SB 1383: Short-lived Climate Pollutants

In 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1383 into California law, establishing statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals:

  1. By 2020, reduce the amount of organic material disposed in landfi­lls by 50% from the 2014 level, and
  2. By 2025, reduce the amount of organic material disposed in land­fills by 75% from the 2014 level.
  3. By 2025, no less than 20% of edible food currently disposed must also be recovered for human consumption.

This law expands upon the requirements of AB 341: Mandatory Commercial Recycling and AB 1826: Mandatory Commercial Organics. However, SB 1383 is unique in that it impacts residents in addition to businesses, and it requires some businesses to donate excess edible food to feed people in addition to diverting organic materials from the garbage. As the most aggressive waste reduction law to be adopted in California for the past 30 years, SB 1383 includes significant penalties for non-compliance.

Click here for a copy of the regulations

Examples of organic materials that should be composted

Organic materials, sometimes called organics or organic waste, mean solid wastes containing material originated from living organisms and their metabolic waste products. Some examples include:

  • Food and food scraps such as fruit, vegetables, meat, bones, shells, dairy, and leftovers
  • Plant material such as grass, flowers, leaves, branches, and wood
  • Food-soiled paper such as paper towels, napkins, and delivery pizza boxes

Organic materials should be separated from the garbage and placed in a green bin that is serviced by a franchised hauling company. Alternatively, you may choose to self-haul to a permitted facility. All organic materials collected in Sonoma County are composted.

The EPA's Wasted Food Scale prioritizes actions that prevent and divert wasted food from disposal.

Free educational resources available

Contact us or your hauling company to request indoor containers, posters, labels, and stickers at no extra cost. Staff are available to provide training or host workshops for your employees or tenants, to teach them how to properly sort their waste and prevent contamination.

Commercial Entities Required to Donate Excess Food

Tier One Commercial Entities are required to comply with excess food donation requirements starting Jan 1, 2022 while Tier Two Commercial Entities are required to comply starting Jan 1, 2024.

Tier One

Tier Two

SupermarketsRestaurants with 250 or more seats, or a total facility size ≥ 5,000 sq. ft.
Grocery storesHotels with an on-site food facility and ≥ 200 rooms
Food service providers (contracted only)Health facilities with an on-site food facility and ≥ 100 beds
Food distributorsLarge venues that annually seat or serve an average of ≥ 2,000 individuals per day of operation
Wholesale food vendorsLarge events that serves an average of ≥ 2,000 individuals per day of operation
State agencies with a cafeteria with ≥ 250 seats, or a total cafeteria facility size ≥ 5,000 sq. ft.
Local education agencies with an on-site food facility

  • A contract or written agreement must be maintained with food recovery service(s) or organization(s) to pick up or receive edible food.
  • A record must also be kept indicating the types of food being donated, pounds donated per month, frequency of donations, and the contact information of the contracted food recovery service(s) and/ or organization(s).
  • Generators shall not intentionally spoil food that can be recovered.
  • Large venues or large event operators that do not provide food services, but allow for food to be provided, shall require food facilities operating on site to comply with the above organics diversion and food recovery requirements.

Foods that can be donated

Only donate quality foods that are still good to eat, and that you would give a neighbor or close friend. Unusual shapes or sizes are okay, but no rotten or half-eaten foods. Foods that are past the "best by" date may be okay, but please make sure the food is still safe to eat before donating by following safe food handling practices (below).

  • Whole produce such as apples, lemons, carrots, oranges, broccoli, etc.
  • Cut or prepared produce and foods such as celery sticks, cubed watermelon, cheese slices, salads, and sandwiches that are still in their original and unopened packaging
  • Milk, juice, tea, and other nutritional beverages that are still in their original and unopened packaging
  • Hot foods that have not yet been served, such as a full tray of pasta that was extra from a catering event or buffet
  • Day-old bread without any mold
  • Non-perishable foods that are shelf-stable and do not require refrigeration such as peanut butter, dry beans/pasta/grains, cans, crackers, sugar, and cereals that are still in their original and unopened packaging

Foods that should not be donated

Do not donate foods that are rotten, half-eaten, or have their packaging opened or damaged. Please limit donation of foods that are low in nutrition.

