Sonoma residents, businesses, and institutions are now required to separate organic materials from trash and recycling as of January 1. The new ordinance was enacted as required by California Senate Bill 1383, which was passed in 2016 to reduce the generation of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. The law seeks to reduce organic waste disposal by 75 percent from the 2014 level while recovering 20 percent more edible food to reduce food insecurity.
The new ordinance requires organic materials, which include food scraps, landscaping waste, untreated wood, certain paper products (napkins, tissues, paper towels, and food-contaminated food packaging made of paper or cardboard), and organic textiles to be placed into the green carts/dumpsters or composted (Download a waste sorting guide). Organics are not allowed in the blue recycling container or the gray/black trash container.
Businesses that generate food scraps are also required to provide separate organics and recycling containers in customer areas wherever there is a trash container.
As noted by the city’s sustainability coordinator, Travis Wagner, “properly segregating your organics materials is the easiest and least expensive climate action everyone can do. It will also extend the life of our landfills while creating valuable compost statewide.”
To help Sonoma residents and businesses, the city created a dedicated website for its Sort It Sonoma! program – https://www.sonomacity.org/sort-it-sonoma/.