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Recycling organic waste at home

As of July 1, 2022 all food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings must be placed together in your organic waste container (for most customers this was formerly your yard/green waste container). Organic waste is collected weekly for all customers. The new recycling program is required by state law, Senate Bill 1383, which mandates all organic waste be diverted from the landfill and recycled to reduce greenhouse gases generated by landfills, particularly methane. Californians throw away nearly 6 million tons of food scraps each year, accounting for 15-20% of all landfilled material, and the new program will turn these food scraps into a nutrient dense compost.

To help transition customers into the new program, the City of Sacramento is offering City residents a kitchen food waste pail to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper for curbside organic waste recycling. City residents can pick up a free pail while supplies last at one of three locations listed below. One pail per household, but you may pick up a pail for another City resident.

Apartment managers needing bulk orders should email sacrecycle@cityofsacramento.org to arrange for pickup.

Please email sacrecycle@cityofsacramento.org if you receive service for customers with disabilities or have mobility issues and are unable to pick up a pail. 

You can pick up a pail at the following locations. Please check the times and days of availability as not all options are open every day.

  1. Outside our facility at 2812 Meadowview Road on TUESDAYS ONLY from 9am-4pm. You will see a security gate and guard shack straight ahead, and in front of the guard shack you will see a table of kitchen pails. Do not pull up to the gate--you can park next to the guard shack and walk up to take your pail from the table with no contact. No proof of residency required.
  2. The Department of Utilities has a public counter at 1395 35th Avenue, open Monday – Thursday from 8am-4pm and Fridays from 8am-11:30am. Park in visitor parking, enter the lobby, and go through the door on your left. Please ask a customer service agent at the counter for a pail. No proof of residency required.
  3. Refill Madness, a retail and reuse store, is giving out pails at 1828 29th Street, Sacramento. They are open every day from 10am until 5pm or later; you can check their hours at refillmadnesssacramento.com or call 916-382-4823 for more information. You will be asked to confirm your address is within City limits.

Each City household is eligible for one pail. Available while supplies last.

Photo of kitchen food scrap pail 

The pail best fits a 2- or 3-gallon bag but can be used without a bag or you can line it with paper. Only compostable bags made of BPI-certified plastic may be used. We will be giving one roll of compostable plastic bags with each pail. There are multiple online retailers who sell BPI-certified compostable bags as well as many local Sacramento stores. If you would like more information on where to get compostable plastic bags locally, contact sacrecycle@cityofsacramento.org

The dimensions of the pail are: Width: 11”, Height: 9.5”, Depth: 8.5”

You don't need a specific pail to collect your food scraps and food-soiled paper for recycling. You can use a bowl, paper bag, BPI-certified compostable plastic bag, or repurposed kitchen container such as a coffee tin or yogurt tub to collect food scraps (it can be kept under the sink or in the refrigerator or freezer). You can purchase a variety of food scrap pails online. 

Check out our organics video PSAs to answer some frequently asked questions! 

If you would like to download an informational brochure, please see below. 

Tips for Collecting Food Waste

Reciclaje de residuos alimentarios en casa

在家回收食物垃圾

Утилизация домашних пищевых отходов

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Tái Chế Rác Thải Thực Phẩm tại Nhà

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TIPS FOR COLLECTING FOOD WASTE AT HOME

How to collect food scraps in the kitchen

  • Remove stickers, twist ties, rubber bands, and plastic wrap from food scraps
  • Use a repurposed kitchen container (with a lid) or pail to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper. You can also collect them in a paper bag which is compostable.
  • Line the kitchen container with a paper bag/towel, newspaper or compostable bag (Biodegradable Products Institute [BPI] certified/meets ASTM D6400 standards)
  • Store the kitchen container in a convenient location (under sink, on the countertop, or in the refrigerator or freezer)
  • Empty into the organic waste container when it is full, and every night before collection day.  

Food waste flyer

Sac food waste flyer

Be careful of storm drains. Don't use pesticides in the containers.

If needed, rinse containers into landscaped areas only and avoid discharging to storm drain systems and neighboring properties.