you will be required to register and submit information to Los Angeles County Public Works to ensure compliance.
  • Provide an adequate number of organic waste and recycling containers to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.
  • Containers for organic waste and recycling must be provided in all areas where garbage containers are present, except for restrooms, or inside multi-family dwelling units.
  • Educate your tenants and staff on how to separate organic waste and recycling from garbage and provide them with an adequate number of organic waste and recycling containers.
  • Containers must have labels with language and/or graphic images so employees or tenants can indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited by your hauler. Visit your franchised hauling company’s website to download free labels and posters.
  • Inspect containers periodically to make sure the right materials are going in the right containers.
  • May apply for a waiver and temporarily exempt from some or all requirements, if adequate documentation and evidence are provided to support the waiver options. More details will be coming soon.

Requirements For Businesses

Businesses generate nearly 70% of solid waste in California. 

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THESE REQUIREMENTS APPLY TO ALL FOR-PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT BUSINESSES, INCLUDING GOVERNMENT OFFICES, AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES.

  • Subscribe to an organic waste collection service in addition to garbage and recycling through a franchised hauling company for your area.
  • Businesses can self-haul their materials and must ensure organic waste and recyclables are not landfilled, and receipts and weight tickets are kept on file. If your business self-manages any part of your organic waste, such as through self-hauling, backyard composting, or back-hauling, you will be required to register and submit information to Los Angeles County Public Works to ensure compliance.
  • Provide an adequate number of organic waste and recycling containers to employees, contractors, tenants, and customers.
  • Containers for organic waste and recycling must be provided in all areas where garbage containers are present, except for restrooms, or inside multi-family dwelling units.
  • Educate your tenants and staff on how to separate organic waste and recycling from garbage.
  • Containers must have labels with language and/or graphic images so employees or tenants can indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited by your hauler. Visit your franchised hauling company’s website to download free labels and posters.
  • Inspect containers periodically to make sure the right materials are going in the right containers.

  • Businesses may apply for a temporary waiver by the and exempt from some or all of the requirements, if they can provide adequate documentation and evidence to support one of the waiver options. More details coming soon.
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  • Inspect containers periodically to make sure the right materials are going in the right containers.
  • Businesses may apply for a temporary waiver by the and exempt from some or all of the requirements, if they can provide adequate documentation and evidence to support one of the waiver options. More details coming soon.

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UPCOMING EXCLUSIVE COMMERCIAL FRANCHISE

The County is transitioning the collection services from a Non-Exclusive Commercial Franchise System to an Exclusive System in unincorporated communities, where one waste hauler is awarded a specific service area. One benefit of having a single hauler is that it reduces the total number of vehicles on the road from multiple haulers, while also providing consistency in services offered. Due to this change, mandatory organic waste collection service will not start until the Exclusive System starts, which is October 1, 2022. Click here for more information.

Requirements For Local Education Agencies and Non-Local Entities

Schools dispose of over 500,000 tons of solid waste in California each year, according to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. 

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SB 1383 REQUIRES ORGANIC WASTE COLLECTION BY ALL K-12 PUBLIC AND CHARTER SCHOOLS, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES, COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS, PRISONS, STATE AGENCIES, STATE FACILITIES, FEDERAL FACILITIES, AND SPECIAL DISTRICTS.

  • Subscribe to organic waste collection service in addition to garbage and recycling through a franchised or other qualified hauling company.
  • Self-hauling is allowed; however, you must make certain that organic waste and recyclables are not landfilled and receipts and weight tickets must be kept on file.
  • Provide recycling and organic waste collection containers in all areas where a garbage container is located, except for restrooms. Containers must have labels with language and/or graphic images to indicate primary materials accepted and prohibited
  • Educate employees, contractors, and students on how to separate organic waste and recycling from garbage.
  • Inspect containers periodically to make sure the right materials are going in the right containers.
  • Provide education on how to prevent generation of organic materials (source reduction).
  • FREE  Youth for Environmental Sustainability (YES) toolkit to download bins signage, tracking sheets, interactive recycling activities, and much more to encourage students to consume their food and recycle food waste.

Food Recovery and Donation Requirements

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LARGE EDIBLE FOOD SERVICE GENERATORS ARE REQUIRED TO DONATE EXCESS EDIBLE FOOD TO FOOD RECOVERY ORGANIZATIONS, WHO WILL REDISTRIBUTE THE FOOD TO FEED FOOD INSECURE PEOPLE.

  • Must have a contract or written agreement with food recovery service(s) or organization(s) to pick up or receive edible food.
  • Must keep records indicating the 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).
  • Edible food service generators shall not intentionally spoil or discard food that can be donated.
  • Large venues or event operators that allow food facilities to provide food services shall require food facilities to follow the food recovery and donation requirements above.
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HELP FIGHT HUNGER

Each year, Los Angeles County unincorporated communities toss approximately 256,000,000 pounds of food into the trash. The County has partnered with local charities to offer businesses a food donation option through Food DROP (FoodDROPLA.com).

The mission of Food DROP is to provide resources for businesses operating in the County unincorporated communities to safely donate their excess edible food to help fight hunger in Los Angeles County and divert food waste from the landfills.

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TAX DEDUCTIBLE

All businesses who donate to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that uses the food for the care of the ill, the needy, or infants can receive an enhanced tax deduction.

Required Timeline For Edible Food Generators By Type

Edible Food Generators are split into two tiers, based upon volumes generated, and must arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise be landfilled.

