Organics Recycling Requirements for Businesses

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling


In October 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 1826 into law (Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014) requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste on and after April 1, 2016, depending on the amount of waste they generate per week. Organic waste means food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. The law phases in the recycling requirements over time. The minimum threshold of organic waste generation decreases with time, which means that an increasingly greater proportion of the commercial sector will be required to comply.

The implementation dates are as follows:
January 1, 2017
Businesses generating 4 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week
January 1, 2019
Businesses generating 4 cubic yards or more of solid waste per week
January 1, 2020
Businesses generating 2 cubic yards or more of solid waste per week*
  *Implemented by CalRecycle if statewide reduction goals have not been met..

Multi-family complexes

are not required to have a food waste diversion program; however, those with 5+ units generating enough landscape related organics will be required to recycle their organic waste.


Currently in the San Diego region, there is adequate capacity for recycling landscape and clean wood waste. However, the capacity needed to meet the demand for diverting all organic waste (food waste) is still under development. As a result, the City and EDCO will be working closely with our food waste generating customers to implement organics recycling through use of the following strategies:

1. Prevention of food waste: This helps businesses' bottom lines.
2. Donation of edible food: Nearly one in seven San Diego residents do not know where their next meal is coming from. Regionally, almost 500,000 tons of food waste is sent to the landfill. The City and EDCO want to support the community in setting up systems to donate food to help end hunger throughout the county.
3. Collection of non-edible food: After all possible means of food waste prevention and donation of edible food have been pursued, remaining food waste materials will be collected for recycling.

The City of La Mesa will be contacting businesses regarding the State’s mandatory commercial organics recycling requirements. Additional information about organics recycling will be posted on this page as it becomes available. In the meantime, additional information can be found on CalRecycle's Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling website.