Organics Recycling Policies

Hover over a state to read the organic recycling policies located in that state. Click on the state to jump to more detail.

(Green = has state policy, regardless of city policies, Yellow = has city policy only, Blue = interested in organics recycling policies)

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC
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Organic Recycling Policies

Several states have policies requiring that organic material, like food scraps, must be recycled if there’s a recycling facility nearby. The list of states is growing and while there are many similarities between the policies, each one is unique to the way the state handles waste management. Read on for details on the organic recycling policies in each state, including some municipal/city policies. To view this information as a PDF, click here.

What is organics recycling?

There are only two ways to recycle organic material: biogas systems or compost systems. Both convert organic material into a valuable soil product using naturally occurring microbes. Biogas systems also generate renewable energy from the biogas they produce. And in many cases, they can work together. For example, you might digest food scraps in a biogas system (AKA, anaerobic digester), use the biogas, and compost the digested material with additional landscaping waste to create a nutrient rich soil product. How biogas systems work.

California

Impacts commercial or public entities plus multi-family dwellings starting with the largest waste generators and adding smaller generators over time:

  • 8 cubic yards of organic waste/week: April 1, 2016
  • 4 cubic yards of organic waste/week: January 1, 2017
  • 4 cubic yards of commercial waste/week: January 1, 2019
  • 2 cubic yards of commercial waste/week: January 1, 2020

Enforced starting January 1, 2016 when each jurisdiction in the state must have an organics recycling system in place.

Policies:

AB 1826 – Signed into Law on September 28, 2014

Connecticut:

  • Impacts large waste generators that produce more than 104 tons/year of organic waste (reducing to 52 tons/year in 2020) if they are within 20 miles of an organics recycling facility.
  • Generators are expected to provide proper employee training on organics recycling, transportation to processors, and proper storage for food scraps.
  • Policies for residential food scrap recycling exist at the municipal level
  • Enforced starting January 1, 2014

Policies:

Public Act 11-217 – Legislation Passed on July 13, 2011

Public Act 13-285 – Legislation Passed on July 12, 2013

Massachusetts:

  • Impacts food waste generators that produce more than 1 ton/week of food waste
  • Effective October 1, 2014 “commercial organic material” was banned from disposal

Policies:

Regulation 310 CMR 19.000 Takes Effect October 1, 2014 

Minnesota:

  • Impacts owners of sports facilities and commercial buildings.
  • At least 3 “recyclable materials” such as, but not limited to, paper, glass, plastic, and metal must be collected and transferred to a recycler
  • “Recyclable Materials” means materials that are separated from mixed municipal solid waste for the purpose of recycling or composting, including paper, glass, plastics, metals, automobile oil, batteries, source-separated compostable materials, and sole source food waste streams that are managed through biodegradative processes
  • Effective 2015

Policies:

Statute 115A.151 Recycling Requirements; Public Entities; Commercial Buildings; Sports Facilities (2015)

New York:

  • Effective January first, 2022, all food scrap generators who generate an annual average of two tons per week of food scraps are required to recycle their organics. 
  • All designated food scraps generators shall separate their excess  edible food for donation for human consumption to the maximum extent practicable, and in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations related to food donation; 
  • Each designated food scraps generator that is within twenty-five miles of an organics recycler, to the extent that the recycler has capacity to accept all of such generator’s food scraps based on the department’s S. 1508–C 43 A. 2008–C 1 yearly estimate of an organic recyclers’ capacity pursuant to section 2 27-2211 of this title, shall: 
  1. separate its remaining food scraps from other solid waste; 
  2. ensure proper storage for food scraps on site which shall preclude such materials from becoming odorous or attracting vectors, such as a container that has a lid and a latch that keeps the lid closed and is resistant to tampering by rodents or other wildlife and has sufficient capacity; 
  3. have information available and provide training for employees concerning the proper methods to separate and store food scraps; 
  4. obtain a transporter that will deliver food scraps to an organics recycler, self-haul its food scraps to an organics recycler, or provide  for organics recycling on-site via in-vessel composting, aerobic or anaerobic digestion or any other method of processing organic waste that the department approves by regulation, for some or all of the food waste  it generates on its premises, provided that the remainder is delivered to an organics recycler.

Policies:

New York Organics Recycling Law

 

Rhode Island:

  • Impacts waste generators producing 104 tons/year or more with an organics recycling center within 15 miles.
  • Generators may appeal for exemptions if the recycling centers’ tipping fees are problematic. (Rhode Island’s landfill pricing is managed by a public agency, so the threat of landfills artificially lowering their tip fee to prevent organics recycling businesses from being successful is low.)
  • Enforced starting June 30, 2014

Policies:

SB 2315 – Signed into law June 30, 2014

    Vermont:

    • Impacts a variety of waste generators starting with the largest generators and adding smaller generators over time if they are within 20 miles of an organics recycling facility:
    • <104 tons/year (2 tons/week) by July, 1 2014
    • <52 tons/year (1 tons/week) by July, 1 2015
    • <26 tons/year (1,000 lbs./week) by July, 1 2016
    • <18 tons/year (700 lbs./week) by July 1, 2017
    • By 2020 all food scraps must be diverted to certified facilities, regardless of distance to a facility.
    • Collection: All trash collectors must offer collection of leaf/yard debris by July 1, 2015 and food scraps by July 1, 2017.
    • Enforcement started July 1, 2014

    Policies:

    Universal Recycling Law: Act 148 – Passed in 2012

    See for mandatory recyclables: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/Act148.htm

    Municipalities With Organics Recycling Programs: 

    San Francisco, CA

    • Ordinance Number 100-09 –Effective November 10, 2009

     

    Austin, TX

    • Resolution 20121213-097 – Passed December 13, 2012
    • Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO)

     

    New York City, NY

    • Local Law 146-2013 –Passed December 30, 2013

    Washington, DC

    • Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014
    • Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014

     

    Bridgewater, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

     

    New Fairfield, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

     

    New Milford, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

    Newtown, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

     

    Redding, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

     

    Ridgefield, CT

    • Voluntary residential food scrap recycling through the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

    Hennepin County, MN

    • Voluntary residential recycling is strongly supported with a residential organics recycling program

    Vancouver, BC

    • 1431 Solid Waste Organics Bylaw – Passed December 13, 2012

    Seattle, WA

    • Ordinance Number 1122844 – Legislation Passed on December 2, 2008 – Curbside Compostable Waste Collection
    • Ordinance Number 123307 – Legislation Passed on May 20, 2010- Compostable Food Service Ware
    • Ordinance Number 124582 – Legislation Passed on September 22, 2014 – Disposal as Garbage
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