Recycling Requirements for Sparsely-Populated Areas

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 sparsely-populated areas of the unincorporated County to comply with new recycling requirements. Sparsely-populated areas include census tracts that have a population density of less 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 sparsely-populated areas. To learn more about recycling requirements in densely-populated areas click here.

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

    Single-family residences in the sparsely-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

     

    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.
    • Maintaining self-haul documentation (if applicable).

     

    Waiver from Service Requirements

    Single family residences in the sparsely-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 sparsely-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

     

    Multi-family properties must:

    • 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:
      • Landscaping contracts (if applicable)
      • Self-haul documentation (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 here. 

  • Recycling Requirements for Commercial Properties

    Commercial Properties in the sparsely-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*

    *Required for commercial premises that generate 2 cubic yards or more of total solid waste, recyclables, and organic materials per week when service is available in your area or by October 1, 2021.

     

    Commercial properties must:

    • Comply with surplus edible food recovery requirements if identified as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 commercial edible food generator.
    • If your property generates 2 cubic yards or more of total solid waste, recyclables, and organic materials per week you must:
      • Provide containers for employees, customers, and visitors 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.
      • Require in contract that gardeners and/or landscapers recycle green materials and wood waste.

     

    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:
      • Landscaping contracts (if applicable)
      • Edible food donation contracts and records (if applicable)
      • Self-haul documentation (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 here. 

  • Resources
    • The County of San Diego offers free assistance to setup or improve recycling programs including training, 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).
    • Learn more about  materials that require special handling such as household hazardous waste, mattresses, paint and carpet.

Recycling Programs