- Public Works
- Environmental Sustainability
- Waste & Recycling
- Commercial Recycling
Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling
SB 1383 requires that cities maintain an organics recycling program and to adopt a local ordinance that effectuates the provisions of SB 1383. The City of La Mesa Municipal Code Chapter 7.30 Mandatory Organics Recycling and Edible Food Recovery went into effect on April 21, 2022, and mandates enrollment in the City’s three-container (gray landfill bin, blue recycling bin, and green organic waste bin) collection services for all residential and commercial (including multi-family dwellings) customers, currently provided by EDCO, and specified commercial edible food generators are required to recover the maximum amount of edible food and establish an agreement with an edible food recovery organization for donations.
The City’s waste hauler, EDCO, is available for one-on-one onsite consultations to set up organics recycling service. Watch the video below to learn more about EDCO’s commercial business organics recycling program.
View EDCO Commercial Organics Recycling Video
What is SB 1383?
In September 2016, Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), Short-lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Reductions, established methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions from short-lived climate pollutants in various sectors of California’s economy. Methane from decomposing organic waste in landfills is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, therefore, SB 1383 requires the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to develop regulations to reduce the disposal of organic waste to 50% below 2014 levels by 2020, and to 75% of 2014 levels by 2025. Additionally, CalRecycle must implement requirements to recover 20% of edible food for human consumption currently landfilled by 2025.
Per SB 1383, starting January 1, 2022, all single-family residential dwellings (less than five units), commercial businesses, and multi-family residential dwellings (five or more units) are required to subscribe to recycling and organics recycling service.
What is Organic Waste?
Organic waste includes yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings, food waste, such as banana peels and egg shells, and food soiled papers, such as napkins and pizza boxes. Organic waste takes up the largest portion of waste in our landfills. When in landfills, organic waste decomposes to produce methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, along with other odorous and noxious gases. Reducing organic waste in landfills by food waste prevention, composting, and organics recycling reduces methane emissions, extends the life of local landfills, and creates valuable products such as renewable natural gas and fertilizer.
What is Organics Recycling?
In 2021, EDCO finished construction of a state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) facility to process organic waste. The AD facility allows La Mesa residents and businesses to recycle their food waste and green waste, preventing it from ending up in the landfill. Diverting organic waste from the landfill will help the City meet its greenhouse gas and waste reduction goals. Organic recycling began for La Mesa residents in single family homes on April 1, 2021. For commercial businesses and multi-family residential dwellings, organics recycling began in early 2022 and EDCO provides one-on-one onsite consultations to set up organics recycling service. Check out the videos below to learn more about EDCO’s organic recycling program.
View EDCO's Anaerobic Digestor Video
What if my Commercial Business (including Multi-Family) doesn’t generate much organic waste?
The City is working with EDCO to help educate the community about the requirements of SB 1383 and developed a framework to mitigate the impacts to the business community through self-haul, shared collection service, and “de minimis” waiver forms.
Commercial businesses and multi-family residential dwellings who self-haul must submit a Self-Haul Form (link to form document) maintain compliance. Self-hauling is transporting your waste (in this case, organic waste and/or recyclable materials) off your property yourself instead of using EDCO collection services. Self-hauling also includes business back-hauling, when a business transports organic waste and/or recyclable materials to a destination owned and operated by the business using the business’s own employees and equipment. Per State law and La Mesa Municipal Code 7.30.090, customers that wish to self-haul their organic waste must ensure that organic wastes are kept out of the landfill.
Shared Collection Service
La Mesa Municipal Code 7.20.110 allows for shared collection service for commercial businesses and multi-family residential dwellings. Separate properties may share refuse collection services provided that all of the following are met:
- A property owner, property manager, or a property owners’ association agrees to subscribe to the Collection Service(s) on behalf of all of the properties sharing the service and to pay the corresponding service charges;
- The party subscribing to the refuse collection service(s) agrees to take responsibility for all aspects of the service, including corrective actions if a shared collection container is determined to be a “contaminated container,” as defined in 7.30.020;
- EDCO is informed of and approves which properties are sharing which refuse collection service(s);
- The properties sharing the refuse collection service(s) are contiguous, and solid waste materials do not have to be moved on or across a public street from the point of generation to a collection container; and
- Gray landfill, blue recycle, and green organic waste collection containers are reasonably convenient and accessible to all occupants and tenants sharing the refuse collection service(s).
De Minimis Waiver
Under specific circumstances, commercial businesses may be eligible for a “de minimis” waiver. The waiver would be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis and monitored by the waste hauler and City staff. A commercial business is eligible for “de minimis” waiver if their solid waste collection service meets one of the requirements below. Solid waste collection service includes the total volume of landfill, recycling, and organic waste bins provided by EDCO for this properly, plus the total volume of all non-containerized cardboard and yard materials collected.
- The solid waste collection service for the business is 2 cubic yards or more per week and the business generates less than 20 gallons per week of organic waste
- The solid waste collection service for the business is less than 2 cubic yards per week and the business generates less than 10 gallons per week of organic waste.
Commercial businesses requesting a “de minimis” waiver must:
- Download, fill out, and submit a “de minimis” Waiver Form
- Provide an explanation or description of how it was identified that the property meets the de minimis condition selected
- Attach pictures to support the application form
- State existing alternate service (i.e. paper shredding and collection services, landscaping companies that haul away trimmings, and food donation)
The self-haul, shared collection service, and de minimis waiver forms are reviewed by City staff and EDCO.
Edible Food Recovery for Grocers, Restaurants, and Food Service Facilities
SB 1383 requires cities to establish edible food recovery outreach and inspection programs, help connect mandated edible food generators with food recovery organizations/services, and ensure there is sufficient county-wide capacity for all the recovered edible food. Commercial edible food generators who choose to participate in the voluntary edible food recovery program must arrange to recover edible food, establish contracts with food recovery organizations, keep records of all edible food recovery, and submit all written agreements/contracts with a food recovery organization or service to the City each year. The City is currently working on outreach to Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators.
Mandatory Commercial Recycling
Commercial recycling services are provided by the City’s waste hauler, EDCO, and are required per Assembly Bill 341 Mandatory Commercial Recycling and La Mesa Municipal Code 7.22 Mandatory Recycling. Visit EDCO’s website to learn more about what can and cannot be recycled in the blue bin.
Commercial and Multi-Family Resources
Three-Stream Signage for Businesses
The City developed three-stream signage for businesses and residents to post at waste receptacles to help staff, customers, and residents properly and conveniently sort waste into the conventional recycling, organics recycling, and landfill items.
The City and EDCO continue to partner to provide education and outreach to La Mesa businesses and residents. This includes tabling at events, hosting webinars and workshops, mailers, and digital resources.