Waste Management and Organics Recycling
Solid Waste, Recyclable Materials and Organic Waste
Mill Valley Refuse Service (MVRS) is the approved solid waste, recyclable material and organic waste hauler for the City of Mill Valley.
Information from Mill Valley Refuse Service on how they are helping residents and business comply with SB 1383 can be found here (LINK).
Senate Bill (SB) 1383
New statewide organic waste regulations (SB 1383) became effective January 1, 2022 in California. SB 1383 regulations are being implemented in the City of Mill Valley under the Organics Reduction & Recycling Ordinance, currently in effect. The ordinance requirements will be implemented through a partnership between the City, Mill Valley Refuse Service and the County. You can find the full Ordinance here(PDF).
The ordinance requires residents (including Single family and Multi-family residents) and businesses to recycle their organic waste – things like all food scraps (vegetables, meat, bones, dairy, grains, and coffee grounds), food-soiled paper products (paper towels, pizza boxes, egg cartons, coffee filters, and tea bags), and yard waste in their compost container and unsoiled paper, and cardboard in their recycling container. Materials that Mill Valley Refuse Service collects as recyclables and organic waste must be placed in those containers and not in the garbage container.
Why is this important:
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, is emitted into the atmosphere when compostable materials like food, paper, and yard waste are buried in landfills instead of composted or recycled. Organic materials in landfills emit 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant, 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Everyone can do their part to reduce these harmful emissions by properly participating in the required 3 bin collection service.
Residents in Mill Valley are already provided with curbside recycling and organics collection containers. If you don't have the service or containers, contact Mill Valley Refuse Service, or if you live in a multifamily building with five or more units, contact your property manager.
Residents (single family and multi-family 2-4 units) are required to place organics (yard waste, food waste and food soiled paper) in their organics container and paper and cardboard in their recycling container. Organic waste and recyclable materials should not be placed in the garbage container. For a list of what goes where, visit the MVRS website here (LINK).
Commercial Businesses are required to:
- Subscribe to the 3 container collection service for garbage, organics and recyclable materials provided by MVRS or self-haul (see self hauler requirements below)
- Place color-coded and labeled compost and recycling containers next to all indoor garbage containers (excluding restrooms)
- Sort materials into the proper bins
- Compost container: Food scraps, compostable paper, and plant waste
- Recycling: Cardboard, paper, bottles, and cans
- Do not place garbage into the compost or recycling bins
- Educate employees, contractors, and tenants about the law at least annually
- Commercial properties: Periodically inspect bins and provide feedback to employees and contractors about incorrectly placed items
Methods for Food Waste Prevention
There are still things that we all can do as individuals or businesses to help make a difference – such as preventing food waste or taking steps to keep food waste and other organic materials out of our landfills. Find tips for more purposeful shopping and cooking, and good food storage techniques here (LINK). Composting at home is also a great option.
Environmental Benefits of Composting
Reduce Methane Emissions
- Landfills are a major source of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which is generated when organics decompose in landfills.
- Composting organics greatly reduces the amount of methane that would have been generated from landfilling organics.
- The use of compost also has numerous environmental benefits, including carbon storage, water conservation, and contributes to the reduced use of energy-intensive pesticides and fertilizers.
Edible food is defined as food that is safe for human consumption. SB 1383 includes goals to get more edible food that would have otherwise been landfilled, to humans for consumption.
SB 1383 regulates two “tiers” of commercial businesses that generate edible food. Beginning January 1, 2022, Tier 1 generators must arrange for recovery of surplus edible food by establishing a contract or written agreement with a food recovery organization(s) or service. Beginning January 1, 2024, Tier 2 generators will be required to do the same.
Tier 1 Commercial Edible Food Generators
- Grocery stores with a total facility size equal to or greater than 10,000 square feet;
- Food service providers;
- Food distributors; and
- Wholesale food vendors.
Tier 2 Commercial Edible Food Generators
- Restaurants with 250 or more seats, or a total facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet;
- Hotels with an on‐site food facility and 200 or more rooms;
- Health facilities with an on‐site food facility and 100 or more beds;
- Large venues;
- Large events;
- State agencies with a cafeteria with 250 or more seats or total cafeteria facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet; and
- Local education agency facilities with an on‐site food facility.
For more information including model contracts, please visit: Calrecycle FoodRecovery
Commercial Edible Food Generator Requirements
- Recover the maximum amount possible of surplus edible food generated
- Partner with one or more food recovery organizations or services to pick up or receive surplus edible food
- Have a written contract or agreement with the food recovery organization(s) or service(s). Visit the CalRecycle website (LINK) to read their Model Food Recovery Agreement to use as a reference when creating your own agreement.
- Safely recover edible food in accordance with the California Retail Food Code
- Track and maintain records of food recovered each month including type, frequency of collection and amounts in pounds
- Allow the Enforcement Agency to review records upon request
Commercial businesses that fit one of the two tiers above, or other commercial businesses that want to donate edible food, should contact the following organizations to arrange for food recovery:
- SF/Marin Food Bank: Suitable for large volume donations. Call 415-282-1900 ext. 239 to get started.
- Extra Food: Suitable for smaller donations and prepared foods. Call 415-997-9830 to get started.
Self-Hauling Organic Waste
Businesses may choose to self-haul organic waste using personal or company vehicle(s) and employee(s). Businesses choosing to self-haul organic waste must keep receipts or weight tickets from the processing facility and proof that the material is being recovered. These records must be made available upon Town request.