New State Requirements for Organic Waste

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1383, establishing methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) in various sectors of California’s economy. SB 1383 establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.

Methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to global climate change. Organic materials–including waste that can be readily prevented, recycled, or composted–account for a significant portion of California’s overall waste stream. Increasing food waste prevention, encouraging edible food rescue, and expanding the composting and in-vessel digestion of organic waste throughout the state will help reduce methane emissions from organic waste disposed of in California’s landfills.

As mandated by SB 1383, the City of Torrance adopted an ordinance to enforce the provisions in the law on residents and businesses to comply with the state’s climate goals and the 75% organic waste diversion goal. The City adopted this ordinance on March 15, 2022, see here for approved ordinance.

Who Does This Affect?

  • Single-family homes/Condos/Townhomes
  • Multi-Family Properties with 5+ or more
  • Commercial Businesses*
  • Public/Private Schools


Waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if you can demonstrate that your business generates less than 20 gallons of organic waste per week (“De Minimis” waiver). Please reach out to your waste hauler to start the process and they will submit a waiver request form to the City on your behalf. Once approved, the waiver will be valid for five (5) years. Please note, de minimis waivers will not be approved for multifamily properties. 

How to Participate

Single-family Residents

 Effective January 1, 2023, the City of Torrance began providing collection services of organic waste to all single-family and multi-family residential customers serviced by the City. Organic waste includes food scraps, yard waste, and food-soiled paper. To participate, simply place your kitchen food scraps in the green container. Here some tips to keep your organics container clean and fresh:

  • To collect your kitchen food scraps, consider using a portable, reusable pail-like container with a  tight-fitting lids. Pail options can be purchased at a retail store or online, or you can choose to reuse what you have available, such as a coffee canister or juice pitcher.
  • Sprinkle the bottom of the pail lightly with baking soda to absorb odors.
  • Consider lining your organics cart with a layer of green waste before placing your food waste inside.
  • Keep your food scraps in the fridge or freezer and empty it directly into the organics carts on your service day to minimize odors.
  • Line your organics container with a piece of paper (newspaper, paper grocery bag, etc.) or paper napkin to absorb any liquids or food waste.

What Goes Where – Residential Collection Program

Business and Multifamily 

  1. Subscribe to a collection service from your private waste hauler that is adequate in size and frequency for ALL organic and recycling waste
  2. Provide accessible containers for Organic and Recycling Waste
  3. Sort Waste Materials: Require employees to place organics waste only in organics containers
  4. Provide yearly information employees, contractors, customers, and tenants about proper sorting of organic waste
  5. Periodically inspect organics waste containers for contamination
  6. Start an Edible Food Recovery Program (applies to large food generating businesses only)

Edible Food Generator Requirements

In addition to the requirements stated above, Edible Food Generators (considered Tier 1 and Tier 2) must:

  1. Establish food donations with a food recovery organization or service. Local organizations are available to accept food donations. 
  2. Donate all edible food that is fit for human consumption. No edible food may be discarded in the the trash and/or organics bin.
  3. Keep all necessary records onsite to demonstrate compliance with SB 1383. Click here for Recordkeeping Requirements checklist.

Edible food generators


You can contact your current refuse and/or recycling hauler for a waste assessment or other assistance, or select from any of the licensed haulers operating in Torrance.

Or contact Public Works with additional questions at 310-781-6900 or email [email protected].