Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SM City Council Approves New Organics Recycling Mandate

City Council adopts a new mandatory recycling ordinance for organic materials, and passes out green trash bins.

In an effort to achieve Santa Monica's "zero waste goal by 2030," the City Council this week adopted a new mandatory recycling ordinance for organic materials. 

The new ordinance fulfils the city's requirement of California law, SB 1383, which was enacted to divert organic materials – such as like food and "green waste" – from landfills to purposeful uses like compost, mulch and renewable energy, said city officials.

Under the new ordinance, all Santa Monica single-family 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.

City officials said the green bin, which is currently used for yard waste, will serve a wider use for all organics, including food waste, paper waste that is mixed with food waste and green 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 at Tuesday night's Council meeting. "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."

So far this year, the city's recycling staff has communicated with 1,500 customers who don't have a green bin so that they will be provided with one in advance of the mandate, city officials said.

Any customer who would like a green bin at no extra charge is urged to contact or 310.458.2223. Customers can also contact the division for a subsidized kitchen pail for organics collection.

The new recycling requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2022 with enforcement to follow.


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