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Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

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Organic waste productsState of California Assembly Bill 1826

With the passage of AB 1826, new organic recycling requirements will be phased in over several years and will help the state meet its goal to recycle 75 percent of its waste by 2020.

Organic waste is defined as: food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper. Recyclable organic waste accounts for about 40% of all the materials Californians send to landfills each year.

Businesses, including public entities, and multifamily complexes* are required to recycle their organic waste on and after April 1, 2016, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week.

Starting dates for organic recycling programs:

  • 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 has not decreased by half).

*Multifamily complexes must arrange for recycling services for the same material with the exception of food waste and food-soiled paper. Torrance Municipal Code includes all multifamily units in State recycling requirements.

Organic Recycling Services: Most organic waste is recyclable through methods such as composting, mulching, and anaerobic digestion. Organic recycling services often accept a wide variety of different types of organic waste. The requirement to recycle organic waste can be met by taking one or any combination of the following actions:

  1. Source-separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that specifically includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  2. Recycle organic waste onsite, or self-haul organic waste for organic recycling.
  3. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that includes mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
  4. Sell or donate the generated organic waste.

For more information on the law:

CalRecycles' Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling  

  • explains the requirements of the law.
  • has a Q&A section.· has links on food waste management, composting and success stories.
  • features a generator tool to estimate how many employees it takes to generate 8 cubic yards or 4 cubic yards of organics/week for different business types.

Go to Cool California, the Air Resources Board site for small business tool kits and other ideas for sustainability.

You can contact your current refuse and/or recycling hauler for assistance, or select from any of the licensed haulers operating in Torrance by clicking here for a list of licensed haulers.

Or contact Public Works for additional questions at 310-781-6900 or send email to