New 2020 Organic Recycling Rules for California

2020 is here, and that means new laws took effect on New Year’s Day. Starting January 1st, the State of California now requires more restaurants to recycle their organic waste. Restaurants producing 2 cubic yards of organic waste weekly will now need to recycle them. California’s limit used to be 4 cubic yards, so the new limit affects more businesses than ever.


Here at OkStraw Paper Straws, we think California’s push for more organic recycling is a necessary move. If we want to fight climate change and sustain food production, then we need organic recycling. So let’s unpack what changes the new law brings, and how it affects your business.

What Exactly is Organic Waste?

Some folks may not know what’s considered “organic waste”, so let’s clear up the confusion. Also called “green waste”, organic waste spans a list of different materials. Organic waste includes uneaten food (organic or non-organic), landscape trimmings like grass, leaves or branches, and compostable paper. 


Compostable paper includes food-soiled paper, and biodegradable paper. Since OkStraw Paper Straws are both compostable and biodegradable, they technically count as organic waste. Because restaurants deal in food, they’ll generate organic waste. Whether it’s an uneaten potato or lettuce stumps, this organic waste needs to be recycled. If your restaurant produces 2 or more cubic yards of organic waste every week, then you need to recycle.

Why Organic Recycling is so Important

So know what counts as organic waste, but why does California care so much about it? California cares because organic recycling helps fight climate change. Organic waste that decomposes in the landfill produces large amounts of methane. Methane is far more aggressive than CO2, so we don’t want large emissions. 

Organic recycling helps capture these methane emissions, and lowers greenhouse gasses. As we at OkStraw Paper Straws know the threat climate change poses to everyone, we think organic recycling is a mandatory step to take.


The other reason why organic recycling is so important is that: recycling. Soil from organic waste is rich in nutrients, which helps farmers grow crops more efficiently. Organic waste is an agricultural goldmine, so why let it rot away in a landfill? Seems like wasted money and potential, right? We think so, which is why we at OkStraw ensured that our paper straws are organically recyclable.

California’s Organic Recycling Goals

This organic recycling law wasn’t the first one the California state legislature passed. In 2014, Governor Brown signed a bill into law, requiring a 50% reduction in organic disposal in 5 years. Five years later, however, California didn’t meet its recycling goal. By mandating organic recycling for more restaurants, California is serious about finally hitting this target.


With more restaurants falling under the new organic recycling law, California is on its way to finally meeting this goal. California allows some exemptions, however. These include places without local organic recyclers, and restaurants without the space for organic recycling containers. Eventually, we at OkStraw Paper Straws want to see ALL organic waste in California get recycled. 


Are Paper Straws Organically Recyclable?

Given this news about changes to California’s organic recycling law, we started thinking. “Are OkStraw paper straws organically recyclable?”. Well looking back, California considers compostable paper with food stains organically recyclable. OkStraw Paper Straws are certainly compostable, and they absorb whatever drink they were in. So it’s safe to say that YES, OkStraw paper straws can go in the organic recycling. 


Not all paper straws are organically recyclable, though. Some paper straws have wax or even plastic linings, so they can’t be organically recycled. Whereas OkStraw organic paper straws have none of these strengtheners added. We only sustainably sourced paper, vegan-safe glues and food safe mineral oils in our paper straws. 


Available in countless sizes, custom prints and in 3 or 4 ply, there’s an OkStraw paper straw for every California restaurant. From ADA-compliant paper bendy straws to bubble tea paper straws, we have them all. So to California restaurants out there, get 2020 in full swing, and join the Cause for Organic Recyclable Paper Straws!

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