Residential Organics Collection Program

Residents can recycle food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimming in their green Organics cart.

Peels, pits, seeds, stems, rinds, bones, skins, crusts, and all other food scraps are accepted; they can be fresh, frozen, cooked, or moldy! Greasy pizza and other paper takeout boxes, wet and food-soiled paper plates, cups, napkins and towels are accepted too. Place these items into your cart along with yard trimmings like dry leaves, dead flowers, pulled weeds, cut grass and small branches.

After collection, materials collected from green carts will undergo anaerobic digestion at our Biogenic CNG Facility. The digestion process will create fuel for our collection vehicles and a pre-compost (or “digestate”) that will be hauled to a composting facility and transformed into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.


Use a kitchen pail to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper. Empty the pail into your green Organics cart daily. Rinse and wipe your pail clean as needed. Need a pail? We delivered one to every single-family home when the food scraps program began. Additional and replacement pails can be purchased at our office or from your favorite retailer. Newspaper and paper bags can be used to line pails or to wrap food scraps. Not a fan of kitchen pails? Try using a paper box (like for takeout meals). These can be filled with food scraps, closed, and the full box placed in your Organics cart. You can even freeze the boxed or wrapped scraps and place in your green cart that night before collection. This really keeps mess to a minimum.

Do not use liner bags. Food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings must be placed directly into your green Organics cart. Traditional and bio/compostable plastic bags prevent materials from breaking down in during anaerobic digestion.

Inside your Organics cart, cover layers of food scraps with pizza boxes, paper bags, paper towels, newspaper, or a layer of yard trimmings. This will help absorb moisture and odors.

Sprinkle baking soda in your kitchen pail or green cart as needed to absorb moisture and odor.

Clean your Organics cart as needed. When it is empty, carefully tip it over on a landscaped area, lightly rinse it out, and let dry with lid open. Wipe down with newspaper or a paper towel and then toss it inside.


  • Leftovers & Plate Scrapings
  • Fruit/Vegetable Peels, Pits, Seeds, Stems & Cores
  • Meat & Bones
  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grounds & Paper Filters
  • Natural Cork & Tea Bags
  • Bread, Rice, Pasta & Cereal
  • Food-Soiled Paper Plates, Cups & Towels
  • Wet Paper Towels
  • Cool & Solidified Fat/Oil/Grease
  • Paper Takeout Containers
  • Wooden Utensils / Chopsticks
  • Yard Trimmings (including backyard fruit!)



California Senate Bill 1383 sets statewide targets to recover edible food and reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills. The bill aims to feed hungry people and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It requires the separation of organic waste from garbage and it applies to everyone, everywhere in California: at home, work, school, parks, venues, and events.

South San Francisco Scavenger and the cities
we serve are working together to educate the community regarding the bill and to provide appropriate services.

In 2024, SB 1383 will become enforceable via local ordinance. We encourage everyone to proactively implement an organics collection program now and to always sort waste correctly.

SB 1383 was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2016. Details of the bill can be found at

Interested in Backyard Composting?

Learn how to transform yard trimmings and select food scraps into rich soil for your own garden. The San Mateo County Office of Sustainability offers discounted compost bins and free workshops. Click here for details.

Questions? Call or text us at (650) 589-4020 or use our contact form. We’ll reply as soon as possible and always within one business day. Look for additional information about the Organics Program in our newsletters and guides.