San Clemente City Council unanimously voted to introduce an ordinance that will require subscriptions to organic waste collection services and have local food producers contribute to food recovery efforts. The city was required to introduce the ordinance, amending its municipal code related to solid waste management, following the 2016 enactment of Senate Bill 1383—the state law that directed the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to create regulations to reduce organic waste statewide and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the ordinance, which is meant to locally enforce SB 1383 regulations, all residents and businesses within San Clemente must subscribe to organic waste collection services provided by CR&R Inc., and to sort out organic waste, such as food scraps, placing them in new green containers. The ordinance, which will take effect 30 days after the council formally adopts it—likely at its next meeting—also stipulates that commercial food generators contract with food recovery organizations and services for the donation of recoverable food, to not intentionally spoil food leftovers, grant access to their premises for inspections, and keep records of compliance.
Tier 1 generators, such as supermarkets and grocery stores, will be required to immediately comply, while the obligations will not begin for Tier 2 generators, including hotels and restaurants with a capacity of more than 250 people, until Jan. 1, 2024. Part of the ordinance also establishes fines for those who violate the ordinance. Starting on May 1, 2023, first-time violators will be fined $50, while a $75 fine will be issued to those committing their second offense. A $100 fine will be issued on a third offense, and subsequent actions will be enforced.