Solid Waste Ordinance Update

The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors unanimously approved updates to the Solid Waste Ordinance on May 5, 2021. This requires all residents and businesses in the densely-populated, and to a lesser extent sparsely-populated, areas of the unincorporated County to comply with new recycling requirements. Densely-populated areas include census tracts that have a population density of more than 75 people per square mile. See how the new ordinance impacts you.

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  • How do I know if I live in a densely- or sparsely- populated area?

    Based on census tract data, densely-populated areas include larger communities such as Spring Valley, Lakeside, Ramona, Fallbrook, etc., while sparsely-populated areas include smaller communities such as Campo, Boulevard, Warner Springs, Ranchita, etc. Verify which type of area you live in here.

    This page details recycling requirements for entities in densely-populated areas. To learn more about recycling requirements in sparsely-populated areas click here.

  • Recycling Requirements for Single-family Homes & Multi-family Complexes with 4 or Fewer Units

    Single-family residences in the densely-populated areas must separate materials on their premises and arrange for recycling of the following materials-

    Designated Recyclable Materials:

    • Aluminum
    • Glass bottles & jars
    • Cardboard & paper products
    • Rigid plastics (#1-#7)
    • Tin & Bi-Metal Cans
    • Large Appliances

    Organic Materials:

    • Yard Trimmings
    • Nonhazardous wood waste
    • Food Scraps and food-soiled paper*

    *when service is available in your area or by October 1, 2021.

     

    Residents must:

    • Keep recyclables separate from trash.
    • Arrange for proper collection, storage, and transport of discarded materials.

     

    How do I Comply?

    Residents may demonstrate compliance by:

    • Subscribing to a 3-stream collection service with a non-exclusive franchise hauler, or contract with a Certified Recyclable Materials Collector for certain materials. 
    • Self-hauling materials. Registration with the County is required. Contact Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov for information.

     

    Waiver from Service Requirements

    Single family residences in the densely-populated areas, including multi-family premises with 4 or less units, who manage all organic materials generated on-site may apply for a waiver from organic recycling service requirements. Learn more here. 

  • Recycling Requirements for Multi-family Properties (5+ units)

    Multi-family Properties (5+ units) in the densely-populated areas must separate materials on their premises and arrange for recycling of the following materials-

    Designated Recyclable Materials:

    • Aluminum
    • Glass bottles & jars
    • Cardboard & paper products
    • Rigid plastics (#1-#7)
    • Tin & Bi-Metal Cans
    • Large Appliances

    Organic Materials:

    • Yard Trimmings
    • Nonhazardous wood waste
    • Food Scraps and food-soiled paper*

    *when service is available in your area or by October 1, 2021.

     

    Multi-family properties must:

    • Meet the County’s minimum diversion service level ratio of 35%. This means at least 35% of the weekly container capacity must be available for recyclables and organic materials.
      • The container capacity is measured in cubic yards of space in the carts or dumpsters available for solid waste, recyclable materials, and organic materials. 
    • Have adequate number and size of containers for tenants, employees, and contractors.
      • A minimum of 20 gallons of recycling capacity per unit and 5 gallons of organics capacity per unit are required.
      • If the minimum weekly per unit requirements result in more weekly service than required by the minimum 35% service level ratio, the per-dwelling unit requirement will supersede the ratio requirements.
      • A County Recycling Specialist or your Franchise Hauler can assist you in right sizing your waste service.
    • Provide education to tenants within 14 days of move-in.
    • Annually educate tenants about recycling and organic materials recovery and proper sorting.
    • Accommodate inspections and monitoring by the County or its designee.
    • Keep recyclables separate from trash.
    • Arrange for proper collection, storage, and transport of discarded materials.
    • Require in contract that gardeners and/or landscapers recycle green materials and wood waste, if total waste generation is greater than or equal to 2 cubic yards per week.

     

    How do I Comply?

    Generators may demonstrate compliance by:

    • Subscribing to a 3-stream collection service with a non-exclusive franchise hauler, or contract with a Certified Recyclable Materials Collector for certain materials. 
    • Self-hauling materials. Registration with the County is required. Contact Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov for information.
    • Maintaining records:
      • Tenant education
      • Landscaping contracts (if applicable)

     

    Waivers from Service Requirements

    Multi-family properties (5+ units) may apply for waivers from recycling and/or organics service requirements when de minimis generation occurs, if there are physical space constraints, and/or if all organic materials generated are managed on-site. Learn more about waivers here. 

  • Recycling Requirements for Commercial Properties

    Commercial properties in the densely-populated areas must separate materials on their premises and arrange for recycling of the following materials-

    Designated Recyclable Materials:

    • Aluminum
    • Glass bottles & jars
    • Cardboard & paper products
    • Rigid plastics (#1-#7)
    • Tin & Bi-Metal Cans
    • Large Appliances

    Organic Materials:

    • Yard Trimmings
    • Nonhazardous wood waste
    • Food Scraps and food-soiled paper*

    *when service is available in your area or by October 1, 2021.

     

    Commercial properties must:

    • Meet the County’s minimum diversion service level ratio of 35%. This means at least 35% of the weekly container capacity to be available for recyclables and organic materials.
      • The container capacity is measured in cubic yards of space in the carts or dumpsters available for solid waste, recyclable materials, and organic materials. 
      • A County Recycling Specialist or your Franchise Hauler can assist you in right sizing your waste service.
    • Provide containers for employees and customers that are properly labeled and match the color(s) of their collection containers. All trash containers for customers must be co-located with recycling containers (except in restrooms).
      • Full-service restaurants are not required to have bins for customers but must have bins for staff.
    • Provide education for new hires.
    • Train and educate employees annually on proper material sorting.
    • Prohibit employees from placing materials in wrong containers.
    • Inspect containers for contamination and re-educate employees.
    • Accommodate inspections/monitoring by the County or its designee.
    • Require in contract that gardeners and/or landscapers recycle green materials and wood waste if total waste generation is greater than or equal to 2 cubic yards per week.
    • Comply with surplus edible food recovery requirements if identified as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 commercial edible food generator.

     

    How do I Comply?

    Generators may demonstrate compliance by:

    • Subscribing to a 3-stream collection service with a non-exclusive franchise hauler, or contract with a Certified Recyclable Materials Collector for certain materials. 
    • Self-hauling materials. Registration with the County is required. Contact Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov for information.
    • Providing appropriate containers for customers and staff.
    • Maintaining records:
      • Employee training
      • Landscaping contracts (if applicable)
      • Edible food donation contracts and records (if applicable)

     

    Waivers from Service Requirements

    Commercial properties may apply for waivers from recycling and/or organics service requirements when de minimis generation occurs, if there are physical space constraints, and/or if all organic materials generated are managed on-site. Learn more about waivers here. 

  • Resources
    • The County of San Diego offers free assistance to setup or improve recycling programs including technical assistance, tenant education, signage and containers (as available). Please contact a Recycling Specialist at Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov or 858-694-2456 for information.
    • Click here to view the entire Solid Waste Ordinance.
    • Learn more about State law recycling requirements (AB 341AB 827) and organics recycling requirements (AB 1826SB 1383).

Recycling Programs