Organics Recycling at Your Business

Some California businesses and multifamily properties are required to recycle organic waste, which includes food waste, food-soiled paper waste, and landscaping waste (grass clippings, tree trimmings, etc.).

The purpose of California’s mandatory commercial recycling law (Assembly Bill 1826) is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diverting commercial organic waste from landfills and transforming it into reusable products through composting, anaerobic digestion, or incineration.


Who must comply?

organics recyclingCurrently, any business that generates 4 cubic yards or more of solid waste (trash plush recycling) is required to recycle organic waste. Multifamily complexes are not required to recycle food waste, only landscaping waste.

For example:
     Trash Dumpster Size  Recycling Dumpster Size Total Solid Waste Compliance Requirement
Business A  3 cy 2 cy 5 cy Required to comply
Business B  2 cy  0 2 cy Not Required to comply

*Businesses that generate 2 cy or less of solid waste per week are not required to recycle.
On January 1, 2020, the criteria may change to 2 cy of solid waste, in which case both sample businesses above would be required to recycle organics.

What is organic waste?

 Recyclable Organics may include:

  • Food material resulting from the processing, storage, preparation, cooking, handling, or consumption of food. Examples include:
    • discarded meat scraps; dairy products; egg shells; fruit and vegetable peels and trimmings;
    • other unused, expired, or otherwise unwanted food items;
    • and food-soiled paper products such as used napkins, paper towels, paper plates, and paper cups.
  • Landscaping Waste
    • leaves, grass clippings, plants, and seaweed;
    • pruning’s, shrubs, and small branches; and
    • stumps.
  • Wood Waste
    • Unpainted, new or demolition (may contain nails or other trace contaminants);
    • plywood, particleboard, wafer board, oriented strand board, and other residual materials used for construction (may contain nails or other trace contaminants); and
    • unpainted wood pallets, crates, and packaging made of lumber/engineered wood

Recyclable Organics DOES NOT include:

  • Edible food intended for human consumption that may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus, or similar.
  • Edible food should be recovered for donation whenever possible. Please see the list of local organizations that may accept edible food.
    How do I comply?
  1. Donate edible food to local food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, youth organizations, and shelters. (View a list of non-profit organizations in the Sacramento/Elk Grove area that may be interested in receiving donations. Please call the organization directly to confirm their ability and willingness to accept donated food items.)
  2. Separate organic waste that can't be donated from other waste and recyclables and place it in a separate bin. (Contact the City for free indoor organic waste bins, while supplies last).
  3. Post signs near or on organic waste bins describing what should be placed in the bin. Educate employees and/or tenants at least once per year about the requirement to recycle organic waste and how to do it properly.
  4. Transfer collected materials to an exterior bin for pick-up by your waste hauler (organic waste must be picked up a minimum of two times per week).
  5. Contact a hauler and subscribe to an organic waste recycling service. This is similar to existing recycling services for items such as paper, plastic, and aluminum where the recyclable materials are placed into a separate bin for collection.
  6. Instead of or in addition to a recycling service, you may also recycle organic waste onsite. This can be achieved through onsite composting, transformation into animal feed, or an onsite anaerobic digester or incinerator that transforms it into fuel or electricity.
  7. Self-haul organic waste to an authorized recycling facility. For this option, you must complete and retain onsite a Self-Haul Recycling Form.
  8. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that includes mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
Who can I hire to haul my organic waste?

Only Registered Commercial Haulers can collect and haul recyclables in the City of Elk Grove. View the list of commercial service providers.

Will this cost my business more money?

Possibly. Your existing hauler may or may not charge more to begin picking up your organic waste. You may need to contract with an additional hauler if your existing hauler does not provide this service. You may be able to save money by increasing your recycling and/or reducing your waste to reduce the size needed for your trash dumpster or decrease the frequency of collection. Contact your waste hauler to learn more about pricing for changing dumpster size or decreasing frequency of collection. For help reducing your waste, see our flyer, "Waste Reduction Tips."

Where are some food donation programs in the area?

View a list of programs accepting food donations

© 2019 City of Elk Grove | All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy