SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday, October 26 approved an ordinance that requires mandatory recycling for organics. The state of California has a new organics recycling mandate – Senate Bill 1383 – to halt organic materials like food and green waste from landfills to purposeful uses like compost, mulch, and renewable energy.

Under the ordinance, all Santa Monica single- and multi-family homes and commercial customers are required to separate waste using a three-bin system: black for refuse, blue for non-organics recycling such as cardboards and bottles, and green for organics recycling beginning January 1, 2022. Some customers have three bins, but some do not have a green bin, commonly known as the bin for yard waste. The green bin serves a wider use for all organics, which means food waste, food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste, and green waste (e.g., landscape and yard waste).

“We all want to do our part to reduce materials sent to the landfill and methane production, and now we have a big opportunity by properly recycling our everyday food and green waste,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “Santa Monica residents and businesses have an impressive track record going above and beyond for the environment, and I anticipate this will be no different. As a community, we enthusiastically follow the state’s lead in reducing organic materials in landfills by 75% and edible food to landfills by 20% by 2025 along the way to becoming a zero waste community by 2030.”

Throughout the year, the City’s Resource Recovery and Recycling team conducted community outreach, including direct communication to the 1,500 or 10 percent of customers that do not have a green bin to provide the container at no extra charge in advance of the mandate. The team has met with dozens of businesses, multifamily buildings, community groups, and neighborhood organizations. Significant outreach and education on the three-bin system will continue into next year.

Account-holders who do not have a green bin and would like one at no extra charge, should contact or (310) 458-2223. Customers can contact the division for a discounted kitchen pail for organics collection. To stay informed, sign up for bi-weekly community updates at

The requirement takes effect on January 1, 2022 with enforcement to follow. There are limited waivers for the organics recycling mandate, including businesses and residents that collect a minimal amount of organics per week or if a customer’s building lacks adequate space for the required containers (subject to approval by the City).