New Trash Law Affects All California Businesses

Commercial Zone Blog

March 8, 2022

New Trash Law Affects All California Businesses

A new California law will change the way businesses dispose of organic waste. Is your business compliant? Learn more...

This year, California begins its statewide effort to cut down on short-lived climate pollutants, like methane, by enacting new organic waste regulations. The new state law (Senate Bill SB 1383) aims to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by 75% by 2025 by diverting organic waste like food waste, saturated paper products, wood scraps and more into green organic recycling (composting) receptacles. Food waste alone currently accounts for 15% of all waste in California.

What does compliance look like for California businesses?

While past regulations have been somewhat vague, these new rules outlined in SB 1383 are extremely detailed and specific and will affect nearly all California businesses. According to CalRecycle, businesses should provide recycling and organic recycling containers that are adjacent to trash containers, visible, easily accessible and marked (except in restrooms). Waste containers must conform to color and label requirements which include both text and/or images. Labels can be stickers or printed onto the containers. Requirements can vary by jurisdiction but are consistent in that all organic waste must be sent to a facility and processed correctly. Here are the possible configurations:

  • 1 bin system- gray, all solid waste and recycling. Must be sent to a high-diversion organic waste processing facility to be processed.
  • 2 bin system- either one gray and one green or one gray and one blue. In both setups, the gray containers must be sent to a high-diversion organic waste processing facility to be processed.
  • 3 bin system- a green container is used for food and yard waste, a blue container is used for traditional recycling, and gray for non-organic waste that is non-recyclable. The green containers must be sent to a high-diversion organic waste processing facility to be processed, grey waste is sent to a landfill and blue is sent to a recycling processor.

Businesses are not required to replace containers that do not comply with the color requirements until December 2035 or when the container is replaced before 2035.

What does compliance look like for California residents?

Californians are already familiar with the organic recycling bins used for yard waste. The only real difference for early organic recycling adopters is the need to include items like food waste, greasy paper products and wood scraps in these same containers. The legislation provides funding for all homeowners to receive a smaller, indoor container for use within their kitchens. Businesses and multi-family complexes like apartments will not be covered and must provide these green compost containers for their customers to use.

How will SB 1383 be enforced?

At first, leniently. Ambassadors for the program will be inspecting businesses and garages and leaving “oops notes” to those who are non-compliant. Beginning in 2024, these non-compliant businesses and homeowners will be fined starting at $50 for the first offense up to $500 for a third.

Commercial Zone makes it easy and quick for businesses to get into full compliance by offering a full line of commercial-grade trash and recycling containers in stock and ready to ship along with customizable options. Check out our 600 unique product choices on our website or call 800-782-7273 to speak to one of our experts.