Commercial Solid Waste Requirements


  • AB 341(effective 2012) - mandatory recycling services for businesses and multi-family units generating 4 or more cubic yards (CY) of garbage
  • AB 1826 (effective 2018) - mandatory green waste composting for specified commercial accounts and multi-family units
  • AB 827 (effective 2020) - mandatory recycling and organics receptacles for customer use at food establishments
  • SB 1383 (effective 2022) - mandatory recycling, green waste, and food scraps collection services for all commercial and residential properties. Required edible food recovery for businesses meeting specific thresholds
  • AB 1276 (effective 2022) - prohibits food facilities from providing single-use food ware accessories or standard condiments to consumers unless requested;  prohibits bundling items in such a way that prohibits consumers from taking only the desired item;  requires third-party food delivery platforms the ability to request with order the desired food ware accessories and/or standard condiments. Facilities excluded from this law include correctional institutions, health care facilities, residential care facilities, and public & private school cafeterias.
  • AB 1884 - requires straws upon request at sit down restaurants
  • SB 1335 - requires recyclable and compostable takeout food packaging at state facilities, parks, beaches, colleges, and fairgrounds


English version - Updated January 2023
- Spanish version - haga clic para ver - Updated January 2023
- Mandarin version - 請點此查看 - Updated January 2023


  • Single Use Bag Ordinance (ECMC 2013-03) - Prohibits El Cerrito retail and other applicable businesses from providing free single-use bags. The ordinance is intended to reduce the common use of single-use carry out bags and encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers in El Cerrito
  • Food Ware Ordinance (ECMC 2013-04) - Requires all food providers in the city to use compostable or reusable single-use foodware (e.g., straws, eating utensils, and food containers) with limited exceptions. Compostable plastics are not allowed. Aligning with State law (Assembly Bill 1276), all Food Facilities must only distribute single-use foodware accessories (e.g., utensils, straws, stirrers, etc.) and condiment cups or packets, upon request by the consumer. 
  • Mandatory Organics Recycling (SB 1383) - (ECMC 2021-05) Requires all businesses and residents to be enrolled in organic waste or “green waste” collection services and to properly sort materials for disposal
    • Organics in the green waste cart,
    • Recyclables in the recycling cart, and 
    • Only garbage in the cart intended for the landfill. 
We Are Not Trash (Foodwaste image)

​Recycling organics produces a nutrient rich soil amendment
​that helps to feed the soil food web to product healthy soils
​for healthy plants,
​and contributes to healthy air.

Educational Video:
Perfect for coffee shops and restaurants - Organics Recycling

Organics include:
  • BPI ASTM D6400 Compostable bags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fiber - based paper products
  • Food scraps
  • Food soiled paper products
  • BPI ASTM D6400 Compostable bags
Recycling Materials Image

Recycling is a tool that helps to keep commodities out of the landfill and in circulation.  Glass and metals can be recycled ad infinitum.  They are much too valuable to sit in a landfill forever.  Single-use plastics are best avoided as much as possible, but we are able to accept all plastics for recycling purposes.  Beverage containers and narrow-necked empty, clean, and dry plastics have a thriving recycling market.  They are valuable and must never be landfilled.

Recyclable materials include:
  • Bottles and cans - aluminum, glass, tin, plastic
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Clean paper -  clean means it never touched food (includes: office paper, newspaper, post-its, envelopes etc.)


​The Operations + Environmental Services Division has various types of outreach materials available to help educate your employees on how to recycle and compost in our city.  Materials include: brochures, posters, bin stickers, Slim Jims, and green product samples.  Please contact staff for assistance including scheduling a presentation at 559.7686 or via email.  

Commercial NewsletterS

Quarterly, newsletters for the commercial sector are created and included with the garbage services invoice.  To read and/or download copies of all archived newsletters, please visit: