Organic Recycling Mandate in Effect in Beverly Hills

It’s time for Beverly Hills residents to pay attention to their pizza boxes, leftover lunches and perishing produce. These items no longer belong in the trash can but must be placed in green bins under the city’s organic recycling rules.

This mandate comes straight from Sacramento per SB 1383, which requires that all cities provide organic waste recycling for residents and businesses. The state’s goal is to create a 75% reduction in organic waste disposal by 2025.

“When you take organics to a landfill, it creates methane,” Public Works Director Shana Epstein told the Courier. “If instead of doing that you take it to be composted, it takes on a positive life versus deteriorating our atmosphere and contributing to climate change.”

Fortunately, Beverly Hills is ahead of the curve and has been collecting and recycling food waste from large restaurants for over a decade. Now the city is focused on making sure that organic waste recycling is accessible to all residents. 

This effort began when the new state organic recycling rules took effect in 2022 and is continuing this year with education and outreach efforts alongside the rolling out of green organic waste bins at all multifamily dwellings.

All single-family homes should already have a green bin, which can be taken out alongside black trash bins and blue recycling bins on waste collection days, Epstein said. The green bins are collected by Athens Services, which converts the organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.

If any residents are missing green bins or have damaged bins, they should contact Public Works at 310-285-2467 or at, Epstein said.

Both food waste and garden waste belong in green bins. 

“Essentially anything that you can put in your mouth, but you didn’t can go into the food waste,” Epstein explained. “And then the garden waste is anything from your yard that was once living.”

Food-stained paper products such as pizza boxes or soiled napkins can also go in the green bin as they are biodegradable, however, any food containers with a wax coating cannot. 

Residents are encouraged to separate their organic waste from the trash by keeping a food scrap pail in their kitchen and then emptying this into their green bin once full. For those worried about the smell, Epstein suggests keeping a bag of food waste in the freezer. 

The city has been distributing free 2-gallon food scrap pails to residents to encourage compliance with the mandate.

“Using the pail is a really easy way for everyone to make a difference,” said Epstein. “It’s amazing to see how much food waste we actually throw out.”

Anyone who has yet to receive a pail can pick one up at the Public Works Department at 345 Foothill Road during regular working hours. Pails will also be distributed at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market on March 5 and April 23. 

Also on April 23, the city will be giving away compost at the Farmers Market as part of its Earth Day celebrations. Public Works will continue to host compost giveaways two to three times a year, Epstein said. 

“The compost is great for your garden as it provides nutrients, allows for better water absorption and it also keeps some pests away, so it really has so many benefits,” said Epstein. “We encourage people to come see the fruits of their work.”

As part of SB 1383, the city is required to monitor compliance with the organic recycling mandate and take enforcement measures if necessary. Epstein said that the city’s focus right now is on educating residents and businesses about the mandate and noted that any type of targeted enforcement will not begin until 2024.