Mandatory Commercial Recycling

Environmental services for the City of San Juan Capistrano focuses on the preservation of San Juan Capistrano's environment through innovative waste reduction and pollution prevention programs.

State Legislation & Regulations

Assembly Bill 939 (AB 939) Integrated Waste Management Act

In 1989, the State of California signed into law landmark environmental legislation, which has and continues to shape the industry of recycling and refuse. Assembly Bill 939 (AB 939) requires every city and county in the state of California to divert at least 50% of their entire waste stream from landfills. In order to do so, the City of San Juan Capistrano calls upon the assistance of all valuable business members and residents in their communities to participate in waste reduction and recycling efforts. CR&R assists the City by providing various programs to businesses and residents to help meet AB939 requirements. Information can be found at the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Assembly Bill 341 (AB 341) Mandatory Commercial Recycling

Beginning July 1, 2012, Assembly Bill 341 (AB 341) requires all businesses in California that generate 4 or more cubic yards of waste per week and multi-family residences of 5 or more units to recycle. Participating in a CR&R recycling program will assist your business in meeting the new recycling requirement. Businesses may also donate, sell and/or self-haul materials to a recycling facility. Information about California's business recycling requirements is available at the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383 - 2017 to 2019)

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP): Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions

Effective January 1, 2022, all California residences, multi-family complexes, and businesses will be required to separate organic waste from trash and participate in an organics collection program. California Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) establishes a target to achieve 75% reduction in the level of statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2025. The regulation also establishes an additional target that not less than 20% of currently disposed of edible food is recovered for human consumption by 2025. SB 1383 is unique in that it impacts both residents and businesses requiring everyone to recycle organic materials. SB 1383 also requires some businesses to donate excess edible food to feed people in need.

San Juan Capistrano residents began recycling their food waste by including it with their yard trimmings green waste carts effective July 1, 2020. San Juan Capistrano food service businesses and multi-family residences began recycling food and/or green waste in 2016. Effective July 1, 2020, the City's franchise hauler discontinued commercial single bin mixed waste service and expanded all businesses to a 'source separated' recycling program with separate containers for refuse, recycling, and organics.

Organic waste generally includes the following: 

  • Food scraps, including all solid, semi-solid and liquid food such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, poultry, seafood, bread, rice, pasta, tea bags, coffee grounds, and oils.
  • Yard trimmings include grass clippings, leaves, flowers, hedge clippings, and weeds. Non-hazardous wood waste includes tree branches, tree trunks, and untreated lumber.

Edible food is food intended for people to eat, including food not sold because of appearance, age, freshness, grade, surplus, etc. Edible food includes, but is not limited to, prepared foods, packaged foods and produce.

Food date labels are an attempt to indicate quality of food, but not safety. In fact, the only federal regulation for date labeling of products is for infant formula. Most food products are still safe to eat past the date labeled on the product.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
  • A "Best By" or "Best if Used By" date is recommended for best flavor or quality.
  • A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

For more information on SB 1383, please visit the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) website: California's Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

Report a Concern About a Waste/Recycling Regulation Potential Violation

The City actively works to provide information and assistance to customers to help them achieve and maintain compliance with solid waste regulations, including the recently introduced requirements of SB 1383.  Adapting to new rules and regulations can take time, and the City (by policy) approaches each violation or potential violation with an education-first approach. To ensure that everyone can benefit from information on compliance, especially those who may not have a full understanding of the law, SB 1383 requires jurisdictions to provide customers with a method to provide an anonymous complaint about a potential violation of the SB 1383 regulations. The City Form Center can be used to submit an anonymous concern or complaint about a potential violation of the SB 1383 regulations. Customers can also submit complaints and concerns about potential violations to, 949-487-4307, or by mail to City of San Juan Capistrano Public Works Department, Attn: Environmental Programs, 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675.

Click Here to access/submit your Violation Form

Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826) - Organics Recycling

Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826) was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 28, 2014. This bill will require businesses, including multi-family buildings with five or more units, which generate a specific amount of organic waste per week (yard trimmings, food scraps and food-soiled paper) to arrange for organics recycling and diversion services according to a tiered implementation schedule. These organic materials account for nearly one-third of the approximately 30 million tons of waste destined for California's landfills each year which could be used for soil amendments such as compost and mulch. Recycling keeps our community clean, conserves our natural resources, extends the life of our landfill, and supports the City's recycling goal of 75% waste diversion by 2020. Information can be found from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Who is Required to Have Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Services?

