For this month, we’re focusing on complaints…
No, not our complaints about the challenges with rolling out SB 1383, and no, not generator complaints about having to pay for another bin and sort more materials…but rather the ability for a community member to submit a complaint to you about compliance issues they have noticed.
Each jurisdiction is required to provide a procedure for the receipt and investigation of written complaints of alleged violations of SB 1383. Complaints must have the option to be submitted anonymously and in writing, which is often a challenge because traditional City complaint portals tend not to allow anonymous complaints.
You might expect the following types of complaints:
- “My neighbor keeps putting garden hoses in their recycling container!” (Contamination)
- “The local diner doesn’t have a green container for me to use for food scraps.” (Required bins not available)
- “I called to get a replacement green cart, and my hauler gave me a brown cart.” (Incorrect bin coloring/labeling)
Or, less humorously…
- Missing signage or labeling on waste bins
- Lack of education and outreach materials on how to dispose of materials
- No inspections of bins
- No edible food recovery
- No blue or green waste bin collection service
- Missing blue or green waste bin
Complaints, generally, should be in writing and include the following information:
- The name and contact information of the complainant, if the complaint is not anonymous
- The identity of the alleged violator, if known
- A description of the alleged violation including location(s) and all other relevant facts known to the complainant
- Any relevant photographic or documentary evidence to support the allegations in the complaint
- The identity of any witnesses, if known
Follow Up Investigation
Municipalities are required to start an investigation within 90 days of receiving a complaint if the jurisdiction determines that the allegations would constitute a violation of SB 1383. The jurisdiction may decline to investigate a complaint if it has determined that an investigation is unwarranted because the allegations are contrary to material facts.
Once a complaint has been resolved the municipality should have a mechanism to notify a complainant of the results of their complaint if the identity and contact information of the complainant are known. The jurisdiction needs to maintain records of all complaints and responses in their Implementation Record. The records shall include the complaint as received and the jurisdiction’s determination of compliance or if a notice of violation was issued.
Recordkeeping of Complaints
Jurisdictions are required to annually report on the number of complaints received and investigated each year in the Electronic Annual Report to CalRecycle.
Warnings and Code Enforcement through 12/31/2023
A jurisdiction’s code enforcement should address a complaint if the issue is a true health concern that results from unsanitary conditions (ideally, more promptly than the maximum of 90 days). Otherwise, responses to complaints may be conducted by city staff or a designated contractor for SB 1383 related complaints.
From now until December 31, 2023, a jurisdiction is required to provide educational material describing the applicable requirements of SB 1383 in response to violations.
Notices of Violation Issued after 1/1/2024
After January 1, 2024, the jurisdiction shall take enforcement action by:
- Issuing a Notice of Violation requiring compliance within 60 days of the issuance of that notice.
- Absent compliance by the respondent within the deadline set forth in the Notice of Violation, the jurisdiction shall commence an action to impose penalties.
- The jurisdiction may extend the compliance deadlines set forth in a Notice of Violation issued if it finds there were extenuating circumstances including Acts of God, delays obtaining permits or government agency approvals, or if the jurisdiction doesn’t have sufficient organics or edible food capacity and is under a Corrective Action Plan.
Notices of Violation need to include the following information:
- The name(s), or account name(s) if different, of each person or entity to whom it is directed
- A factual description of the violations of SB 1383 and/or local ordinances, including the regulatory section(s) being violated
- A compliance date by which the operator must take specified action(s)
- The penalty for not complying by the specified compliance date
We will be providing additional details on the Notice of Violation process in next month’s Blog post!
AB 1276 Dual Purpose Complaint Form
On October 5, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1276 (Carillo) into law. AB 1276 prohibits a food facility from providing any single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment to a consumer unless requested by the consumer. AB1276 requires that cities authorize an enforcement agency by June 1, 2022 to ensure that food facilities comply with the law.
Cities and Towns can use the anonymous complaint form or portal that is established for SB 1383 to also be a complaint portal for AB 1276 complaints and other solid waste related matters. If your municipality needs to comply with AB 1276, R3 is available to answer questions and to assist your community in developing a process that will meet the requirements of the law.