Curbside Organics Frequently Asked Questions

  • Food waste is the largest single item in our waste stream and makes up about 30% of what we throw away. 
  • All of the organic material (food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings) collected in the curbside Organics cart is sent to a composting facility where it is made into compost.
  • Compost is a valuable product used by landscapers, farmers, and gardeners.  It increases soil quality, water retention and crop yield, and reduces the need of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Food waste emits more methane than any other material in the landfill.  Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). Composting reduces greenhouse gases.
  • Composting organics helps save valuable landfill space.

Yes, it’s required by law that all residents put any food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings, regardless if the amount is minimal, in the Organics cart starting July 2022. Organic materials are no longer accepted in the Garbage cart unless eligible for a low population census tract waiver - see exception to participation below. 

Exception to participation:
A low population census tract organics waiver is available for those in an area with a population density of less than 75 people per square mile. In accordance with Sacramento County Code section 6.20.460, a Low Population Census Tract Waiver may be issued to properties located in a State approved low population census tract area. Residents are able to verify if they reside in an approved low population census tract by using the Census Reporter. After confirming that your service address is located in a low population census tract and if you wish to seek approval of a Low Population Census Tract Waiver, please email​ with your contact information, including service address and garbage account number.  This organics waiver is for residents of the unincorporated County who receive curbside cart service from the Sacramento County Department of Waste Management and Recycling or its contractor, Central Valley Waste Services.

Yes, although, residents can also use brown paper bags or newspaper to collect food scraps. Residents have the option to purchase and use compostable bags to collect food waste. Compostable bags must meet the ASTM D6400 standard. Look for “ASTM D6400” on the packaging label to ensure it meets this standard. ASTM D600 is the standard specification to make sure the material used in the bag is compostable at local facilities.​

100% Compostable Bag Image

Only items that cannot be placed in the Recycling cart or items that are not accepted in the Organics cart should be put in the Garbage cart. Items include, but are not limited to plastic bags, diapers, paper milk and juice cartons, pet waste, Styrofoam, etc. If you are unsure which cart an item should be disposed in, use our easy “How Do I Get Rid Of…” search tool​ on our website​ or mobile app.

Remove the food from the packaging. Packaging is not accepted in the Organics cart and should be​ placed in the Recycling cart​ if appropriate or placed in the Garbage cart.

We applaud our residents efforts to manage organic materials. All of our residential customers are required to participate in weekly organics collection beginning July 2022 for compliance with state law. For those with backyard composting, place organic materials that are not typically managed in home composting systems – such as food-soiled paper, pizza boxes, and meat/bone items - in the Organics cart. ​

​​If you have any further questions about this service, please email

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Never miss your curbside collection day!​  The app is available to download in the app stores for both Apple and Android devices.​​

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