Complying with the California Mandatory Commercial Recycling & Composting Laws: SB 1383, AB 341 & AB 1826

California is home to more than 10,000 K-12 schools and 6 million students. Local education agencies (LEA’s) play a vital role in fighting climate change and protecting the environment for future generations.

SB 1383 Composting Law

SB 1383 applies to all local education agencies, including:

  • K-12 public and charter schools
  • School districts
  • County offices of education

Local education agencies are required to maintain mandatory commercial recycling and organics recycling (compost) programs, including ensuring that schools have properly labeled recycling and composting containers to collect bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, food waste, and other recyclable materials. SB 1383 builds upon these efforts by expanding the definition of organic waste to include food scraps, landscape and pruning waste, lumber, wood, and more.

School staff and administrators must educate employees and students about organic waste prevention. Staff and administrators must periodically:

  • Inspect organic waste containers for contamination.
  • Inform employees if containers are contaminated.
  • Instruct employees on how to properly sort material into the correct containers.

School staff and administrators must provide containers to collect organic waste and recyclables in all areas where disposal containers are provided, except in restrooms.

However, a school is not required to provide an internal collection container if a specific material type is not generated in a particular room (e.g., food waste in a classroom). Containers must conform to the proper color or labeling requirements.

Zero Waste Marin and your hauler can help!

Resources for Local Education Agencies: K-12 Public Schools and School Districts (download flyer)

SB 1383 for SchoolsDownload: SB 1383 for Schools

Recycling & Composting Laws and Food Donation: AB 341 and AB 1826

The Mandatory Commercial Recycling (MCR) Law, AB 341, was adopted in 2012 and requires businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week, including schools, to arrange for recycling services or self- haul to a recycling center. It also establishes a state-wide goal to divert 75% of solid waste from landfills by the year 2020.

The Mandatory Commercial Organics (MORe) Law, AB 1826, became effective January 1, 2016 and requires businesses, including schools, to subscribe to organics collection programs based on the timeline below:

April 1, 2016 – eight cubic yards of organic waste/week
January 1, 2017 – four cubic yards of organic waste/week
January 1, 2019 – four cubic yards of solid waste/week
September 15, 2020 – two cubic yards of trash, recycling and compost services combined/week

Food Waste Reduction & Donation Policies

ZWM encourages the donation of leftover food to help decrease hunger in our county. Find more general information about food recovery tips and opportunities at our food recovery page.

On November 18, 2011, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2012 created an amendment that provides statutory authority for Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs) and agencies to have food recovery and food donation policies. This statute clarifies that any food prepared for CNPs but not consumed may be donated to “eligible local food banks or charitable organizations.” It also extends protections against civil and criminal liability for persons or organizations when making food donations to the extent provided under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, found in Section 22 of the Child Nutrition Act.

On September 25, 2017, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. 557 in regards to food sharing, donations, and school meals. Click here to read the bill. Based on this bill, the California Department of Education has posted their Guidance on Donation of Leftover Food in CNPs. It includes providing share tables where food service staff, pupils, and faculty may return appropriate food items and make those food items available to pupils during the course of a regular school meal time. Click here for more information.

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