Will I be fined for not recycling my food waste in Sacramento?

Not recycling your organic waste will cost you dearly in Sacramento, but when? And by how much?

The Sacramento Bee Utility Team has received many questions about the waste mandate — primarily after the state organic waste mandate took effect earlier this year. And as the start date for Sacramento’s residential program approached, the conversation shifted from “how do I comply?” to “what happens if I don’t?”

Last week, a Bee reader’s curiosities about the consequences of not recycling inspired The Bee to look at how the mandate will be enforced.

A city spokesperson responded to The Bee’s question on Thursday about how much the city will fine residents who don’t comply with the new food waste mandate, detailing the dollar amount of the fines. Here’s what you need to know:

How much will I be fined for not sorting my food waste?

Not recycling your organic waste could cost you up to $500, depending on the city.

In an email to The Bee, Jesa David, spokeswoman for Sacramento’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division, said city residents would be fined up to $100 for the first offence, up to $200 for the second and up to $500 for the third.

But the fines won’t begin until 2024. Until then, the city will focus on educating its residents about the ins and outs of properly separating their organic waste.

After January 2024, the focus will shift from education to “progressive enforcement,” according to CalRecycle. Even then, a violator has plenty of time to comply and dodge a fine.

When a jurisdiction identifies a violation, it must issue a notice of violation within 60 days, according to CalRecyle. If the violator has not complied within 150 days of the issuance of the violation, penalties begin. With this rule, the offender is in violation for 210 days before a fine is imposed.

How much will the new mandate on food waste cost me?

Sacramento’s new organic waste mandate not only comes with new food rules, but also new city litter rates for its inhabitants. The Sacramento City Council approved a fee increase earlier this year for yard waste pickup, to comply with state law.

Starting in May, owners will pay $14.32 per month. On January 1, 2023, the monthly bill will increase to $16.75. On January 1, 2024, the monthly bill will increase to $19.18.

Residents who do not currently receive yard waste collection from the city should expect a monthly fee of $10.02 starting in July, according to the city. Next year, the monthly bill will increase to $11.73. And in 2024, the monthly bill will increase to $13.43.

City residents in apartment buildings of five or more units should contact their property manager about possible bill increases.

How do I comply with Sacramento’s Organic Waste Program?

According to city ​​of sacramento. The start date for residents living in single-family homes and duplexes through fourplexes is July 1.

The county’s organic program is similar to the city’s, except for a few details.

Beginning in July, residents living in the unincorporated portion of Sacramento County who receive curbside green waste service will be required to dispose of their organic food and green waste in green waste carts (or trash carts organics) for weekly pickup, depending on the county. page on waste management and recycling.

What’s going on in my organics bin?

Before disposing of any organic waste in the trash, remove stickers, twist ties and rubber bands from the product.

Here’s what should be recycled as organic food and green waste, according to the county’s website, the change is the same for the city:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Dairy
  • Meat (including bones)
  • shells
  • coffee grounds
  • Paper coffee filters
  • tea bags
  • Food-soiled paper: paper towels and napkins, paper plates, greasy pizza boxes, paper lunch bags
  • Food leftovers: moldy food, leftovers, rotten food
  • Green waste: branches, grass, leaves, prunings, prunings

Here’s what shouldn’t go in the trash, according to the website:

  • plastic bags
  • polystyrene
  • Take-out containers
  • Utensils
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Liquids
  • animal waste
  • water pipes

Pet waste should not be placed in your organic waste bin. The city is strongly suggesting that people continue to put their pet waste and kitty litter in the trash.

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our California Utility team your priority questions in the module below or email utilityteam@sacbee.com.

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Brianna Taylor is a service desk reporter for The Sacramento Bee. A former Bee intern, Brianna has also reported from Missouri and Maryland. She graduated from Morgan State University.