TIER ONE
COMMERCIAL ENTITIES REQUIRED TO COMPLY STARTING
JANUARY 1, 2022

  • Supermarkets
  • Grocery stores (with a total facility size ≥ 10,000 sq.ft.)
  • Food service providers (contracted)
  • Food distributors
  • Wholesale food vendors

TIER TWO
COMMERCIAL ENTITIES REQUIRED TO COMPLY STARTING
JANUARY 1, 2024

  • Restaurants (with ≥ 250 seats, or ≥ 5,000 sq. ft.)
  • Hotels (with an on-site food facility and ≥ 200 rooms)
  • Health facilities (with on-site food facility and ≥ 100 beds)
  • Large venues
  • Large events
  • State agencies (with a cafeteria with ≥ 250 seats, or ≥ 5,000 sq. ft.)
  • Local education agencies (with an on-site food facility)

Frequently Asked Questions

Residential customers already receive a default 3-cart service; thus, there is no need to decline the converted green waste cart that will be used for organic waste collection service.  There are 2 waivers that will be considered for businesses only, a De Minimis Waiver or a Physical Space Waiver.  The County may grant a De Minimus Waiver to a business that that can demonstrate either of the following:

a.  It generates more than two cubic yards of Solid Waste per week and less than 20 gallons per week that would need to be placed in an Organic Waste Container; or

b. It generates less than two cubic yards per week of Solid Waste and less than 10 gallons per week that would need to be placed in an Organic Waste Container.

A business may choose to self-haul or self-manage some or all of their organic waste so that they could qualify for a De Minimus Waiver and opt out of the organic waste collection service from their waste hauler.

The County may grant a Physical Space Waiver to a business if it can adequately demonstrate that the premises lack adequate space for multiple containers required by an Organic Waste Collection Service.

Yes, educational facilities, such as schools, school districts, county offices of education, community colleges, universities, and other educational facilities are required to subscribe to organic waste collection service or self-manage organic waste.

Yes, the County encourages food waste reduction and edible food donation whenever possible.

The Agreement is intended to assist large food generators and food recovery organizations participate in continuous donation as well as comply with the State regulations.

The county is contacting businesses to assess and determine the amount of food that will need to be donated.

Food recovery organizations such as food banks redistribute edible food to food insecure individuals and families fighting food waste, hunger, and pollution simultaneously.

No. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation ActPDF download protects donors from liability and encourages the donation of suitable food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals.

Yes, businesses may self-haul their food waste to a permitted organic waste processing facility such as a composting site, back-haul organic waste to a central location for their waste hauler to collect, or compost organic waste on-site.

Food service providers must donate food to a food recovery organization such as a food bank, take measures to prevent food waste, and subscribe to organic waste collection service or self-manage organic waste by self-hauling or managing on-site such as through composting.

Options to store food waste and reduce odors are placing food scraps in lidded containers (such as in an empty coffee tub) in your freezer until waste collection day, line your container with readily available organic material such as newspaper, brown yard waste, to absorb odor causing liquids, frequent cleaning of your container, and keeping your container in a dark and cool area. Additional ideas may be provided by your organic waste hauler for how to store your food scraps prior to placing them in the green cart or bin they provide.

Food waste collected by a hauler is transported to a permitted organic waste processing facility that creates mulch, compost, energy, or fuel. Mulch and compost are deposited back to the earth where it can enrichen soil. Energy and fuel are used power electricity or fuel vehicles lessening our dependency on non-renewable energy and fuel resources.  After the energy is extracted from the food waste, the remaining solids are used to create compost.

Violations involving container contamination are generally not subject to fines, but you will receive a notice on how to properly sort your waste. If contamination occurs repeatedly or in large amounts, or you are intentionally not participating in proper separation of your waste, then your waste hauler may issue you a contamination fee.

Organic waste collection services may vary slightly depending on the area you are in and what is accepted by the organics processing facility your waste hauler takes the waste to. Containers must be labeled and/or have images to indicate the primary materials accepted and prohibited by your hauler. Generally, organic waste collection service includes the acceptance of green or yard waste, food and beverage soiled paper, and food scraps.  

All residents in multi-family housing (including occupants of apartment or condo complexes) are required to participate in some form of organic waste collection service from their waste hauler. Speak to your landlord or property manager responsible for compliance to learn more about how to sort your waste including food, yard, recyclables, and waste that cannot be recycled.

When organic waste is buried in a landfill and decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that pollutes the air and contributes to climate change. In 2016, California established a goal to reduce methane emissions by targeting landfills that are one of the top three sources of methane production in the state. Thus, the State waste authority CalRecycle developed regulations to achieve this goal, requiring the separation of organic waste to be composted instead of landfilled to fight climate change.

Organic waste is material that comes from living organisms such as, but not limited to, food, food scraps, food-soiled paper, paper products, yard or green waste, wood, manure, and organic textiles like cotton.

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For specific information about how organic waste is being managed in your community, contact your waste hauler. If you live in an unincorporated area, you may also call Los Angeles County Public Works staff at (888) 253-2652 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. We also encourage you to check back to this website for additional updates.

*ADA and Title VI Accommodations: Individuals requiring reasonable accommodations, interpretation services, and materials in other languages or in an alternate format may contact Los Angeles County Public Works at (626) 458-5100. Requests will be processed within 7 days. Individuals with hearing or speech impairment may use California Relay Service 711.

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