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SB 1383: Reducing Climate Pollutants from Waste

Senate Bill 1383 and the County Ordinance 

In September 2016, the State set methane emission reduction targets for California in Senate Bill 1383, intended as a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (like organic waste) in various sectors of California’s economy. Implementing the statewide plan under SB 1383 will reduce short-lived, harmful, super pollutants with significant warming impacts, and is essential to achieving California’s climate goals.

SB 1383 establishes statewide targets to reduce the amount of organic waste disposed of in landfills (50% reduction by 2020 and 75% by 2025). It also sets a goal to rescue at least 20% of currently disposed of edible food by 2025 and redirect that food to people in need. The California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle) worked to develop regulations to achieve the goals of SB 1383. These new regulations were finalized by CalRecycle on November 4, 2020, and take effect in January 2022. In October 2021, the County passed an ordinance for areas located within Unincorporated San Mateo County in accordance with SB 1383.

Types of Organic Waste 

The State defines “Organic waste” as food, landscape, and pruning trimmings, lumber, wood, manure, cardboard, paper products, printing and writing paper, and other plant and animal-based products. Organic waste in landfills produce 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard, make up half of what Californians send to landfills.

Compliance with SB 1383

For Residents:

  • Residents are required to participate in their jurisdiction’s organics curbside collection service.
  • Residents are required to properly sort their organic waste into the correct containers.
  • In low population residential area on the Coast (Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, San Gregorio) will be allowed to self-haul their organic waste in lieu of curbside collection. 

For Businesses:

  • Businesses are required to subscribe to and participate in their jurisdiction’s organics curbside collection service; or
  • Self-haul organic waste to a certified facility, certified community composting program, or other collection activity or program or facility
  • Certain businesses will be required to participate in an edible food recovery program.
  • Business that self-haul will be required to retain all receipts
  • Low Population area businesses will still be required to recycle organic waste if the garbage service is over two yards.

Please refer to the Dense vs Low Populated Areas Map. All unincorporated county areas shown in green on the map above are considered Densely-Populated Areas and will need to comply with the requirements of SB 1383. Residential customers in these areas are required to have curbside cart collection services of organics.  Commercial customers can self-haul or subscribe to curbside services. The areas shown in yellow on the map above are considered Low-Populated Areas which are exempt from the SB 1383 mandatory residential curbside services and are  not subject to the same regulations due to its low population density (less than 75 people per square mile).

Different Requirements Between the Densely-Populated Areas and the Low-Populated Areas 

Residential – Densely Populated

  • Must have curbside cart service collection and hauler’s carts.
  • Must sort recycling, organics, and garbage.
Residential – Low Populated

  • Do now need to subscribe or sort waste
  • Can use your own receptacle
  • Allowed to self haul to a certified facility
Commercial – Densely Populated

  • Subscribe to curbside cart/bin services for garbage, recyclables, and organics
  • Self haul recyclables and organics to a certified facility
  • Franchised Areas must subscribe to curbside garbage collection
  • Must sort recycling, organics, and garbage
  • Must retain receipts from self haul
Commercial – Low Populated

  • Do not need to subscribe to curbside service
  • Can use your own receptacle
  • If generating more than 2 cubic yards of solid waste of which more than 20 gallons is organic waste, you can:
    • Self haul to a certified facility and maintain receipts OR
    • Subscribe to curbside services.
    • Must sort recycling, organics, and garbage

Donate Edible Food

For information on how to donate food to a food recovery organization, please visit our Edible Food Recovery webpagehere.

Self Hauling Organic Waste

If you self haul any organic waste (e.g., grass clippings, yard trimmings, tree cuttings) or the food waste, you must comply with the following:

  • Source separate all organic waste and take the materials to a certified organic waste processing facility.
  • Commercial sites and projects that require a Waste Management plan must keep records of the amount and type of waste delivered to each waste facility including delivery receipts and weight tickets from each facility for on site inspections.

Inspection and Enforcement 

The State regulations require the County to monitor and audit carts, bins and self-haul services. Business and residential organic collection routes are subject to audits and inspections for contamination and proper cart/bin sizing to help ensure the maximum amount of material is being recovered. If found to be non-compliant, State regulations and the County Ordinance Code will require enforcement and notice of violations to be issued, this may include a fine.

For waiver requests or questions, please email OOS_organicsrecycling@smcgov.org.

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