Effective January 1, 2016, AB 1826 (Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling) places requirements on businesses, multi-family residences and jurisdictions to divert organics, which consists of food waste, green waste and non-hazardous wood waste, out of the landfills. Obligations for commercial organics recycling began on April 1, 2016, and will ramp up over the next 4 years.

Commencement dates requirements for businesses and multi-family residences:

  • April 1, 2016: Properties that generate 8 cubic yards a week or more of organic or green waste material must recycle this waste
  • January 1, 2017: Properties that generate 4 cubic yards a week or more of organic or green waste material must recycle this waste
  • January 1, 2019: Properties that generate 4 cubic yards a week or more of solid waste must recycle organics and green waste
  • January 1, 2020: Properties that generate 2 cubic yards a week or more of solid waste must recycle organics and green waste


Businesses with 8 cubic yards of organic waste must have an organics diversion program in place by April 1, 2016, and those with 4 cubic yards of organic waste are required to have an organics diversion program in place by January 1, 2017. These identified businesses can select any combination of the following organic recycling options to comply with the law:

  • Donate food to a food bank
  • Self-haul organics to a recycling or composting facility
  • Recycle your organics through CR&R

The City of San Juan Capistrano and CR&R have an organics program to help your business meet the requirements of AB1826. CR&R is available to assist with the implementation, training and monitoring of your program. CR&R will provide your business with food scrap collection receptacles to help your staff collect food scraps. Once your food scraps are placed in the collection receptacles, CR&R will then collect, transport and process your food scraps and use them to generate renewable energy.

CR&R will visit your business as necessary to provide your employees with educational material demonstrating what can be recycled. A waste audit can be completed to show how and where waste is generated, the composition of the waste, and what currently happens to it. The information gathered can be very valuable for planning or relaunching a comprehensive recycling program.

Contact CR&R's customer service department at 877-728-0446 to place an order for organic recycling containers.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email Craig Dibley with CR&R directly or call him at 877-728-0446, ext. 2242.

Green Waste

Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826) requires multi-family properties and homeowners' associations that generate a certain amount of green/landscaping waste to develop a program to recycle that waste rather than sending it to a landfill. Green/landscaping waste includes leaves, grass clippings, landscape wood waste, and weeds. The State regulations stipulate that:

  • Properties that generate eight cubic yards or more of green waste per week shall arrange for ongoing green waste recycling services by April 1, 2016.
  • Properties that generate four cubic yards or more of green waste per week shall arrange for ongoing green waste recycling services by December 31 2016.

To comply with the law, you can select any combination of these green waste recycling options:

  • On-site processing through chipping or composting, and re-use on site; Self-haul your green wastes to a recycling, composting, or agricultural facility
  • Require your landscaper contractors to recycle your green waste by hauling it to a composting/recycling facility
  • Arrange for CR&R to recycle your green wastes for you

Self-Hauling or Hauling by Landscapers

Green wastes from your property may be self-hauled or taken by your landscapers directly to a composting or recycling facility. The three facilities listed below are nearby in Orange County and accept green waste materials. Other vendors or agricultural operations may also be available to assist you.

  • Tierra Verde Industries - Irvine, 949-551-0363
  • Tierra Verde Industries - San Juan Capistrano, 949-728-0401
  • Aguinaga Green - Irvine, 949-786-9558

Green Waste Recycling Assistance through CR&R Environmental Services

Many multi-family properties in San Juan Capistrano currently have "mixed-waste" bin service. CR&R sorts the mixed wastes after collecting them and separates out bottles, cans and certain other materials for recycling. However, any green waste placed into mixed-waste bins does not currently get recycled by CR&R, and therefore does not help bring your property into compliance with State law. CR&R can, however, provide you with green waste recycling service using separate carts or bins. Landscaping contractors can use these bins to deposit trimmings, grass clippings, and branches from recurring landscaping operations. Please email CR&R's Sustainability Specialist, Craig Dibley or call him at 714-372-8287 for more information on bin sizes and service levels.