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Legal Updates

This Earth Day, Let’s Talk Trash: Ensuring Your District Complies With SB 1383

Posted by Unknown | Apr 22, 2022

Earth Day is an annual celebration to demonstrate support for environmental protection and to raise awareness about environmental issues. Did you know that California schools and universities generate 500,000 tons of waste annually? Half of school waste is organic materials like paper, cardboard and uneaten cafeteria food. Schools can play an important role in addressing climate issues, and are required to prevent, reduce and recycle organic waste pursuant to SB 1383.

SB 1383 (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reduction)

Beginning January 1, 2022, schools and local education agencies (“LEAs”) are required to prevent, reduce the generation of, and recycle organic waste.LEAs include schools, central kitchens, district offices, and bus barns. Organic waste is any solid waste containing material originated from living organisms, including food, green material, landscape waste, carpets, lumber and paper products.

To comply with the requirements of SB 1383, generators of organic waste must:

  1. Subscribe to an organic waste collection service or self-haul organic waste.
  2. Provide containers for the collection of organic waste and non-organic recyclables in all areas where disposal containers are located, except restrooms.
  3. Conduct periodic inspections of containers for contamination and if contaminated, inform employees.
  4. Provide information to employees on methods for prevention of organic waste generation, including prohibiting employees from placing organic waste in a container not designated for organic waste.

However, LEAs are not required to provide internal collections container if a specific material type is not generated in a particular room. For example, if food is not eaten in the classroom, then there is no need for a food waste container in that classroom.

Since the hauler will typically provide the external collection containers, LEAs should focus on the containers located on their school site. Containers should have a body, lid or labels that conform with color requirements by the hauler/jurisdiction. New containers must be properly labeled (graphics or text) including what's permitted and what's prohibited. However, LEAs are not required to replace functional containers prior to end of usable life or January 1, 2036.

Waivers (issued by CalRecyle) are available for space constraints, low populations or if the waste generated is considered de miminus.

Additionally, starting January 1, 2024, schools and local education agencies with an on-site food facility will be required to recover edible food. We will address these requirements in more detail in a separate Legal Update.

It is also important to note that the requirements of SB 1383 to reduce organic waste and recover edible food may impact the duties and job responsibilities of district employees, particularly custodial and food service staff.

If you have any questions about the requirements of SB 1383, including potential impacts on employees, please contact our office. Parker & Covert LLP has offices are located in southern and northern California.  We invite you to visit our website at

This Parker & Covert LLP post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  Legal issues and principles apply differently, sometimes substantially, depending on context and facts.  Review or receipt of this post does not create an attorney-client relationship.


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Parker and Covert LLP, through its Northern and Southern California offices, provides comprehensive legal representation to school districts, community colleges, and other educational clients in communities throughout the state of California.