This page provides information and resources for obtaining approval to operate a compostable material handling facility or operation. This page is not meant to be a substitute for the full text of the regulations or statute.
- What is a Compostable Material Handling Facility or Operation?
- What is the Regulatory Tier Placement for Compostable Material Handling Facilities or Operations?
- Regulatory Requirements Unique to Compostable Handling Facilities or Operations
- Implementation Issues
- Regulations Summary
- Other Resources
- New Regulations Effective January 1, 2022 (NEW!)
Please note that other local, state, or federal agencies may also have regulatory authority over solid waste facilities and operations.
What is a Compostable Material Handling Facility or Operation?
“Compost” means the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic wastes that are source separated from the municipal solid waste stream, or which are separated at a centralized facility. “Compost” includes vegetable, yard, and wood wastes which are not hazardous waste. [Public Resources Code (PRC) §40116]
“Compostable Material Handling Facility” or “Operation” means an operation or facility that processes, transfers, or stores compostable materials. Handling of compostable materials results in controlled biological decomposition. Handling includes composting, screening, chipping and grinding, and storage activities related to the production of compost, compost feedstocks, and chipped and ground materials. A compostable materials handling facility or operation does not include activities excluded from regulation in [Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (14 CCR) §17855].
“Compostable Materials Handling Facility” or “Operation” also includes: (A) agricultural material composting operations; (B) green material composting operations and facilities; (C) vegetative food material composting facilities; (D) research composting operations; (E) chipping and grinding operations and facilities; and, (F) biosolids composting operations at publicly owned treatment works [14 CCR §17852(a)(12)].
“Active Compost” means compost feedstock that is in the process of being rapidly decomposed and is unstable. Active compost is generating temperatures of at least 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) during decomposition; or is releasing carbon dioxide at a rate of at least 15 milligrams per gram of compost per day, or the equivalent of oxygen uptake. [(14 CCR §17852(a)(1)]
What is the Regulatory Tier Placement for Compostable Material Handling Facilities or Operations?
The following resources are available to help determine which permit tier is appropriate for each type of site:
|Excluded Tier||Enforcement Agency Notification Tier||Registration Permit Tier||Full Solid Waste Facility Permit|
14 CCR §17855
|Agricultural Material Composting Operations (all)
14 CCR §17856
|Composting Facilities (all) (e.g. biosolids,
digestate, food material, mixed material)
14 CCR §17854
Green Material Composting Operations (<12,500 yd3)
|Vegetative Food Material Composting Facilities
14 CCR §17857.2
Green Material Composting Facilities (>12,500 yd3)
|Biosolids Composting Operations at POTWs (all)
14 CCR §17859.1
|Vegetative Food Material Composting Facilities
14 CCR §17857.2
|Research Composting Operations (≤5,000 yd3)
(Within-vessel >5,000 yd3 with EA determination)
14 CCR §17862
|Chipping and Grinding Operations (≤200 tpd)
14 CCR §17862.1(a)
|Chipping and Grinding Facilities (≥200 tpd and ≤500
14 CCR §17862.1(b)
|Chipping and Grinding Facilities (>500 tpd)
14 CCR §17862.1(c)
Regulatory Requirements Unique to Compostable Handling Facilities or Operations
- All compostable material handling facilities and operations are required to comply with the state minimum standards set forth in 14 CCR, Division 7, Chapter 3.1, Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
- Article 7 set forth environmental health standards with regard to sampling requirements, maximum metal concentration requirements, pathogen reduction, and physical contamination limits (operative on January 1, 2018) for compost produced.
- A Report of Compost Site Information (RCSI) is required for all compostable material handling facilities and for vegetative food material composting facilities, as specificed in 14 CCR §17863.
- An Odor Impact Minimization Plan (OIMP) is required for facilities and operations as specified in 14 CCR §17863.4.
- An Odor Best Management Practice Feasibility Report may be required as specified in 14 CCR §17863.4.1.
- Any compostable material derived from an operation or facility that will be land applied must meet the land application requirements pursuant to 14 CCR §17852(a)(24.5)(A).
Answers to frequently asked questions about the implementation of the compost regulations are available on this site.
Regulations Pertaining to Compostable Material Handling Facilities and Operations
|Compost Permit Regulatory Requirement||
14 CCR Chapter 3.1
|State Minimum Standards||
Article 5: Compost Operation & Facility Siting & Design
Article 6: Compost Operating Standards
Article 7: Environmental Health Standards
Article 8: Compost Operation & Facility Records
Article 9: Composting Facility Site Restoration
|Report of Compost Site Information Requirements||14 CCR §18227|
|Odor Impact Minimization Plan||14 CCR §17863.4|
|Odor Best Management Practice Feasibility Report||
14 CCR §17863.4.1
14 CCR §17852
|Regulatory Tier Requirements||
14 CCR §17854.1
New Regulations Effective January 1, 2022
The passage of SB 1383 resulted in changes to Title 14 CCR, Division 7, Chapter 3.1. The following is a brief summary of those changes:
- Once incoming feedstock is received, facility or operation (facility) operators remove material that is not compatible with the composting process so that their final product is marketable. Material removed after processing sent to disposal is residual waste. Operators are required to measure the amount of organic waste in the residual waste sent for disposal and report the percentage to CalRecycle every quarter.
- Facility operators are also required to maintain records including, but not limited to:
- Sampling results
- Incoming weights of material received
- Outgoing weights of material sent to disposal
- Outgoing weights of compost or chipped and ground material produced
- Outgoing weights of compostable material sent offsite to any destinations other than permitted solid waste facility or operation
- Alternative Measurement Protocol Webpage
- Guidance: Carcass Composting Regulatory Pathway During a Declared Emergency
- Guidance: Land Application of Compostable Materials and/or Digestate
- Guidance: Seasonal Storage Adjustment for Green Material Composting Operations
- Testing and Storage Limit Requirements for the Compostable Material Regulations
- Compost Permit Flowchart
- Commenting on CEQA Projects and Other Land Use Developments Adjacent to Active or Closed Solid Waste Facilities
- Detailed discussion grid on compostable material regulations
- Frequently Asked Questions about the implementation of the compost regulations.
- Rulemaking archives for the revised Compost Regulations
- Permit Tier Placement Chart (including the new compost tiers)
- CEQA Document Preparation Guidelines for Composting Facilities
- Conformance Findings for Nondisposal Facilities
- California Department of Health Services (DHS) Report on Bioaerosols and Green-Waste Composting in California (1999)
- LEA Advisory No. 6: Aspergillus, Aspergillosis, and Composting Operations in California
- LEA Advisory No. 39: Issuance of Multiple (Tiered) Permits
- All-LEA Email: Fires at Compost Sites
- All-LEA Email: Composting Operations Regulatory Requirements
- Permit Application Forms
- Compostable Materials
- CalRecycle’s Organic Materials Management Home Page
- Food Scrap Composting Home Page
- Other local, state, or federal agencies which may also have regulatory authority over composting facilities and operations
For more information contact: LEA Support Services, PermitTrainingAssistance@calrecycle.ca.gov