Business Requirements and Resources

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 2016 (see Implementation Dates and Thresholds for detailed phase-in information). 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 dwelling. A business that meets the 2 cubic yard waste generation (recycling + organics recycling + disposal) threshold shall engage in one of the following organic recycling activities:

  • Source separate organic waste from other waste and participate in a waste recycling service that includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
  • Recycle its organic waste on site, or self-haul its organic waste off site for recycling.
  • Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.

FoodhierarchNote: A business generating organic waste shall arrange for the recycling services in a manner that is consistent with state and local laws and requirements, including a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, applicable to the collection, handling, or recycling of solid and organic waste. However, if separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not offered through a local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services, until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes organic waste recycling services.

Additional points related to businesses:

  1. A business that is a property owner may require a lessee or tenant of that property to source separate their organic waste to aid in compliance.
  2. Additionally, all businesses that contract for gardening or landscaping services must stipulate that the contractor recycle the resulting gardening or landscaping waste.
  3. A multifamily complex is not required to arrange for recycling services for food waste.
  4. Businesses located in a rural county that is exempted from the law do not have to arrange for recycling services for their organic waste.
  • Generator Identification Information and Tools. Please connect with the local recycling coordinator to confirm whether your business meets the threshold. Some cities and counties may have mandatory commercial organics recycling requirements that are more strict that the state law.
  • A Guide to Workplace Composting was developed by the US Composting Council, with support from Kimberly-Clark Professional and Keep America Beautiful, to provide information on workplace composting programs that support sustainability, waste reduction, and zero waste initiatives. The purpose of this guide is to provide information on composting at the workplace. Many businesses benefit from composting including office buildings, manufacturing facilities, hotels, event venues, hospital and medical facilities, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • A Guide to Segregating & Recycling Packinghouse Waste from Retail StoresPDF download – Collection, transportation, and recycling packinghouse waste, such as raw, unprocessed meat, poultry and fish materials from commercial food facilities, is regulated by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). Please e-mail questions about how to handle and recycle raw, meat, poultry and fish scraps to
  • Business Assistance. CalRecycle has a number of financial assistance programs for recycling manufacturers such as the RMDZ loan program and GHG Reduction Grants and Loans. Each of these have specific project eligibility requirements with respect to siting in a Recycling Market development Zone, diverting from California landfills, creating a product and/or in the case of the GHG Reduction grants and loans, associated GHG reductions. CalRecycle also coordinates with a number of other agencies to offer a broader range of funding and market development services.
  • Greening Your Business. Don’t throw profits out with the trash! Green your business to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with help from CalRecycle.

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Home

For more information contact: Commercial Recycling,