Important information regarding Residential Organic Waste Recycling start date. Read more about Residential Organic Waste

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Recycling Ordinance Update

Mandatory Recycling diagramThe Recycling Ordinance is a mandatory policy requiring the public to separate recyclable material and newly added organic waste materials at residences, businesses, mixed use facilities and permitted special events. Click here to read the full PDF icon Recycling Ordinance

  • Recyclable materials include
    • Plastic, glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, metal containers, cardboard, rigid plastics including clean food containers, jugs, tubs, trays, pots, buckets and toys.
  • New organic waste recyclable materials include
    • Food scraps and food-soiled paper from kitchens and food operations and yard waste such as garden and landscape waste and nonhazardous wood waste.

 The recycling ordinance updates ensure the City is complying with the mandatory state law Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383). The new law requires the reduction of organic waste currently disposed of in landfills.

Organic waste recycling turns food and yard waste into compost or a gas by breaking down the organic material into healthy soil nutrients or electricity. Learn more about SB 1383 in San Diego and details of the California requirements.

How the New Rules Impact You

Recycling Requirements for Single-family Homes

Single-family residences (serviced by the City or private haulers) must participate in a recycling program and an organic waste recycling program.

  • Single-family Homes Serviced by the City 
    Contact the Environmental Services Department for recycling collection containers and service requests at trash@sandiego.gov or 858-694-7000. Organic waste recycling collection is coming soon. City-serviced residents will be notified prior to the program start date.
  • Single-family Homes Serviced by a Private Hauler 
    Contact City approved franchise haulers or certified recyclable material collectors (CRMC) to request recycling and organics waste recycling containers and service needs.
    PLEASE NOTE: While you are required to contract with the same franchise waste hauler for trash, recycling, and organic waste recycling, you can request additional recycling and organic waste service from a CRMC.

Franchise haulers have entered into a franchise agreement with the City of San Diego that includes the collection, recycling and disposal of solid waste in a manner that ensures orderly operation, minimizes adverse effects to the environment and public health, and requires reporting of collections and disposal to the City.

CRMCs are mid-scale recyclers that have been certified by the City to ensure collection vehicles and containers are properly maintained, and acceptable recyclable materials are collected and reported to the City.

Both Franchise Haulers and CRMCs must comply with all local, state, and federal laws.

Recycling Requirements for Multifamily Properties Serviced by Private Haulers

Apartments and condominiums with two or more units serviced by private hauler must:

  • Recycle plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, metal containers, cardboard, rigid plastics including clean food waste containers, jugs, tubs, trays, pots, buckets and toys.
  • Organic waste recycle food scraps, food-soiled paper, yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste.
  Hauler

Self-Haul, Back Haul or Shares Service

Recycling Options

Blue Container or Dumpster

Subscribe to recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least twice per month with service of sufficient quantity, size and pick up frequency for all mixed recyclable materials generated.

The property owner/manager needs to complete and submit annually a PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to ESD if they self-haul or back haul their recyclables or  share recycling service with another facility.

Organic Waste Recycling Options

Green Container or Dumpster

EITHER

Subscribe to organic waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least once per week with service of sufficient quantity, size and pick up frequency for all organic waste materials generated for yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste.

AND

Subscribe to organic waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least weekly for food scraps and food-soiled paper.

OR

Subscribe to organic waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least weekly for yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste commingled together with food scraps and food-soiled paper.

Contract with gardening or landscaping service provider to self-haul yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste to a PDF icon mulching or composting facility for recycling.

 

The property owner/manager needs to complete and submit annually a PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to ESD if they self-haul or back haul their yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste or share organic waste recycling service with another facility.
 

The property owner/manager needs to complete and submit annually a PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to ESD if they self-haul or back haul their yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste or share organic waste recycling service with another facility.

Contact City approved franchise haulers or certified recyclable material collectors (CRMC) to request recycling and organics waste recycling containers and service needs. PLEASE NOTE: While you are required to contract with the same franchise waste hauler for trash, recycling, and organic waste recycling, you can request additional recycling and organic waste service from a CRMC.

Franchise haulers have entered into a franchise agreement with the City of San Diego that includes the collection, recycling and disposal of solid waste in a manner that ensures orderly operation, minimizes adverse effects to the environment and public health, and requires reporting of collections and disposal to the City.

CRMCs are mid-scale recyclers that have been certified by the City to ensure collection vehicles and containers are properly maintained, and acceptable recyclable materials are collected and reported to the City.

Both Franchise Haulers and CRMCs must comply with all local, state, and federal laws.

  • Designate recycling collection and storage areas.
  • Place containers for recyclable materials in all areas where trash containers are located paired next to each trash container or as close as possible to each trash container.
  • Place signage on all recycling receptacles, containers, chutes and/or enclosures.
  • Property owner or property manager must provide education annually and upon occupancy or when there are changes to the recycling program to all occupants, employees and contractors about acceptable materials for collections, container location(s), recycling requirements and the person’s responsibility to recycle.
  • Prohibit container contamination by periodically checking containers and informing occupants, employees and contractors if containers are contaminated with unacceptable material.
  • Please see "Resources" section below for sample signs and additional information.

Recycling Requirements for Commercial

Businesses and institutional facilities must:

  • Recycle plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, metal containers, cardboard, rigid plastics including clean food waste containers, jugs, tubs, trays, pots, buckets and toys.
  • Recycle organic waste (food scraps, food-soiled paper, yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste).
  Hauler

Self-Haul, Back Haul or Shares Service

Recycling Options
 

Blue Container or Dumpste

Subscribe to recycling collection in a separate container with service of sufficient quantity, size and pick up frequency for all mixed recyclable materials generated.