  • Leftovers such as a half eaten tray of noodles or sandwich
  • Rotting produce
  • Foods with opened or damaged packaging
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Candy, chips, chocolate, pastries, pork rinds etc.

Safe Food Handling

When donating food, please make sure to follow safe food handling practices.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Keep cold foods below 41 F
  • Keep hot foods above 135 F
  • Minimize hand to food contact
  • Don't handle food for others if you are ill
  • Don't smoke, eat, or drink while handling food for others
  • Wear clean clothing
  • Keep food covered to minimize contamination from insects
  • Sanitize surfaces and utensils
  • Wear hair restraints

Please refer to the Sonoma County Environmental Health Department for more information and resources.


Zero Waste Sonoma has compiled a list of local Food Recovery Organizations and Services that provide edible food recovery in Sonoma County. Please note that if you are a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Edible Food Generator, you need to have a written agreement with a Food Recovery Organization or Service in order to comply with SB 1383.

Download list of Food Recovery Organizations here


Businesses, schools, and other organizations with excess or surplus food are encouraged to donate food and feed people who may be food insecure. Zero Waste Sonoma (ZWS) and Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) are pleased to offer free food pick-up services through grants with CalRecycle and CalVolunteers. Please contact Kristen Sales and Kyle LaRue for more info and to sign up.

In addition, ZWS has purchased a license with Careit for a food donation software, which helps connect food donors with food recipient/distribution organizations. The software makes it easy for restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and other food donors to post surplus food, and nearby non-profit organizations are notified of the food available for pick up. Sign up to donate or receive food at

Model Food Recovery and Donation Agreement

The state agency CalRecycle developed a Model Food Recovery and Donation Agreement, which may help define the services and expectations between commercial Tier I and II food donors and food recipient/distribution organizations.

Download Model Agreement

Liability Protections for Food Donation

Federal and state civil and criminal liability protections are in place for both food donors and nonprofit organizations who receive or distribute food donations to those in need.

1. California Good Samaritan Act (AB 1219 2017)

  • Food can be donated to an individual or gleaning organization
  • Food donors are protected from liability for both perishable and nonperishable food that is fit for human consumption but has exceeded the labeled shelf life date if the donor makes a good faith evaluation that the donated food is still wholesome
  • Authorizes permitted food donors to engage in direct donation

2. California Code Section 114433

  • Food donors are protected from civil or criminal liability if labeling or packaging is altered after the time of donation

3. Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (1996)

  • Food must be donated to a nonprofit.
  • Food must meet all federal, state, and local quality and labeling requirements; if it does not, the food must be reconditioned to meet all requirements.
  • The receiving nonprofit organization must distribute it to needy individuals.
  • Needy individuals receiving the food may not pay for it, however, if one nonprofit donates food to another nonprofit for distribution, the Act allows the first nonprofit to charge the distributing nonprofit a nominal fee to cover handling and processing costs.

Product Labeling Dates

Food date labels are an attempt to indicate quality of food, but not safety. In fact, the only federal regulation for date labeling of products is for infant formula. Most food products are still safe to eat past the date labeled on the product.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
  • A "Best by" or "Best if Used By" date is recommended for best flavor or quality.
  • A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

Credit: NRDC and the Ad Council

Waivers from the Requirements

Commercial businesses and entities may be waived from the organics collection and/or food recovery requirements of SB 1383 for the following reasons.

De Minimis

  • Total solid waste collection is more than 2 cubic yards per week, and the amount of organics generated is less than 20 gallons per week.
  • Total solid waste collection is less than 2 cubic yards per week, and the amount of organics generated is less than 10 gallons per week.

Space Constraints

There is not enough space on the premises to store dumpsters/carts/bins for all three waste streams (garbage, recycling, and organics). Photo evidence must be submitted to before the waiver will be approved.