Policies & Legislation

San Francisco’s Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance

Webpage, Last Updated May 2015

San Francisco residents and businesses are required to properly separate recyclables and compostables and keep them out of the landfill. Recycling and composting is one way to help San Francisco achieve its goal of zero waste by 2020.

Compostable Plastics Labeling Bill

PDF, Last Updated Nov 2014

This is model legislation that states can use to help prevent products that don’t meet the criteria for compostability being labeled in correctly. This bill was patterned after successful legislation in California, SB567, that has enable the attorney general to remove mislabeled or misleading products from the marketplace. Owner, US Composting Council

Houston Compostable Bags Yard Trimmings Program

Webpage, Last Updated Feb 2014

The City of Houston established April 5, 2010 as the startup date for the collection of yard trimmings in compostable bags. This webpage explains the Houston program, provides a list of city-approved waste bags, as well as an explanation of how compostable bags work versus regular plastics bags.

Sunnyvale, California: Zero Waste Event Requirements for food vendors

Written Article, Last Updated Feb 2014

The City of Sunnyvale provided their 2014 guide for hosting a Zero Waste event. The packet includes requirements for food vendors, examples of compostable items they are required to use at the event, a food vendor contract, food vendor terms and conditions, and a concession operator's checklist.

USCC: Labeling Guidelines for Compostable Plastics Associated with Food Scraps or Yard Trimmings

Webpage, Last Updated Feb 2014

The goal of these guidelines is to identify compostable plastics associated with food scraps or yard trimmings (e.g., bags, plates, cups, cutlery, trays, and take out or food packaging) which are certified as compostable in commercial or industrial composting facilities. These guidelines should allow the public and retail consumers, material haulers, and processors to distinguish compostable from non-compostable products for proper handling of items after use.

San Francisco Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

Webpage, Last Updated Jan 2014

This site lists Chapter 17 of the City and County of San Francisco Environment Code, the plastic checkout bag ban.

"Breaking Down" the Problem: Aligning Policy and Practice in the Compostable Plastics Industry

PDF, Last Updated Dec 2013

Analysis of Berkeley's Zero Waste Policy; Aligning Policy & Practice in the Compostable Plastics Industry

California Code on Compostability Labeling

Website, Last Updated Jan 2013

This California legislation prohibits the use of terms like "degradable", "decompostable", and "biodegradable" when marketing plastic products, unless the term used has been approved by the ASTM. This model legislation also requires that plastic bags labeled "compostable" must meet 3rd party certification for meeting ASTM D6400 Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics. The intent of the legislation is to prevent advertisers from misleading consumers. This model CA legislation also requires that any plastic labeled compostable must be meet 3rd party certification for meeting ASTM D6400 Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics and further specifies requirements for labeling compostable bags.

FTC Green Guides — Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims

Webpage, Last Updated Jan 2013

The Federal Trade Commission created its Green Guides to help marketers ensure that the claims they are making are true and substantiated. The guidance they provide includes: general principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims; how consumers are likely to interpret particular claims and how marketers can substantiate these claims; and how marketers can qualify their claims to avoid deceiving consumers

Compostable Bag Requirements in Twin Cities Metro

Webpage, Last Updated Jan 2013

Program-specific background information and sets of FAQs from a Minneapolis-St Paul yard trimmings program. Information on how to determine the difference between compostable bags, where to buy them, and who needs to use them in the city.

San Francisco Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance

Webpage, Last Updated Jan 2007

The Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance requires food vendors and restaurants in San Francisco to use compostable or recyclable to-go containers. Using compostable and recyclable food service ware is one way businesses and consumers can help San Francisco achieve zero waste by 2020.

This toolkit is designed to help you determine if a compostable plastics program is appropriate for your organization and to guide you in properly managing your compostable plastics.

*Resources outlined in this toolkit are examples from a variety of sources to help facilitate a better understanding of compostable products and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF).

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