Food Services Solutions Articles

Guidelines to the Organics Diversion Program in the City of Austin

provecho fss organic diversions program atx health regulations food services solutions


The Organics Diversion Program is part of the Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO) in the City of Austin and affects all food service business in the city limits. The main goal is to reduce the organic material that is sent to the landfills. Therefore, the sourcing of materials, employee training, portion control, food size reduction, food donation programs, inventory control measures, composting, and any activity in the food establishment that reduces organic materials sent to the landfill can be included in your organics diversion program to comply with the requirements. All of the food businesses in the city are affected by October 1, 2018. “The URO Organics Diversion requirements affect the largest food service businesses (over 15,000 square feet) beginning October 1, 2016 and phase in over three years. All Austin businesses with food permits will be affected by these requirements on October 1, 2018.” The organics diversion four major components are:

1. Convenient employee access to methods of keeping food scraps and other organic material out of landfills.

2. Bilingual signage on or near diversion stations or containers.

3. Annual bilingual education on organics diversion to employees.

4. Annual reporting between October 1 and February 1.

The food business in the city are required to report their organics diversion program along with their recycling program every year by February 1. Next are the five minimum requirements to comply with the program.

1. Submit Organics Diversion Plan, by Feb. 1 each year

2. Reduce or divert organic material generated onsite, on a weekly basis

3. Post informational sings in English and Spanish

4. Educate employees about the organics diversion program annually and within 30 days of hire

5. If applicable, place exterior organics collection containers within 25-feet of landfill trash containers

The City of Austin provides free resources and conduct events to guide business with the URO and the Organics Diversion Plan. I have included some useful links to guide owners and managers in this process. In addition, we at Provecho FSS are also available for bilingual employee training (English and Spanish) and additional consulting for the food businesses about the ordinance and compliance.

Instructions to report the Organics Diversion Plan

Free Training and Business Outreach Calendar of Events

Universal Recycling Ordinance Summary Guidelines Document