Are You Ready? Mandatory Organic Waste Collection begins January 1, 2022.

Junk Bandit Hauling
4 Type of Trash Cans - Organic Waste Cans

Are You Ready? Mandatory Organic Waste Collection begins January 1, 2022.

Mandatory Organic Waste Collection begins January 1, 2022. Are you ready?

What’s the next step in California’s efforts to combat climate change?

Mandatory Organic Waste Collection

SB 1383, passed in 2016, requires that all California jurisdictions have organic waste collection services in place and begin mandatory collection on January 1, 2022. Jurisdictions (counties, cities, townships, and special districts) must collect and convert the organic material into compost or biofuel.

The goal is to extend the life of California’s landfills and reduce the methane production resulting from the organic waste build-up in the landfills. Methane is the stinky smell that comes from the decomposition of organic materials. Since methane is heavier than carbon dioxide and oxygen, it sits at the ground level, waiting to be breathed in by our children and pets. Could this be a  contributing factor why California’s breathing issues like asthma are getting worse?

Per Cal Recycle, methane is a super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In a natural environment (like an outside compost bin), the earth’s decomposing army of worms, nematodes, and other helpful critters devour the waste before methane becomes a problem.

Bulldozer in an organic waste land fill

However, landfills are anything but natural.

Mandatory Organic Waste Collection – The County & Jurisdictional Response

The goals of the organic waste collection are admirable, but the follow-through has been dismal.

With no clear instructions from the state to the local jurisdictions, counties and cities have been on their own to figure out “how” to prepare their residents for the coming requirements.

The law passed in 2016 with stated implementation goals in 2022.  Thus, giving counties and cities five (5) years to research, plan, and implement ahead of the deadline. However, planning for the needed infrastructure and necessary education for the public was not done. If discussions occurred, there are no easily accessible records of such actions.

It is easy to blame the fires, budget shortfalls, and pandemics. However, how hard is it to have weekly planning meetings via video?  Then post a paragraph on the county’s website informing the public what actions have been taken or considered.

In short, all but two southern California jurisdictions dropped the ball in preparing residents and building the necessary infrastructure to create a smooth transition.

For more information, here are links to the county waste management pages.

How Does This Affect You?

As counties and municipalities scramble to meet the deadline or file for extensions, two things are immediately apparent:

  1. Higher trash collection fees are coming
  2. Education is necessary

Higher trash collection fees are on the horizon.

Organic Waste Collection will cause prices to go up

The 2016 law did not provide jurisdictions with additional funds necessary to fill the law’s requirements. CalRecycle’s website points to composting and the creation of biofuels as the way for counties to go. However, developing or modifying existing locations to properly process the organic waste that prevents the creation of methane takes time and money.

Now, add the cost of purchasing labeled organic waste cans all customers need.

Guess who is going to pay for this expansion of services?

You are.

Education is necessary

The public needs to know what goes in which bin and what each bin color means.

Education is needed to help people understand the differences between junk, recyclables, organic waste, and trash.

Here is a fast way to tell the  difference:

  • Junk – Large items that won’t fit in your weekly trash that are deemed to have lesser or no value—whether they work or not. These items do not pose a health or sanitation risk but can cause injury if not lifted properly. Junk can be things like Aunt Martha’s sewing machine, a mattress, an old desk, or the fridge in the garage you don’t use but still works. To remove junk, call Junk Bandit to pick them up and dispose of them for you.
  • Recyclables – Non-organic items that need to be broken down and re-formed to live a new life. These include glass, aluminum cans, beverage plastics, light bulbs, cell phones, copper, and steel.
  • Organic Waste – Organic waste includes food, green materials, landscaping/pruning waste, carpets, wood, paper products, newspapers, writing paper, manure, hair, and organic textiles. Some counties include cardboard as organic waste. Some consider cardboard recyclable.
  • Trash – Trash fits in the weekly can. These smaller items pose a sanitation or health risk, are broken, and cannot be recycled. Trash includes used diapers, plastic candy wrappers, unrepairable items, plastic packaging,

What are Your Options?

While you wait for your county or city to figure out how they will handle the organic waste, there are things you can do. If you don’t want to take your organic waste to the dump yourself or wait until social peer pressure makes you feel guilty, you can do any or all of the following:

Create a new Habit

Get in the habit of separating the organic waste as you go about your day. Don’t designate a time for it. Instead, put your organic wastes away as they occur.

4 Type of Trash Cans - Organic Waste Cans

Purchase An Organic Waste Can

The law states that you don’t have to use the one provided by your trash company. Since you get a choice, consider getting one with a replaceable charcoal filter in the lid. The charcoal filter helps with the “Ewwww” factor and the smell.

Compost It Yourself

Select the best option that works for your situation:

  1. Hire worms to eat your organic waste. Vermiculture is highly effective, doesn’t smell, and your new “employees” create high-quality fertilizer for your plants. In short, these little guys eat your cardboard and food scraps and poop out fertilizer your plants love in a “worm factory” that takes up less than 2 square feet of space. It is vertical likes to be tucked away in a dimly light corner. (Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin)
  2. Build a compost bin out of pallets, old wood, 4 “T” posts, and some chicken wire or whatever extra scrap materials you have laying around.
  3. Buy a composting machine. Lomi is a new countertop appliance just hitting the market. They are being shipped domestically at the beginning of 2022. Put your kitchen waste and specific plastics in Lomi during the day and run it at night. The volume will drop to less than 10% of the pre-cycle volume. You have three options on how far to process the waste (for the organic waste bin, your worms, or your plants). You select the best option for you.

Put organic waste in an outdoor compost bin

Please note that Junk Bandit does not make any money on the recommendation of these products. They are just solutions either we have tried or have friends who use these.

Junk Bandit has built its reputation on quality junk removal services, fair pricing, and knowledgeable staff. However, when we were reminded this law was going into effect, we knew had to share our findings with you and our neighbors.

Test for a junk removal estimate


As the counties figure out what is the next step, please feel free to reach out. We would love to help you with your next clean-up, the light demolition of that old hot tub or just to pick up some extras decluttering your garage.  We offer curbside pickup for your convenience.

Give us a call today!


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