Services & Information
Mandatory Law and Requirements
Mandatory Trash, Recycle, and Compost
Every business in Oakland must subscribe to sufficient trash, recycle and compost service to meet weekly generation per Oakland Municipal Code 8.28.140. All material discarded by each business must be correctly sorted into the trash, recycle, or compost container. Discards must fit inside the collection containers with the lids closed.
Effective January 1, 2022, all California businesses, multifamily complexes and residences will be required to sort food scraps from trash and recycling and subscribe to compost collection service per State law SB 1383. SB 1383‘s intent is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change by diverting additional material away from landfills.
Visit the Mandatory Laws and Rules page for more details on city, county and state requirements.
Recycle is Open Market
Recycle is mandatory for all commercial businesses. Non multifamily unit dwelling businesses may choose their recycle provider. Please choose an approved provider from the list below.
Mixed Service Buildings
If a Multi-Family property (apartment building) has mixed commercial space within the building the:
- The Multi-Family property must subscribe to residential services under minimum mandatory service requirements for trash, organics and per unit residential recycling service.
- Commercial businesses must subscribe to its separate recycling service.
Free Technical Assistance and Training
Want to achieve sustainable waste management and cut down your carbon footprint by reducing waste and recycling more? Set-up a phone consultation or visit with a recycling education representative.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 510-613-2102
Recycle Right and Avoid Surcharges
Surcharges may be applied when the wrong materials are found in compost or recycle carts or bins. Account owners will be notified after each incident.
Only place acceptable items in the recycling and composting containers as shown on the container labels. Accounts can be cited for contamination and non-compliance by the city or the county, and the service provider may refuse to collect containers with the wrong material inside, and contamination surcharges may apply.
1 – 4 Incidents = a warning letter.
Over 5 Incidents in a 12 month period = discontinuation of service.
If service is discontinued, your business may not comply with the ACWMA mandatory recycling ordinance.
Avoid Overage Charges
Materials must fit inside your cart or bin with the lid closed for regular service.
Eliminate excess materials by:
- Having large enough carts/bins or pickups to manage all the waste you generate.
- Making sure the containers work properly – call for repair if needed.
- Ensuring waste is spread evenly in your bin.
- Setting out bins just ahead of pickup when possible.
- Sort your recycle, compost, and trash correctly.
If you regularly have excess materials, call WM Customer Service at (510) 613-8700 to help you right-size your service.
Trash / Compost Bin Overage Charge = $149.26 Per Yard
Service Level Changes
To order additional compost or recycle containers, or to change trash service level, contact your service providers:
- Trash & Compost: Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. 510-613-8710
- Recycle: Contact your service provider
Restaurants: Accepted Food Service Ware
Summary of the City of Oakland’s or State of California food service ware requirements:
- Accessories upon request (including in-person take-out as well as app based food delivery)
- BPI certified compostable fiber will be the only compliant acceptable single-use food service ware items (except paper or aluminum wrappers)
- Item must be accepted by compost and recycling franchised haulers
- Must be free of PFAS and any other known toxins
- Vendors may allow patrons to bring reusables and they have the choice to fill or not based on the cleanliness and completeness of the patron container
The goal is to move toward all reusables not just to replace plastics with compostables – so start looking for reusable options.
The StopWaste ReThink Disposable team is available to meet with you on-site to assess your current use of disposable food service ware, discuss reusable alternatives and recommend waste-reducing practices.
Reusable food ware providers & TA & Tools:
- StopWaste list of reusable foodware vendors
- StopWaste guide to purchasing compostable food service ware
- Disptach Goods – Dispatch Goods ~ Sustainability Delivered.
- Sparkl Reusables – Sparkl Reusables * (sparklsfbay.com)
- Vessel Works – VESSEL (vesselworks.org)
- Muuse – Muuse
- ClubZero – CLUBZERO | Join the heros of zero
- Dish Joy – Dishjoy – Clean Dishes Delivered Daily | Dishjoy
- Rcup – Home – r.Cup (rcup.com)
- ReThink Disposable – Home | ReThink Disposable
- Plate Scrape – Introducing PLATESCRAPE
Single-use food service ware options:
- CEH database of tested foodware with scores: CEH Single-Use Foodware Public Database 6-23-2021 – Google Sheets
- Additional database of acceptable single-use food service ware: Airtable – Grid view
- BPI search for certified products – Biodegradable Products Institute – Certified Compostable (bpiworld.org)
- CMA (alternative 3rd party certification) – CMA-I List | Commercially Accepted Items | Compost Manufacturing Alliance – Compost Manufacturing Alliance
Common contaminants and solutions
It is often impossible to tell the difference between a clear plastic cup and a clear plastic compostable cup. Therefore, compostable plastics can easily end up in the trash and regular plastics can easily end up in the compost. Plastics and compostables plastics are both unwanted feedstocks for nutrient rich compost. In CA, through State SB-1383, jurisdictions will be required to purchase and apply compost to any available land they have in an effort to sequester carbon. So, that compost needs to be free of plastics and should be as nutrient rich as possible to have the most environmental benefit.
In an effort to reduce consumer confusion about compostable plastics and to reduce contamination in both the compost and recycling streams, the City will mandate the use of BPI certified compostable fiber (not plastic) as the only acceptable single-use food service ware items. This is only a bridge to require mandatory reusables once more vendors become available and able to compete in the market.
Furthermore, when food is left inside plastic clamshell to go containers the containers are nearly impossible to recycle and if that material goes to the landfill, it is not only a lost opportunity to recycle the plastic container but, it causes added environmental harm because food that breaks down in the landfill causes harmful greenhouse gas emissions from methane. By phasing out all plastic containers we can avoid this problem completely because consumers do not need to remove food from BPI certified compostable fiber containers before throwing them in the compost.
Sign Up for Service
For trash and compost service call Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc., 510-613-8710.
For Recycling service, contact the service provider of your choice directly.