New California Compost Law Goes into Effect
Posted in Legal Bites
New California Compost Law Goes into Effect

On January 1, 2022, California’s new compost law will officially go into effect. Senate Bill 1383 was passed in September 2016 as part of a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. SB-1383 set the ambitious targets of reducing organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025.

Beginning on January 1, 2022, every jurisdiction in California (i.e., city, county, or special district that provides solid waste collection services) is required to provide organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses. The state’s CalRecycle guidance states that “[j]urisdictions can select from a variety of organic waste collection services to match their unique communities and local infrastructure, while producing clean streams of organic feedstock that can be recycled into high-quality, marketable recycled products, including compost, renewable natural gas, electricity, and paper.”

All California residents are also required to separate organic waste from other garbage. Organic waste includes “food, green material, landscape and pruning waste, organic textiles and carpets, lumber, wood, paper products, printing and writing paper, manure, biosolids, digestate, and sludges.”

While the requirements go into effect on January 1, 2022, no fines will be imposed on residents or jurisdictions for failure to comply. In future years, residents may be subject to fines of up to $500/day and jurisdictions will face steep penalties of up to $10,000/day for failing to provide organic waste collection services for residents. The enforcement process requires that CalRecycle provide jurisdictions with a Notice of Violation and gives jurisdictions up to three years to comply with the regulations. 

This law will mark a major change in how California processes food waste. While some individual cities have implemented composting regulations on a local level, SB-1383 will be the first statewide initiative to require that all state residents separate organic waste.

  • Pooja S. Nair
    Partner

    Pooja S. Nair is a business litigator and problem solver with a focus on the food and beverage sector. She advises food and beverage clients, startups and other businesses on a comprehensive range of issues, including employment ...

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