SB 613: De Luz CSD v Cal Recycle


SB-613 clarifies an oversight in existing law that small local jurisdictions like special districts are exempt from organic waste recycling requirements as long as they meet certain requirements. 


SB 1383 was signed into law in 2016, requiring CalRecyle to implement an organic waste disposal plan with certain regulations. The implementation regulations were specified to be “cost effective and technologically feasible.” In implementing regulations, CalRecycle created a low population waiver from the organic waste collection program for entities that met certain conditions. 

CalRecyle determined in its regulations that local entities could apply to be exempt if they disposed of less than 5,000 tons of waste in 2014 or had fewer than 7,500 population. These determinations were made off the justification that such small local entities would inherently bear a “disproportionate economic cost for compliance without significantly impacting the state’s ability to meet statutory organic waste recovery goals” (Statement of Purpose and Necessity for Regulations, P. 109-110: Section 18984.12.). While the initially proposed regulations appeared to protect small local entities from being swept up in CalRecycle’s organic waste recycling goals the final regulations specifically impacted small localities with little justification and little to no impact on the state’s goals.

While implementing the waivers in 2021, CalRecycle arbitrarily decided to require that entities must have previously reported their waste totals in 2014 using CalRecycle’s own Disposal Reporting System (DRS). However, in 2014 only cities and counties were required to report to DRS. In considering the population calculation, CalRecycle chose to use Federal census tracts to calculate which are created irrespective of the actual service area of waste disposal in special districts. As a result of these regulations De Luz Community Services District (DLCSD) a special district of only 2,000 people with which disposed of only 1,350 tons of waste in 2014 has been caught up CalRecycle’s organic waste recycling requirements and threatened with penalties for non-compliance. 


SB-613 renews the spirit of SB 1383 which required CalReycle’s regulations to be cost effective and technologically feasible. Regulatory waivers should exempt special districts like DLCSD who would suffer disproportionately without significantly impacting the state’s actual goals for waste recovery. 

Click here to read the bill language