Public Works
pw.lacounty.gov

Organic Waste Management

Organic Waste Collection Service
Organic Waste Collection Service is coming soon to the County unincorporated communities!

On November 16, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the Mandatory Organic Waste Disposal Reduction Ordinance.  The Ordinance ensures everyone does their part in diverting organic waste and edible food from landfills to reduce emissions of methane and the impacts on climate change.  The Ordinance is also required per State Senate Bill (SB) 1383 regulations.

The Ordinance requires all businesses and residents in the County unincorporated communities to subscribe to organic waste collection services.  Self-hauling is also allowed under certain circumstances.  Please see the section on “What Do You Need to Do to Comply?” to learn more about self-hauling.

What Is Organic Waste?

Organic waste is material that comes from living organisms such as, but not limited to, food, food scraps, food-soiled paper, paper products, yard or green waste, wood, manure, and organic textiles like cotton.

Why Is Diverting Organic Waste Important?

When organic waste is buried in a landfill and decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that pollutes the air and contributes to climate change. Landfills are unable to capture all the methane, which means some of the methane escapes into the atmosphere. Climate change can look like extreme changes to weather such as more frequent and intense heat waves, large storms, drought, more frequent or larger wildfires, and insect outbreaks. When we collect organic waste separately from trash, we can keep it out of the landfill and process it to create useful products such as compost or renewable energy and transportation fuel without releasing methane into the air.

Organic Waste Collection: A Statewide Effort!

In September 2016, former Governor Brown signed SB 1383, which established statewide targets to reduce landfill disposal of organic waste by 50% by year 2020 and by 75% by year 2025, and recover edible food for donation that would otherwise be sent to landfills. The law also required the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), the State authority for solid waste, to develop regulations to enforce upon everyone (all residents and businesses) to subscribe to organic waste collection services with their waste hauler by January 1, 2022.

What Do You Need to Do to Comply?

With the new organic waste collection service, most residents located in the County unincorporated communities will continue utilizing their current containers for trash, recyclables, and green waste but place food waste in their yard or green waste container.  Most businesses will need to separate their food waste and utilize a new food waste container.  Over the first half of 2022, you can expect notices from your waste hauler providing specific information on when, and how, to separate and dispose of waste in correct containers to ensure proper processing of organic waste and reduce contamination. Fines for non-compliance will begin in 2024, as per State regulations.

You may self-manage all or part of your organic waste.  Self-management includes, but is not limited to self-hauling, back-hauling, or on-site composting.  If you self-haul your organic waste, you must take it to an acceptable site such as a community compost center.  If you would like to manage your organic waste on site, and learn more about backyard composting, please visit SmartGardening.com.  Webinar attendees may purchase a discounted compost bin.  If you self-manage, you will be required to register and submit information to Los Angeles County Public Works to ensure compliance.  Additional details will be forthcoming and included the Ordinance Guidelines.

You can also take steps to reduce the amount of food waste you generate by purchasing only what you need, storing food adequately, or donating surplus edible food.  For more information visit CleanLA's Smart Business Recycling.

What Is Edible Food Recovery?

Excess edible food is food that is safe to consume but often discarded because there is a surplus of it. Many businesses that sell edible food have leftover surplus edible food that can be recovered for donation to hungry people in need rather than allowing that food to become waste.  If you are a large food service provider, such as a large restaurant or grocery store, per SB 1383 and the County’s Ordinance, you are required to enter into a written agreement with a food recovery service that can recover your excess edible food.  Los Angeles County Public Works will reach out directly to assist food service providers that must comply with the edible food recovery requirement.  Additionally, to assist cities and businesses find an agency nearest them, Public Works is creating a database and map of all edible food recovery agencies in the County. Visit FoodDROPLA.com for more information.

How Should I Store Food Scraps Before Collection?

We recommend gathering/storing your food scraps in kitchen pails. Your designated waste hauler will distribute a kitchen pail as food waste collection service begins (limited to one kitchen pail per household). Frequent emptying (and cleaning) of the pails should limit odors. Additional odor reducing techniques include lining kitchen pails with paper (such as repurposed grocery ads, newspapers, or other readily available paper waste) to soak up liquid produced by the food scraps, layering food waste with yard trimmings, or freezing food scraps in a reusable container prior to collection day.

Organic Waste Management Workshops

During the summer of 2021, Los Angeles County Public Works held workshops to notify the public about the upcoming organic waste collection service and the Organic Waste Disposal Reduction Ordinance.  Workshop recordings and presentations may be viewed through the links below:

Additional workshops on organic waste management will be held as services are rolled out.  Check this website periodically for the latest information.

Please complete our Survey to help us improve our education and outreach efforts.

Questions?

For specific information about how organic waste is being managed in your community, contact your waste hauler.  If you live in an unincorporated area, you may also call Los Angeles County Public Works staff at (888) 253-2652 from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  We also encourage you to continue checking this website for additional updates.

*ADA and Title VI Accommodations: Individuals requiring reasonable accommodations, interpretation services, and materials in other languages or in an alternate format may contact Los Angeles County Public Works at (626) 458-5100. Requests will be processed within seven (7) days.  Individuals with hearing or speech impairment may use California Relay Service 711.

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Toll Free Phone Number: 1(888) CLEAN LA
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