A number of Ceres businesses could be impacted by legislation intended to reduce waste and increase composting in California.
AB 1826 was signed into law in 2014 to help achieve California's aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals by diverting organic waste to compost or use for renewable energy. The law affects commercial businesses such as stores and restaurants, schools, non-profit firms, multi-family housing complexes of five or more units, and industrial businesses that deal in food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste.
The requirement for recycling is based on the cubic yards of organic waste. The minimum threshold of organic waste generation by businesses decreases over time, so a larger proportion of the commercial sector will be required to comply with the new organics recycling requirements in the coming years. Examples of businesses that may qualify for service starting April 1 are Food-4-Less, Home Depot, or a combined use of dumpsters such as Starbucks and Panda Express.
On April 1, businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week will be required to do one of the following:
• Separate organic waste and subscribe to organic waste recycling service through the city;
• Self-haul organic waste off site for recycling;
• Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that may include mixed waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
The city of Ceres Public Works Department will be sending out mailers in the next few months to inform businesses that potentially generate eight cubic yards of organic waste per week. Currently, 68 utility accounts could possibly meet the April 1 threshold required for organic services. Site visits will be conducted to help evaluate the needs and educate businesses on how to separate organic waste, said Public Works Director Jeremy Damas.
Businesses that meet the threshold will be encouraged to set up organic recycling service with the city's Utility Division. The city and Bertolotti Disposal are recommending that commercial organic wastes be collected on a weekly basis with container size being selected based on assessed needs.
The state law ramps up the thresholds in succession. On Jan. 1, 2017 businesses that generate four cubic yards of organic waste will have to compost. Businesses that generate more than four or more cubic yards of solid waste per week will have to compost as of Jan. 1, 2019.
The city has produced a brochure that spells out the new law and ways to comply. Organic materials to be recycled include food waste, green waste, landscaping and pruning materials, food soiled papers, paper plates, paper cups, organic wax lined boxes like Chinese food containers, coffee filters, fruits and vegetable waste, egg cartons, tea tags, napkins, tissues and non-hazardous wood waste.