Council Adopts Mandatory Recycling Ordinance for Organics

October 27, 2021 9:46 AM


SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The State of California has a new organics recycling mandate – Senate Bill 1383 – to divert organic materials like food and green waste from landfills to purposeful uses like compost, mulch, and renewable energy. To fulfill the state law and to continue Santa Monica’s commitment to environmental stewardship and achieving our zero waste goal by 2030, the City Council last night adopted a new Mandatory Recycling Ordinance for Santa Monica. 


Under the ordinance, all Santa Monica single- and multi-family households and commercial customers are required to separate waste using a three-bin system: black for refuse, blue for non-organics recycling such as cardboards and bottles, and green for organics recycling beginning January 1, 2022. While many customers have three bins, there are some that do not have a green bin, commonly known as the bin for yard waste. The green bin serves a wider use for all organics, which means food waste, food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste, and green waste (e.g., landscape and yard waste).


“We all want to do our part to reduce materials sent to the landfill and methane production, and now we have a big opportunity by properly recycling our everyday food and green waste,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “Santa Monica residents and businesses have an impressive track record going above and beyond for the environment, and I anticipate this will be no different. As a community, we enthusiastically follow the state’s lead in reducing organic materials in landfills by 75% and edible food to landfills by 20% by 2025 along the way to becoming a zero waste community by 2030.”


Throughout 2021, the City’s Resource Recovery and Recycling team has conducted community outreach, including direct communication to the 1,500 or 10% of customers that do not have a green bin to provide the container at no extra charge in advance of the mandate. So far, the team has met with  dozens of businesses, multifamily buildings, community groups, and neighborhood organizations. Significant outreach and education on the three-bin system will continue into 2022.


Account-holders who do not have a green bin and would like one at no extra charge, should contact recycling@santamonica.gov or 310.458.2223. Customers can also contact the division for a discounted kitchen pail for organics collection. To stay informed, sign up for bi-weekly community updates at www.santamonica.gov/newsletter.


The requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2022 with enforcement to follow. There are limited waivers for the organics recycling mandate, including businesses and residents that collect a minimal amount of organics per week or if a customer’s building lacks adequate space for the required containers (subject to approval by the City). 


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