Recycling & Food scrap Collection Requirements

New Recycling & Food scrap Collection Requirements, Effective July 1, 2014

Starting July 1, 2014, many Alameda County businesses will be required to provide adequate on-site collection service for the amount of recyclable and compostable materials they produce. The new requirements are part of the second phase of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority’s Mandatory Recycling Ordinance 2012-01, which first took effect in July of 2012.
In Alameda County cities that have fully opted-in to Phase 2 of the ordinance, this phase adds new requirements for recycling organics (food scraps and food-soiled paper) and extends recycling requirements to all businesses (previously, only businesses generating four or more cubic yards of solid waste per week were required to participate).
In order to comply, beginning July 1, 2014, all businesses in Alameda County jurisdictions that have fully opted-in, regardless of waste generation volume, must:
1.     Provide containers and service of sufficient number, size and frequency for recyclable materials.
2.     New!Provide containers and service of sufficient number, size and frequency for organics.*
3.     Recycle all recyclable Covered Materials: cardboard, newspaper, white paper, mixed recyclable paper, recyclable glass food and beverage containers, aluminum and metal food and beverage containers, PET (#1) and HDPE (#2) plastic bottles.
4.     New!Place food scraps and compostable paper in separate organics cart/bin for organics collection.*
5.     Ensure recycling and organics containers are contamination free. Only recyclable materials may be placed in recycling containers and only organics* may be placed in organics containers.
6.     Provide information at least annually to employees and contractors describing how to properly use the recycling, garbage, and organics* containers. For commercial properties that lease space to one or more businesses, this information must be provided to each tenant to share with their employees, as well as no later than 14 days after move-in and no less than 14 days prior to move-out.
* Requirements for organics collection apply only to businesses and institutions that generate more than 10% organics, such as restaurants and grocery stores. Certain business types are assumed to generate a minimal amount, less than 10% by weight, of compostable materials and therefore are not required to obtain organics collection service. If a routine inspection of the garbage container reveals that a larger than minimal amount of food and/or compostable paper is being discarded, the property owner or business will be notified that they are required to obtain organics collection service.
Ordinance requirements differ by jurisdiction. Businesses are encouraged to check
www.RecyclingRulesAC.orgfor details about their city’s requirements as well as an overview of the services and support materials available to them.  
The following Alameda County jurisdictions have fully opted-in to Phase 2 of the ordinance: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Livermore, Piedmont and unincorporated Alameda County not covered by the Castro Valley or Oro Loma Sanitary Districts.
The following jurisdictions have postponed certain requirements of Phase 2 of the ordinance: Castro Valley, Fremont and Oakland. In these jurisdictions, all businesses regardless of waste volume are, as of July 1, 2014, required provide adequate recycling service, but requirements for organics collection services will not be effective until future dates.
Other jurisdictions are expected to opt-in to Phase 2 in the future.
Under Alameda County Waste Management Authority Ordinance 2012-01, businesses not previously covered under the law will have until the end of the year to complete the steps necessary to comply with the new requirements. Assistance and resources are available to help with compliance. No fines will be issued before January 1, 2015.
For additional information about Mandatory Recycling Ordinance 2012-01, details about who is affected, how to comply and to find support materials or request assistance, please visit   
Contra Costa County businesses with 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste service per week must comply with AB 341 that took effect July 1, 2012. The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority is available to help property managers in their service area (which includes Walnut Creek) and can be reached via

This Green Tip was submitted by Rachel Balsley, member of the BOMA OEB Environment Committee.