An important part of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery’s (CalRecycle) mission is to increase the diversion of organic materials from landfill disposal for beneficial uses such as compost and energy production. According to CalRecycle, there currently is an estimated 35 million tons of waste are disposed of in California’s landfills annually, of which 32 percent are compostable organic materials such as food waste, green waste, wood waste.

Kern County provides green waste and wood waste recycling programs for residents and businesses at most disposal sites and at the Mt. Vernon Greenwaste Facility in Bakersfield.  In addition, residents in Arvin, Metro-Bakersfield (City and County), Delano, McFarland, and Wasco have a curbside green waste recycling program as part of their regular trash service.

As of July 1, 2020, State Assembly Bill No. 827 additionally requires businesses to provide organics (compost) and recycling bins wherever there is public access to the business. This new bill will impact the following groups:

  • Commercial entities that subscribe to trash services of 4-cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week, which are entities subject to AB 341.
  • Commercial entities that subscribe to combined trash and recycling services of 4-cubic yards or more of waste per week, which are entities subject to AB 1826. There is also the strong possibility that the state may be lowering this threshold to 2-cubic yards as early as January.

The bill will also require commercial entities to place educational signage next to the clearly marked organics and/or recycling bins to help customers distinguish what items belong in which bin. However, this bill exempts full service, or commonly known as “dine-in,” restaurants from this mandate.


As of January 1, 2019, multi-family complexes of 5 units or more and businesses that generate four (4) cubic yards or more of solid waste per week are required to recycle their organic materials. A business means any commercial or public entity, including but not limited to:

  • A firm
  • Partnership
  • Proprietorship
  • Joint-stock company
  • Corporation, or association that is
    organized as a for-profit or non-profit entity
  • Strip mall (e.g. property complex containing
    two or more commercial entities)
  • Industrial facility
  • School
  • School district
  • California State University
  • Community colleges
  • University of California
  • Special district or
  • A federal, state, local, regional agency or facility

The requirement was signed into law per AB 1826, which is intended to promote recycling and diversion of organic waste from landfills by requiring businesses to accomplish recycling activities and/or participate in recycling programs.

What materials should be recycled?

What can be recycled will vary by business; however, this program targets mainly source-separated organic compostable materials that can be collected together or commingled such as:

  • Food scraps
  • Food soiled paper
  • Non-Treated Wood Wast
  • Yard trimmings

Multi-family complexes are only required to recycle yard waste.

How to get started?

Businesses and commercial properties located in unincorporated Kern County areas have several options to comply with State mandates, as follows:

  • Food Waste Recycling: Subscribe to a Source Separated Food Waste Collection Service with the Franchise Hauler authorized to provide service for the area in which the Business is located;
  • Food Recovery: Food Facilities that donate food can self-certify compliance; or
  • Green Waste Recycling: Businesses and Multi-Family complexes with landscaping services can self-certify compliance.

Self Recycling Certification

Businesses that self-recycle must accomplish recycling activities and/or participate in recycling programs, certify compliance with the Commercial Recycling Ordinance and complete and retain on-site a Self Recycling form certifying that all recycling activities will be completed in accordance with this Ordinance or any other applicable law or regulation.

Click here to certify that your Business is Self-Recycling or Exempt.

Resources for Commercial Recycling