Organic Waste

Organic Waste

The waste industry is in a state of flux. Regulations are converging to create a perfect storm for waste haulers, cities and OC Waste & Recycling (OCWR). Many new laws are mandating diversion of organic waste, with a heightened focus on food waste. Responding to these regulations is complex, complicated and challenging. And it is urgent.

Four legislative bills in particular are recasting the waste industry in California. They represent different approaches to reaching the same goal: Divert organic waste from California’s landfills. These regulatory pressures call for creative, entrepreneurial responses. OCWR’s responses begin with a strategy based on a regional approach. OCWR, waste haulers and cities are cutting a new path to the new 21st-century waste industry.

SB 1383 – Methane Emissions Reduction

SB 1383 uses methane emissions reduction as the driving force for organic waste diversion and edible food recovery. The two-part bill seeks to reduce organic waste by 75 percent and recover 20 percent of edible food for human consumption by 2025.

AB 1826 - Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

AB 1826 launched on January 1, 2017. It calls for mandatory commercial organics recycling. Through incremental implementation, this bill seeks to divert 50 percent of commercial organic waste by January 1, 2020.

Mandatory Commercial Recycling (Non-organics) – AB 341 

AB 341 requires that any business or entity generating four cubic yards of total solid waste per week must: 

  • Separate non-organic recyclables (bottles, cans, etc.) from solid waste; 

  • Subscribe to a recycling service from your local waste hauler, or 

  • Self haul your recyclables to a recycle center or materials exchange facility for sorting and recycling AND 

  • If your business or organization is located in an unincorporated area of OC, you must notify the County of your alternate method of recycling. You may contact the County at (714)834-4000 and speak with the commercial compliance manager.

AB 1594 – Waste Management

AB 1594 redefines processed green material (PGM) used for alternative daily cover (ADC) as material for disposal rather than diversion. This represents a majority of Orange County residential and commercial green waste. Cities and other County jurisdictions that were once able to send this waste to the landfill as ADC must now find other ways to repurpose and divert it from the landfill.

Building a Regional Approach

Legislation beginning in 1989 set into motion an ongoing era of major industry transformation. OCWR is developing a collaborative approach that will create a regional solution. Given that nearly 40 percent of the waste stream to OC's landfills consists of organic materials, Organics Management is a key strategic initiative articulated in OC Waste & Recycling's 2014 - 2019 Internal Strategic Plan. An Organics Initiative Committee was formed to prepare a plan for future organics recycling in County unincorporated areas, and to assist cities with future organics recycling requirements if possible.