Residential Organics Recycling

Residential Organics Recycling

Change is Coming to Your Waste and Recycling Services

Beginning early 2022, Orange County residents will see a new change to residential waste and recycling bin services. Residents are now required to begin sorting organic waste, including specific food items, into their green waste bin.

Why is this happening?

Organics like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard make up half of what Californians throw away in landfills. Organic waste can be recycled through various methods of composting, such as vermi-composting and windrow composting, to create a nutrient rich soil. Diverting organic material, as well as other recyclable materials from landfills is key in preserving landfill capacity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill (SB) 1383 set methane emissions reduction targets for California in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). This requires jurisdictions to implement mandatory organic waste collection and recycling in a statewide effort to divert organic waste from landfills with goals to:

  • Reduce organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025
  • Recover at least 20% of currently disposed surplus edible food by 2025

What is organic waste?

Organic material comes from anything living – plants and animals. Organic waste includes grass clippings, leaves, twigs, shrubbery, weeds, and garden trimmings. In general, foods that may now go into the organic waste bin include meat, fish, dairy, fruit, vegetables, breads, pastas, grains and plate scrapings. Your waste hauler will provide very specific instructions. If in doubt, consult your local hauler as instructions may differ from hauler to hauler and by city.

    OC Unincorporated Waste Haulers

    The County of Orange provides waste and recycling hauler services to the below unincorporated areas. For details regarding your services, please contact the service provider below. All other Cities and Special Districts have separate services. Contact information for City and Unincorporated waste haulers can be found HERE. 

    Waste Hauler Unincorporated Services Area(s) Guides
    CR&R Rossmoor, Orange Islands, El Modena, Rancho Mission Viejo, Sendero, Ortega Highway/San Juan Capistrano

    Residential

    Republic Services Yorba Linda Islands, Buena Park Islands, Fountain Valley Islands

    Residential

    Waste Management Orange Park Acres, Coto De Caza, Wagon Wheel, Modjeska Canyon, Silverado Canyon, Lemon Heights, North Tustin, Cowan Heights, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores

    Residential

    ENFORCEMENT

    OC Waste & Recycling’s (OCWR) exclusive waste haulers, along with OC Public Works Code Enforcement, will conduct required reviews of residential and commercial waste recycling, and organics containers for cross-contamination. These reviews are required by SB 1383 and will allow the County to conduct targeted outreach to better educate residents and business owners on how they can properly sort waste and meet recycling requirements. We ask that residents and business owners please cooperate with personnel who are conducting inspections. 

    Please submit questions and comments to the SB 1383 Inbox.

    What happens if I do not properly sort my organic waste?

    Unincorporated non-compliant businesses and residents may receive notices of violation, penalties, and/or possible denials of service if contamination is seen during inspections. Inspections in OC Unincorporated residential areas will be conducted when  carts are placed in public areas for waste hauler pickup. Carts will not be inspected when stored on private property. 

     For details on your specific City policy, please contact your City Recycling Coordinator. 

    Will I be fined if I receive multiple Notice of Violations? 

    SB 1383 requires jurisdictions to have an enforceable ordinance in place. Residents and business owners will be provided with warnings and educational material to aid in compliance prior to fines being issued. County of Orange Unincorporated Ordinance.

    I received a notice from my City or waste hauler, who should I contact?

    OC residents who live within a City jurisdiction should always contact their city recycling coordinator or waste hauler:

    Click below for FAQs in various languages:

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Orange County residents are required by law (SB 1383) to recycle organic waste beginning January 1, 2022. All residents will receive information from their waste hauler on the new changes, along with specific instructions and information. Your hauler will let you know exactly when the changes will happen in your neighborhood.  To find the hauler in your area, click here or consult with the City Recycling Contact for your area, here. 

    Keep an eye out for information regarding town halls in your area, bill inserts from your hauler and other information that may be sent by mail. Follow @OCWaste on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates available from the County. 

    Organic material comes from anything living – plants and animals. Organic waste includes grass clippings, leaves, twigs, shrubbery, weeds, and garden trimmings as usual. In general, foods that may now go into the organic waste bin include meat, fish, dairy, fruit, vegetables, breads, pastas, grains and plate scrapings. Your waste hauler will provide very specific instructions. If in doubt, consult your local hauler as instructions may differ from hauler to hauler and by city.  

    Residents will receive specific instructions from their waste hauler regarding any changes to existing bins. Changes are occurring on varying schedules and may require residents to place existing carts out for servicing. Keep an eye out for notices with your hauler billing, by mail and online, such as your hauler website or city page. 

    Check with your property manager or landlord for instructions. Multifamily housing units may treat organic waste disposal very differently in each area or complex.

    The law takes effect January 1, 2022. All residents, commercial businesses and organizations will be required to recycle organic waste, including food, to help  reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. For details, click here. 

    A variety of factors impact these new changes and may result in bill changes depending on your location and contracted waste hauler. You should have received information regarding any changes from your hauler.  

    Specific instructions may vary by hauler or city. Residents and business owners are encouraged to seek specific information from your waste hauler’s website or by phone. The County of Orange provides hauler contracts to unincorporated areas. Service guides for County unincorporated areas may be found in the chart above.

    For residents who live in cities within OC, click the following link to view a list of Residential Waste Haulers.

    For business owners who operate within a city in OC, click the following link to view a list of Commercial Haulers.

    Each hauler has its own processes, so we recommend you read the information provided by your specific waste hauler. Many haulers are providing service guides, town halls and other mailings or website information to help answer these details. 

    Paper products such as newspaper or lightly soiled napkins may be allowed in your organic waste bin. Your hauler will provide specific details on these items. For many haulers, compostable-labeled items and bags may not be acceptable at this time for various reasons related to processing. 

    There are many optional measures residents can take to help reduce odors or pests. Haulers will provide information specific to the bins and service provided for your area. There are various resources available online including how to reduce food waste at home, freezing food for leftovers, or how to safely keep food waste stored until placing into your bins on your regularly scheduled pick up days. 

    No. This is a mandated requirement by the State of California.

    Haulers will be required to conduct audits to monitor contamination and report compliance of organic waste recycling. Most cities and haulers will be working with residents to help educate on proper organics recycling and may initially provide notifications as needed. All cities, special districts and unincorporated areas are required to meet state mandated compliance or risk financial penalties, which may result in fines to non-compliant residents or possible denial of service for contaminated bins.