Curbside Yard Debris & Food Scrap Composting

Local jurisdictions have contracts with franchised garbage companies to provide service for collection of garbage, recycling, and organics for residences and businesses.

Why compost food scraps?

Organics, or organic material, include food scraps, leaves, and yard prunings. These make up the single largest unrecycled portion of the residential waste stream. In fact, according to a recent Waste Characterization Study about 31% of residential garbage is organics, including 17.3% food waste — a resource that could be used instead of landfilled.

Accepted in yard waste cart

  • Fruit & peelings
  • Vegetables & peelings
  • Pasta, rice & bread
  • Meat, bones, & dairy *
  • Eggshells
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds & filters
  • Wood ashes (cold)
  • Uncoated paper plates, bowls, and napkins (no plastic or compostable plastic)
  • Landscape prunings
  • Grass clippings, leaves & weeds
  • Tree trunks & branches (maximum 4 inches in diameter by 2 feet long)
  • All food waste including meat, bones & fish, cheese, food leftovers (packaging removed)

* Customers of the Sonoma Garbage Collectors can not place meat, bones, dairy, or seafood in their curbside green carts.

Not accepted in yard waste cart

  • Garbage
  • Plastic of any kind, including compostable plastics
  • Poison oak, cactus, palm fronds, pampas grass or bamboo
  • Cooking oil & liquid waste
  • Sudden Oak Death infested material
  • Dirt or rocks
  • Sod
  • Animal waste
  • BBQ ashes
  • Tree stumps
  • Cardboard

Why Compostable Plastics Aren't a Good Choice

Common examples are garbage bags, clear cups, utensils and compostable plastic garden pots. Problems with compostable plastics in the yard debris cart are:

  • They degrade too slowly for most municipal composting programs.
  • There is no easy differentiation from conventional plastics (e.g., no identifying color). Unless there is a clear identification system, compostable plastics look like conventional plastics and are sorted out as garbage.

The process of food scrap recycling

  • Collect food scraps when you cook. To keep your cart clean, use a brown paper bag, newspaper or kitchen pail to collect your fruit and food scraps.
  • Place food scraps in the curbside yard waste cart. Contents of yard waste containers are collected every week.
  • Compost is made from food scraps & yard debris.
  • Farmers & gardeners use the compost. The compost product is great to use on gardens. For information about how your yard debris gets processed, see the municipal composting program webpage.

Rather compost at home?

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