According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic materials continue to be the largest component of Municipal Solid Waste. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic wastes in landfills have been identified as a significant contributor to global climate change; recycling can help.
Organic waste, such as green waste and discarded food, is recyclable through composting and mulching as well as through anaerobic digestion, which can produce renewable energy and fuel. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch (2014 Waste Characterization Study). The State of California requires that cities and counties develop an integrated waste management plan that includes all of the following components: source reduction, recycling, and composting.
Participation in organics recycling provides an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. It also encourages composting, which helps protect our soil and water.
In 2016, the State of California passed AB 1826 which requires that businesses producing organic waste, including but not limited to restaurants, grocery stores, and landscaping companies set up programs to recycle their organic waste instead of sending it to the landfill.
Examples of organic waste include:
- All Foods - fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish, bones, bread, cheese, grains, and eggshells.
- Plant Material - floral trimmings, tree trimmings, leaves, grass, brush, and weeds.
- Other Organics - waxed cardboard, paper napkins, paper towels, paper plates, paper cartons, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, wooden crates, and sawdust.
AB 1826 set these implementation dates:
- Businesses that generate eight cubic yards of organic waste per week must arrange for organic waste recycling service by April 1, 2016.
- Businesses that generate four cubic yards of organic waste per week must arrange for organic waste recycling service by January 1, 2017.
- Businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of commercial waste per week must arrange for organic waste recycling service by January 2019.
The State has mandated organic waste recycling as the next step toward achieving California’s ambitious recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals.
Businesses can contact Burrtec Waste and Recycling services at (760) 340-2113 to set up organic recycling service. For more information on AB 1826, see Resources to the right.