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

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New Food & Yard Waste Recycling Rules

California State Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), requires the reduction of organic waste disposed of in landfills. Organic waste is food scraps and food-soiled paper from kitchens and food operations and yard waste such as garden and landscape waste, organic textiles and carpets and wood waste. Organic Waste Materials

Reason for Changes

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic waste accounts for a significant portion of California’s waste stream. Left to decompose in landfills, the organic waste releases methane, a gas that traps the sun’s heat, warms the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Organic waste in landfills also emits air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which contributes to health conditions like asthma. To address this issue, Senate Bill 1383 was signed into law and targets the reduction of pollutants, including methane. Cities throughout California must meet the new reduction limits through organic waste reduction and recycling.

Collection and Recycling

Collection recyclingImplementing Senate Bill 1383 requires extensive procedural changes and significant coordination. The City of San Diego is developing collection operations, amending agreements with non-exclusive franchise haulers, amending the City’s municipal code, enacting building requirements, preparing enforcement responsibilities and strategizing public education and outreach efforts. Participation in this exciting new organic waste recycling program is vital to San Diego's future. 

Food and yard waste collected will be recycled using:

  • Composting facilities that make soil amendments, materials that are added to soil to change and improve it.
  • Anaerobic digestion facilities, technology and microorganisms break down organic waste in closed spaces where there is no oxygen and create renewable natural gas.

Homes Serviced by the City

Recycling and waste collection changes are coming to City of San Diego serviced residences. The City will notify residents when organic waste recycling collection services will begin. Please follow these protocols until otherwise notified:

  • Residences with bi-weekly yard waste collection that currently have a green automated, City-provided curbside bin, please continue to discard yard waste only in the bin until otherwise notified and organic waste recycling begins. 
  • Residences with yard waste collection that do not have a green automated curbside bin but use manual bins that they provide themselves, please continue to discard yard waste only until a green bin is delivered and you are notified of a date to begin organic waste recycling.
  • Residences with no curbside green bin yard waste collection will be notified when they will receive a green bin and a date to begin organic waste recycling.

In addition to curbside organic waste recycling collection, all residences currently have the option to turn their kitchen scraps and yard waste trimmings into compost by having their own-at-home backyard composting or worm composting bin. Learn more about our discounted compost bin voucher offer, backyard composting education resources and free workshops here.

Businesses and Multifamily Serviced by a Private Hauler

Organic waste recycling options for businesses and multifamily apartments and condominiums serviced by a private hauler:

City staff can provide helpful tips and technical assistance for successful setup of organic waste recycling at your site. Please contact sdrecyclingworks@sandiego.gov or 858-694-7000.

Businesses can learn more about the City of San Diego's Commercial Food Scraps Composting Program here.

    Food Recovery from Businesses

    California is working towards a 2025 goal to redirect and donate 20% of edible food to those in need. SB 1383 categorizes regulated food donors into two tiers that must start donating surplus edible food in 2022 and 2024 to food recovery organizations.

    Food DonationCommercial Edible Food Generators

    Tier One Businesses - Effective January 1, 2022

    • Supermarkets with gross annual sales of $200,000 or more.
    • Grocery Stores with a facility size of 10,000 square feet or more.
    • Food Service Providers.
    • Food Distributors.
    • Wholesale Food Vendors.

    Tier Two Businesses - Effective January 1, 2024

    • Restaurant with 250 or more seats, or a total facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet.
    • Hotel with an on-site food facility and 200 or more rooms.
    • Health facility with an on-site food facility and 100 or more beds.
    • Large venue.
    • Large event.
    • A state agency with a cafeteria with 250 or more seats or a total cafeteria facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet.
    • A local education agency with an on-site food facility.

    Learn more about:

      Resources and Help

      Get more information and assistance by contacting the Environmental Services Department at sdrecyclingworks@sandiego.gov or 858-694-7000. For program updates, please continue to check this page.

      Visit CalRecycle to learn more about the statewide SB 1383 organic waste recycling and edible food recovery requirements.

      Food Waste Prevention and Reduction

      Please note that this section is currently under development, and more food waste prevention and reduction information and resources will be added soon.

      Tips for Keeping Organic Waste Recycling Containers Clean and Reduce Potential Odors

      • Always keep the lid closed
      • If possible, keep your container in a shaded area.
      • Lock organic waste recycling containers to prevent contamination and access from potential pests.
      • If possible, delay adding food scraps to the outdoor container until collection day, freeze or refrigerate until pick up day.
      • Wrap leftover food in newspaper, paper bag or other food-soiled paper products.
      • Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on top of organic waste if you notice odors.
      • Line the bottom of your outdoor container with newspaper, a paper bag or yard waste to absorb excess moisture and prevent food from sticking to the bottom.
      • Following waste collection, rinse your bin with water to remove any residue. Pour dirty water onto your lawn and not the street drain. It is illegal to discharge pollutants from waste carts and dumpsters such as trash, food scraps or liquid waste into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System.
        PDF icon Handout guide to learn more about how to Think Blue and properly maintain cans and dumpsters.
        PDF icon Obtenga más información sobre cómo mantener adecuadamente los contenedores de basura y reciclaje. (español)

      • Hire an optional private container cleaning service. Visit WasteFreeSD and search for “Bin Cleaning Service” for a list of local service providers.

      Upcoming Workshops

      Please see below free upcoming workshops or webinars to learn more about edible food recovery, food waste prevention and organic waste recycling. Click on the link to register and see more details.