The property owner/manager needs to complete and submit annually a PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to ESD if they self-haul or back haul their recyclables or  share recycling service with another facility.

Organic Waste Recycling Options

 

Green Container or Dumpster

EITHER

Subscribe to organic waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least weekly for yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste.

AND

Subscribe to organics waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least =weekly for food scraps and food-soiled paper.

OR

Subscribe to organics waste recycling collection service in a separate container for pick up at least weekly for yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste commingled with food scraps and food-soiled paper.

Contract with gardening or landscaping service provider to self-haul yard trimmings and nonhazardous wood waste to a PDF icon mulching or composting facility for recycling.

The property owner/manager needs to complete and submit annually a PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to ESD if they self-haul or back haul their organic waste materials or share organic waste recycling service with another facility.

  • Contact City-approved franchise haulers or certified recyclable material collectors (CRMC) to request recycling and organics waste recycling containers and service. PLEASE NOTE: While you are required to contract with the same franchise waste hauler for trash, recycling, and organic waste recycling, you can request additional recycling and organic waste service from a CRMC.

Franchise haulers have entered into a franchise agreement with the City of San Diego that includes the collection, recycling and disposal of solid waste in a manner that ensures orderly operation, minimizes adverse effects to the environment and public health, and requires reporting of collections and disposal to the City.

CRMCs are mid-scale recyclers that have been certified by the City to ensure collection vehicles and containers are properly maintained, and acceptable recyclable materials are collected and reported to the City.

Both Franchise Haulers and CRMCs must comply with all local, state, and federal laws.

  • Utilize recycling containers that comply with the size and color standards in the PDF icon Container and Signage Guidelines.
  • Designate recycling collection and storage areas.
  • Place recycling containers in all areas where trash containers are located paired next to each trash container or as close as possible to each trash container.
  • Place organic waste recycling containers in areas where organic waste is generated.
  • Place signage on all recycling receptacles, containers, chutes and/or enclosures.
  • Provide education annually and upon occupancy or when there are changes to the recycling program to all occupants, employees and contractors about acceptable materials for collections, container location(s), recycling requirements and the person’s responsibility to recycle.
  • Prohibit container contamination of placing recyclable materials in a container not designated to house those recyclables and periodically check containers and inform occupants, employees and contractors if containers are contaminated.
  • Learn more about how to get started on food scrap recycling for your business
  • Certain food-generating businesses are required to donate excess edible food. Check this website to learn whether this applies to your business.
  • Please see "Resources" section below for sample signs and additional information.

Recycling Requirements for Special Events

Special events requiring a City permit must:

  • Recycle plastic and glass bottles and jars, paper, newspaper, metal containers, cardboard, rigid plastics including clean food waste containers, jugs, tubs, trays, pots, buckets and toys.
  • Place signage on containers listing acceptable and unacceptable material.
  • Provide a separate container for food material, food-soiled paper, yard trimmings, and non-hazardous wood waste
  • Pair trash and recycling containers throughout the venue in an equal ratio approved in the event application.
  • Place an organic waste recycling container next to each pair of trash and recycling containers in food production and preparation areas, near food vendors and distributors, and around designated eating areas.
  • Each recycling and organic waste container must be clearly identified and list acceptable and not acceptable items. Ensure that all recyclable materials are delivered to a recycling facility, and not to a landfill.

Contact City-approved special event collectors to request recycling containers, organics containers and other waste service needs. For your convenience, city approved signage is available below.

Exemptions

Exemptions may be granted upon (but are not limited to) consideration of the following factors:

  • Any multifamily, commercial and mixed-use facility that generates 0.001 cubic yard or less per week* combined of trash, recyclable and organic waste recyclable materials.
    *0.001 cubic yard is about one 24-ounce cup
  • The facility has an approved shared service agreement with another facility who has franchise waste hauling service.

The facility owner must submit an annual PDF icon Recycling Reporting Form to the Environmental Services Department if they share recycling and/or organic waste recycling service.

Please note that exemptions may be granted but may warrant additional site check(s) to ensure exemptions are granted fairly across the board and may be revoked at any time at the discretion of the Director’s designee. If you have an assigned Code Enforcement Officer, she/he can further discuss the exemption application process with you.

Compliance Enforcement

The City of San Diego has Code Compliance Officers that will routinely visit properties to ensure all City and State regulations are being met. Under the PDF icon City Recycling Ordinance, Code Compliance Officers may:

  • Issue a written warning (Notice of Violation) regarding non-compliance and determine a follow-up date in accordance to the violation and the amount of time needed to reach compliance.
  • Coordinate technical assistance with a City Recycling Specialist to ensure compliance assistance is provided.

If the Notice of Violation deadline is not met, the Code Compliance Officer may:

  • Issue an Administrative Citation not below $50 for the first offense.
  • Issue a new follow-up date in accordance with the Administrative Citation.
  • Continue to coordinate technical assistance with a City Recycling Specialist.
  • Continue to issue Administrative Citations not to exceed $500 for each subsequent offense should compliance not be met on the Code Officer’s follow-up date(s).

Resources

Signage

If you're serviced by a private waste hauler, they can also provide signs for your property.

Food Scrap Recycle Sign

Recycle Sign

Landfill Trash Sign

Report Properties Without Recycling and Organic Services

Items marked with an asterisk ( * ) are required.

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