Residential Organic Recycling

What’s changing for residents?

Starting July 2022, residential garbage and recycling services will include the following changes:

  • Yard waste carts will be renamed to “organic waste” and will accept food waste and food soiled paper
  • Green Waste is currently collected on a bi-weekly basis. Organic waste starting in July will be collected weekly.

Distribution of New Cartsrecycle carts

All carts (trash, recycling, and green/organic waste) must conform to the color scheme dictated by state law. The City’s carts currently do not conform to this required color scheme. As such, we/Republic will be distributing new color conforming carts to all City properties beginning in July through November 2022.

Those properties that currently do not have a green waste (i.e. organic waste) cart, will only receive trash and recycling carts.

City staff is currently working with CalRecycle and Republic Services to determine how and when properties with space limitations and or no organic waste cart will receive their new Organics Cart. While properties in these communities may not require a cart for yard waste, a cart for food/organic waste may still be required.

How to Use Countertop Kitchen Pails

organics pale graphic

Collect food waste in your home by scraping plates and placing your food scraps and food-soiled paper items into a kitchen pail. Empty the food waste from the pail into your Organics Waste cart as often as you like.

While not required, you may use BPI Certified compostable bags or paper bags to dispose of your organic waste. BPI stands for Biodegradable Products institute. These certified bags can be found online or at all major retailers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we now required to separate organics?
The State of California passed SB 1383 as a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants and help prevent global climate change. It requires all California waste-generators (residents and businesses) to separate their organic waste, including food waste and green waste, to prevent disposal in a landfill. Compostable materials such as food waste and paper decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) in a landfill, producing methane—one of the most potent greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. By separating and recycling our food waste collectively we will be diverting around 300,000 tons of food waste per year from landfills.
Should I start placing my food in the green waste cart starting today?
No, the new organic waste collection service begins on July 1st, 2022. Currently, the contents of the green waste cart are chipped and spread in an orchard. The liquids and textures that come along with food waste are not conducive to this process, so we ask that residents do not begin to place food scraps in the bin until the initial start date.
When should I start placing our food waste in the green waste cart?
After July 1, 2022, you can add both food waste and green waste to your green waste cart. This cart will become the “organics cart” and the contents will be taken to a compost facility for processing. Prior to this change, we will provide more information about what should go in each cart.
How do I separate my food waste?
The easiest way to recycle your food waste is to keep a bowl or other container close by when cooking. Place all your fruit and vegetable trimmings, peels, stems, meat scraps, eggshells, etc. in the bowl as you go. When you’re done eating, scrape all your unwanted leftovers into the bowl and transfer it all to the organics cart outside. If you prefer to keep a closed counter-top compost bin in your kitchen, the City will be providing free bins upon request starting this summer. The pails are washable and dishwasher safe.
What about the smell? Will this attract mice and bugs?
Probably. However, this material is already in your trash cart. This law requires the material to be placed in the organics cart rather than the trash cart so it can be safely and efficiently recycled. So, the smell and potential to attract vermin is just moving from one cart to another. In addition, your green waste cart will be collected weekly after July 1, 2022, to ensure the contents are removed in a manner that meets public health and safety guidelines.
What if I already have a compost bin at home? Can I be excluded from this?
No, unfortunately the state law requires mandatory compliance. In addition, there are many waste types that should not go into a home composting bin but can be composted through this program including meat, grains, packaged and processed food, and food-soiled paper such as dirty paper napkins. Disposing of these items in your trash would be considered a violation and may result in Contamination Fees and/or fines.
What if I just refuse to separate my food waste?
The state has made these requirements mandatory and the City has been mandated to enforce them. Noncompliance, which includes not using the service and/or not placing the correct materials in each cart, could lead to fees of $7 per week and fines of up to $100 per week. If the City does not enforce these requirements, the City could be subject to administrative penalties of up to $10,000 per day.
What if I still need more info?
Please call us! We’d love to help answer any other questions you have. You can contact our residential program coordinator, Nathan Arechiga, at (916) 627-3646

Acceptable / Non-Acceptable Items


Dirty Paper

  • Greasy pizza boxes and paper bags
  • Paper coffee filters  
  • Food soiled paper napkins, tissues, and paper towels

Food scraps

  • All fruits and vegetables (pits and shells too)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dairy products (no liquids)
  • Eggshells and eggs
  • Leftovers and spoiled food
  • Meat (including bones)
  • Seafood (including shellfish)


  • House plants
  • All plant debris including flowers, leaves, weeds, and branches
  • Tree trimmings (less than 6” in diameter and 4’ long)


  • Bags labeled “Compostable” only
  • Cooking grease: Small amounts can be soaked up with a paper towel and composted.
  • Corks (no plastic)
  • Plastic clearly labeled “Compostable”

Non-Acceptable Items

Put these in your Blue Recycling Bin instead:

  • Aluminum foil or trays
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans and lids
  • Plastic not labeled “Compostable”
  • Recyclable/clean cardboard or paper

Put these items in your Black Landfill Bin:

  • Composite items made of multiple materials
  • Juice, soup, or soy milk type boxes with foil/plastic liner
  • Styrofoam meat trays or other dirty Styrofoam

These items don’t belong in your green or blue bins but should still be recycled:

  • Batteries: small residential quantities can be recycled.
  • Cooking oil.
  • Electronics Hangers: take to your local garment cleaner for reuse
  • Plastic bags and film: recycle clean plastic bags at California supermarkets.
  • Styrofoam: take packing peanuts to local shipping store for reuse.

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