Curbside Services: Compost Cart

Local jurisdictions have contracts with franchised hauling companies to provide service for collection of garbage, recycling, yard debris and food scraps, and motor oil/filters for residences. Curbside services are also available for businesses.

Related topics:

Self-haul yard debris and food scraps
Home composting
Worm composting

The problem with biodegradable and compostable plastic products

Plates, bowls, cups, utensils, bags, or other food service ware labeled "biodegradable" or "compostable" cannot be composted in the backyard or placed in curbside carts. Backyard compost piles are too small to reach high enough temperatures to break them down. If placed in curbside green carts, the industrial composting facilities that receive them cannot easily distinguish these products from conventional plastic products. They are screened out and sent to the landfill. Please choose reusable items whenever possible and place compostable plastic products in the garbage.

Compost for the Climate!

Compost and be part of the cycle!

  • Collect food scraps when you cook. To keep your kitchen pail clean, use a paper bag, newspaper or paper egg carton to line the bottom and soak up extra moisture.
  • Transfer food scraps to the curbside yard debris cart. Contents of your yard debris container are collected every week.
  • Your hauling company will transport the material to a composting facility, where yard debris and food scraps are turned into compost in 60-90 days.
  • Compost is sold as a valuable soil amendment for farmers and gardeners to grow larger and healthier plants.
  • That food ends up on your plate, and the cycle starts again.

Why compost yard and food scraps?

Organic materials (organics) like food scraps, leaves, and yard prunings make up the single largest underutilized resource in the residential waste stream. In fact, according to the 2014 Sonoma County Waste Characterization Study, about 31% of residential garbage is organics, more than half of which is food. When landfilled, organics produce greenhouse gases that badly contribute to climate change. Composting that material instead will return organics to the soil, growing more food, and completing the cycle.

Accepted in the compost cart

  • Eggshells
  • Fruit and peelings
  • Grass clippings, leaves, and weeds
  • Landscape prunings
  • Meat, bones, dairy, and seafood* (packaging removed)
  • Pasta, grains, and bread
  • Paper plates, bowls, and napkins (no plastic or compostable plastic)
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds, and paper filters
  • Tree trunks and branches (maximum 4 inches in diameter by 2 feet long)
  • Vegetables and peelings
  • Wood ashes (cold)

Not accepted in the compost cart

  • Animal/pet waste
  • Bamboo
  • BBQ ashes (wood fireplace ashes okay)
  • Cactus
  • Cooking oil and liquid waste
  • Dirt, rocks, or sod
  • Glass
  • Manure (from chickens, cows, horses, etc.)
  • Palm fronds
  • Pampas grass
  • Plastics including those labeled biodegradable or compostable
  • Poison oak
  • Sudden Oak Death infested material
  • Tree stumps

SHREDDED PAPER - Residential Customers

Recology Sonoma Marin Customers: Okay to place one paper bag of shredded paper in the GREEN COMPOST cart each week.

Sonoma County Resource Recovery Customers: Okay to place one paper bag of shredded paper in the YELLOW side of the RECYCLE cart each week.

Sonoma Garbage Collectors: Okay to place one paper bag or one clear bag of shredded paper in the BLUE RECYCLE cart each week.

Rather compost at home?

Visit home composting to learn about composting classes, worm composting and bin purchase options.

Related topics:

See Bulky Item Pickup for pickup of excess yard debris/organics (bagged or bundled)
See Self-haul yard debris and food scraps
See Worm composting

Hauling company sorting guidelines

Sonoma Marin

(800) 243-0291

Sorting Guidelines

Sonoma County Resource Recovery

(707) 795-7470

Sorting Guidelines

Sonoma Garbage Collectors

(707) 996-7555

Sorting Guidelines


The following resources are provided in English and Spanish language. Click on the image to download the pdf. Visit Downloads & Graphics to download the complete 24-page Zero Waste Guide.