We can help you take the next step!

The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) is working to share information and lend experience to build capacity for diverting wasted food in California. This work is focused in the greater San Diego area, where CET has partnered with CalRecycle, the San Diego Food Systems Alliance and Solana Center to create tip sheets on food waste reduction, food rescue, and food waste separation, as well as a webinar to support jurisdictions in their need to provide information on food waste diversion to food businesses.

CET is also fielding questions from food businesses that are interested in plugging into emerging infrastructure like depackaging. To learn more about CET’s work in California and to get involved, contact CET today at 888-813-8552 or e-mail wastedfood@cetonline.org.

Helpful California Wasted Food Resources

  • Best Management Practice Tip Sheets tailored to businesses and institutions in San Diego County, California, created by CET with guidance from CalRecycle, Solana Center, and San Diego Food System Alliance.
  • Food Recovery in the San Francisco Bay Area
    • The EPA created a webpage with links and resources about food recovery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Resources include tools for source reduction, food rescue organizations, list of processing facilities, and more.
  • Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
    • The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Public Law 104-210) protects donors from liability when donating to nonprofit organizations and protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product, donated in good faith, later cause harm to the needy recipient.

California Legal/Regulatory Requirements

  • California AB-1826
    • The California Mandatory Commercial Recycling Law, AB 1826, which requires businesses that generate specified amounts of organic waste must subscribe to organic waste recycling services, took effect on January 1, 2015. The legal obligations to covered entities began on April 1, 2016. Organic waste recycling services may include subscribing to an organic recycling service, recycling on-site or self-hauling material to a processing site, or selling or donating the edible surplus.
    • In addition, local jurisdictions are required to implement organic recycling programs which support AB 1826. These programs must identify existing organic recycling facilities within the jurisdiction, provide education and outreach to businesses within the jurisdiction, and monitor businesses and notify those that are not in compliance with the requirements outlined above. The program may, but need not, include adopting a mandatory organic recycling ordinance at the local level. Local jurisdictions may implement requirements for businesses that are stricter than the state requirements, and businesses must comply with these local requirements.
  • California SB-1383
    • California SB 1383 was signed into law in September 2016. This law establishes methane emissions reduction targets in a number of areas in efforts to reduce the statewide emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. As related to wasted food, SB 1383 establishes targets to reduce 2014 levels of disposed organic waste by 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025 under the authoritative body of CalRecycle. Additionally, the law establishes a target that at least 20% of edible food that is currently disposed of is recovered for human consumption.
  • California AB-827
    • The California State Legislature passed AB 827 in September 2019. The bill mandates businesses, that are already required to subscribe to recycling services under AB 341 or composting services under AB 1826, to offer access to recycling and composting bins to their customers by July 2020. Under this law, the recycling and composting bins provided to the public should be easily accessible, adjacent to each bin or container for trash, and clearly marked with educational signage indicating what is accepted in the local solid waste programs.


For more information regarding food waste estimates, source separation guidance, and how to start a food donation program, open CET’s Toolbox.


Contact CET to learn more about food recovery and waste diversion opportunities for your business, institution, customers, or association members: