New Mandatory Business Recycling Ordinance Takes Effect January 1

Pleasanton businesses and multi-family properties with five or more units will be called upon to take their green game to a new level starting January 1, when Phase 2 of Alameda County's Mandatory Recycling Ordinance takes effect. Pleasanton will join 11 other area cities in requiring adequate on-site collection service for recycling and organics such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plant debris. Recycling requirements for businesses with 4 or more cubic yards of weekly garbage service and multi-family properties have been in effect since March 2013.

The goal, according to the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, is to ensure that less than 10 percent of the waste sent to landfills by 2020 is easily recyclable or compostable material.

As part of the law, three new requirements will be made of Pleasanton businesses with less than 4 cubic yards of weekly garbage service. Property owners and managers must:

  • Provide containers and collection service for recyclable materials at the same or equally convenient locations as garbage containers;

  • Recycle all cardboard, newspaper, white paper, mixed recyclable paper, recyclable glass food and beverage containers, metal (aluminum and steel) food and beverage containers, and plastic bottles bearing the PET (#1) and HDPE (#2) labels; and

  • Provide information at least annually to employees and contractors describing how to properly use the recycling containers.

In addition, all businesses which generate significant quantities of specific types of compostable organic materials - think plant debris, food scraps, and food-soiled paper such as used donut or pizza boxes, as well as used paper towels, napkins, or waxed corrugated produce boxes - must take additional steps. Specifically, these businesses must provide containers and collection service for compostable materials and ensure employees, tenants, and contractors place those materials in the proper containers.

While the Ordinance prohibits the disposal of any food scraps or food-soiled paper in the garbage, currently only businesses and institutions that generate significant quantities of organics are required to have separate collection service. The guidelines state that organics are considered significant when they meet or exceed a total of 20 gallons of organics in a garbage bin or 10 gallons in a garbage cart. The Waste Management Authority suggests checking your garbage bins or carts the day before collection day to determine if you exceed the threshold.

Even smaller green-minded businesses can take part. "All businesses - even if not required because they generate less than the ordinance thresholds - may subscribe to separate organics collection service to help reduce disposal of organics to landfill," says Michelle Fay of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, a public agency responsible for reducing the waste stream in Alameda County. "In fact, about two dozen businesses in Pleasanton have been subscribed to organics service for some time now simply because it was the right thing to do, including Oracle's Hacienda campus. Their exemplary program received the 2016 StopWaste Business Efficiency Award for their recycling and composting program."

Under the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance, owners and managers of businesses and multi-family properties must complete the steps to comply with the new requirements by January 1, 2017. Fines for non-compliance with the new requirements (ranging from $100-150 per first violation) will be issued starting in July, 2017. Notifications will be sent to the property owner before a fine is issued.

There are a number of resources, available both online and in person, that businesses can access to help them get started with the new programs.

To request recycling or organics collection service, contact Pleasanton Garbage Service at (925) 846-2042 or through their web site at Free waste assessments are provided by Alameda County Waste Management Authority's Business Assistance representatives and can be requested by filling out the form at

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority is offering up to $500 worth of free green containers and lids for the indoor areas of your business or multi-family property in order to make separating food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plant debris easier. Over 25 different types of indoor organics containers and lids are available from three partner vendors. For additional information or to apply, visit

The Authority's Recycling Rules web site provides other resources as well. For details about the requirements and an overview of the services and support materials available, visit, or call (510) 891-6575 to leave a message. Free stickers to place on your indoor recycling, organics, or garbage containers to help with proper sorting are available, too. Just complete the online sticker request form at

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