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Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

Curbside yard debris & food waste recycling

The process of food scrap recycling

Collecting vegetable scraps

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 vegetable scraps in yard wast cart

Place food scraps in the curbside yard waste cart. Contents of yard waste containers are collected every week.

Composting process

Compost is made from food scraps & yard debris.

Compost is used in gardens

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.

Green yard wast cartLocal jurisdictions have contracts with franchised garbage companies to provide service for collection of garbage, recycling and yard debris for residences and businesses.

Why recycle food scraps?
Organic material including food, leaves and prunings are the 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.

Materials accepted in yard debric cartAccepted in the yard debris cart:

  • Fruit & peelings
  • Vegetables & peelings
  • Pasta, rice & bread
  • Meat, cheese, bones, fish
  • Eggshells
  • Tea bags, coffee grounds & filters
  • Wood ashes (cold)
  • Paper plates, bowls, and napkins (non-coated) used in food service from natural fibers including paper, palm, bagasse, and sugarcane
  • Landscape prunings
  • Grass clippings, leaves & weeds
  • Tree trunks & branches (maximum 4 inches in diameter by 2 feet long)
  • All food waste (accepted by The Ratto Group only)  including meat, bones & fish, cheese, food leftovers (packaging removed)

No Plastics or garbageNot accepted in the yard debris cart:

  • Garbage
  • Plastic bags, 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

Compostable plastics are not 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.

Rather make your own compost at home?
Visit home composting to learn about composting classes, worm composting and bin purchase options.

Sonoma County Waste Management Agency ● 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-100 ● Santa Rosa, CA 95403