Business Recycling: It's Mandatory

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Mandatory Commercial Recycling

California State Assembly Bill 341 (AB341) made commercial recycling mandatory in 2012. Any business that generates four cubic yards or more of solid waste per week (1 large dumpster) must recycle. The law also requires multi-family complexes of 5 units or more to have recycling collection for residents.


According to the State, the commercial sector generates half of the solid waste in California, and nearly three quarters of that is recoverable or recyclable*. Mandatory Commercial Recycling aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by diverting those recyclable materials from landfill disposal.

Recyclable materials can reduce GHG emissions by bypassing GHG-generating steps in the production process, including extraction of raw materials, preprocessing and manufacturing. Increased recycling also reduces methane emissions at landfills from the decomposition of organic materials.

As noted on the CalRecycle website, benefits of recycling include:
• Opportunities for businesses or multifamily complexes to save money.
• Creating jobs in California by providing materials for recycling manufacturing facilities.
• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Keeping valuable materials out of landfills.
• Creating a healthy environment for the community and future generations by recovering natural resources.

In addition, beginning in 2016, Organics (i.e., food and yard waste) Recycling became mandatory for businesses generating a certain threshold amount of waste. Please visit our Mandatory Organics Recycling page for more information and to find out if your business must comply with this new State law.

*Source: CalRecycle 2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California

Who Does the Law Apply To?

Any business that generates four cubic yards or more of commercial waste per week (i.e., one large dumpster) is required to recycle. Businesses include firms, partnerships, corporations, non-profit entities, strip malls (property complexes containing two or more commercial entities), industrial facilities, schools, colleges, universities and government facilities.

The threshold for compliance is determined by solid waste service capacity, and does not take into account whether or not the dumpster is actually filled on a weekly basis. Businesses sharing trash service that meet this threshold must recycle even if they individually do not generate 4 cubic yards of waste.

Additionally, all multi-family complexes with five or more units are required to recycle – regardless of how much solid waste they generate. Visit our Multi-Family Recycling page for more information and resources for apartment managers.

Click here to view CalRecycle's brochure outlining Mandatory Commercial Recycling Regulatory Requirements.

How To Comply

In Thousand Oaks, a business can comply by separating their recyclable materials from trash and doing one or more ofAthens recycle bin - removed background the following:

  • Subscribe to recycling service through the City’s Exclusive Franchise commercial waste service provider - Athens Services.
  • To initiate recycling collection service, contact Athens Services at (805) 852-5264.

  • Self-haul recyclable materials to a recycling facility.
  • In some cases, businesses with high volumes of high-value materials can arrange for free pick-up with a City of Thousand Oaks Permitted Commercial Recycler. Visit our Permitted Commercial Recycler page for a list of authorized recyclers and the materials they collect. If businesses do not have sufficient volume for free pick-up service, then they should contact Athens Services to arrange for recycling services.

Recycling Assistance

If you need assistance with starting or improving your business recycling program, the City can help. The Public Works Department and Athens Services offer free waste assessments to evaluate current service and advise businesses on how to start or improve their recycling program. These on-site assessments can also trouble shoot space limitations and other obstacles to recycling.

To schedule an appointment, contact Public Works at or (805) 449-7283 or Athens Services at (805) 852-5264.

Visit our Getting Started With Business Recycling page for more tips on getting started at your business.

Free deskside recycling boxes available to Thousand Oaks businesses

These cardboard containers are great for collecting clean recyclables (office paper, empty bottles/cans, plastic containers, etc.) in an office environment. Approximate dimensions: 15" wide x 10" high x 9" deep. Limit 20 boxes per business. Available to Thousand Oaks locations only. While supplies last!

Click Here to Order

Compliance and Monitoring

State law also requires that Cities monitor compliance and educate those that are not recycling about the law. State officials audit records annually to determine which businesses are not in compliance.

The City works with Athens Services to document businesses that exhibit compliance by subscribing to commercial recycling service. Businesses that self-haul recyclables or have other recycling programs (like free pick-up through a Permitted Recycler or donation of recyclable materials) can show that they are in compliance by submitting a Commercial Recycling Compliance Form to the City.

This brief online form lets businesses self-report details of their recycling program to ensure that they get credit for complying with the State's Mandatory Commercial Recycling Law. Click the button below to get started, or click here to download a printable version.

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