Thank you for taking part in Union City's Food Scrap Recycling program. You are helping our community to dramatically reduce the amount of materials it sends to the landfill. Food scrap recycling is really easy. Simply COLLECT food scraps in your kitchen pail or or other convenient container, EMPTY the food scraps into your green yard waste cart, and SET OUT your yard waste cart at the curb for emptying every week.

Go Beyond the Pail!
Kitchen pails were provided to Union City residents for the convenient collection of food scraps. Some people prefer to use other containers such as..

  • Paper milk cartons
  • Pizza boxes
  • Cereal boxes
  • Paper ice cream cartons
  • Brown paper bags
  • Newspaper

The advantage of using a paper container is that you can drop that into the yard waste cart along with the food scraps.

Why should I collect food scraps in the green yard waste cart instead of putting it in my garbage cart or garbage disposal?
Food scraps and food-soiled paper is heavy and bulky, making up a large portion of the residential waste stream. Keeping this material out of our landfill and converting it into compost will help us reduce waste.

Do I have to participate in the food scraps collection program?
Participation in the food scraps program is voluntary.

What are food scraps and food-soiled paper?
Food Scraps Food-Soiled Paper Products
  • Fruit and vegetables and peelings
  • Meat and bones (beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.)
  • Bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dairy products (butter, cheese and yogurt)
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit
  • Leftover cooked or raw foods
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Coffee filters (paper type only)
  • Egg cartons (food contaminated paper cartons only - no foam cartons)
  • Milk cartons
  • Newspaper (for food lining or wrapping only)
  • Paper bags (for food lining or wrapping only)
  • Paper cups (uncoated)
  • Paper napkins and towels
  • Paper plates (uncoated)
  • Paper ice cream cartons
  • Pizza boxes
  • Tea bags
  • Paper restaurant take-out containers
What doesn't qualify as food scraps?
Please, no...
  • Garbage
  • Plastic bags, trays or containers
  • Diapers
  • Cat litter
  • Animal feces
  • Painted or treated wood
  • Dirt or rocks
  • Concrete or bricks
  • Metal or foil

Can I use a plastic bag to line the kitchen pail?
No, Plastic bags are not compostable and are not allowed in the green cart. Use a whole section of newspaper or a brown paper bag to line your pail. Newspaper and food-soiled papers will absorb moisture from food scraps in your pail, the same way it used to in your kitchen garbage can, and may be dumped into the green cart for composting along with the food scraps.

Should I put my Kitchen Pail at the curb for collection?
Do not put your food scraps pail at the curb for collection. It is only for indoor use in your kitchen, to help you collect food scraps. Empty the pail into the green yard waste cart for weekly collection.

I did not receive a food scraps pail. How do I get one?
To request a free kitchen pail, call Tri-CED at 429-8030. Food scrap recycling is not available at multi-family complexes (apartment buildings, some condos and townhomes).

What if I have no yard waste? Can I put just food scraps in my green cart?
Yes. You may wish to wrap the food scraps in newspaper or paper bags to help keep the cart clean.

Why can I put meat, bones & dairy products in the green cart for composting, but not in my backyard compost pile?
Households that compost at home do need to keep animal products out of their compost pile or bin, because they attract animal scavengers and are slow to decompose, commercial composting facilities readily and safely compost meats, poultry, bones and other animal products, which are rich in organic nutrients. The material is ground before processing and carefully managed to decompose completely

Won't may kitchen pail attract ants, and what about the smell?

Tips for using your kitchen pail:

  • Keep the lid closed. The pail has a latch that snaps closed.
  • Empty the kitchen pail into the yard waste cart as often as you wish; the pail does not have to be full.
  • Wash the pail with warm soapy water in your sink after emptying it; it is not recommended for dishwashers.
  • Baking soda is a non-toxic deodorant and can be sprinkled in the kitchen pail.
  • In warmer weather, the pail should be emptied more frequently.

Note: Maggots have a 7-day life cycle, so if you empty your containers frequently, this should not happen.

Any other suggestions?

  • Freeze or refrigerate the food scraps (in newspaper or paper bags please). Then, place them in the yard waste cart when you roll it out to the curb.
  • Keep the lid to your green cart closed.
  • Wrap the food scraps, in newspaper or a brown paper bag, before putting them into the cart.
  • Set out your green cart out every week on your scheduled collection day, even if it's only partially full.
  • Wash out the organics cart regularly (please wash and rinse cart over a landscaped area like lawn or shrubbery, not near a gutter or storm drain, as the rinse water might wash down the storm drain which leads directly to local creeks and the Bay.

How can I get more information?
Please call Tri-CED at 429-8030. the City Recycling Coordinator at 675-5466 or the Alameda County Recycling Hotline at 1 (877) STOPWASTE


The city of Union City gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of StopWaste.Org


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