Organic Waste Recycling


Recycling organic waste is California’s ambitious new effort to combat climate change. Residents and businesses are now required by law to separate food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials from the rest of their garbage.

For decades, organic waste has been dumped in landfills, where it releases harmful methane gas as it decomposes. This gas traps heat in the atmosphere, exacerbating already rising temperatures and undermining California’s actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

According to CalRecycle, reducing organic waste in landfills will have the fastest impact on the climate crisis. By 2025, the state aims to reduce organic waste by 75 percent and rescue at least 20 percent of edible food that is thrown out.

Yet in Fall 2020, CalRecycle reported that the state does not have the organics recycling infrastructure necessary to fully support compliance with the new law.  

The Little Hoover Commission’s upcoming study on this issue will assess how California’s organics recycling law is implemented, examine what impact it has on the state’s environmental goals, and provide recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for any changes.

If you would like more information about this study, please contact Ethan Rarick at To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission updates:

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Written testimony from hearing witnesses can be found in the corresponding event agenda.