Compost (Organics) Collection Program

Of the 39 million tons of waste disposed of in California landfills in 2018, one third of this was compostable (organic) materials. When compostable materials such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings are buried in landfills, they decompose and produce methane, a climate change greenhouse gas contributor 80x more potent than carbon dioxide. 

Starting January 1, 2022, the State of California, Alameda County and the City of Union City require residents and businesses to separate and keep recyclable and  compostable materials out of landfills under the State’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (Senate Bill 1383). This law aims to address climate change by reducing the amount of recyclable and compostable materials sent to landfills by 75% by January 1, 2025. 

Senate Bill (SB) 1383 is implemented in Alameda County under the county-wide Organics Reduction and Recycling Ordinance and in Union City under Municipal Code Chapter 7.24, in partnership with Republic Services, Tri-CED Community Recycling, and Stop Waste. 

Why Should I Compost?

When Union City residents and businesses place compostable materials like food scraps in their green compost bin/cart, they not only reduce methane emissions, but they also create compost - a valuable soil amendment that retains moisture, conserves water, and nourishes plants and trees.

Did you know that Union City residents who participate in the curbside compost collection program are eligible to receive two (2) free bags of compost annually? It's our way of thanking you for recycling food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings each week in your green compost cart. Contact Republic Services at (510) 657-3500 for more information about the Annual Compost Giveaway Event. 

Image of Organics Do's and Dont's

What is Accepted in the Green Compost Cart?

Food scraps including: 

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Bread, pasta, and other grains
  • Fruits and vegetables along with peels, skins, pits, and rinds
  • Bones and shells
  • Tea leaves and coffee grounds.

Wet and grease/food-soiled paper products including: 

  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Paper cups, bowls, plates
  • Coffee filters and teabags 
  • Grease-soiled pizza boxes

Yard trimmings including: 

  • Untreated wood
  • Small branches
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Grass
  • Weeds and brush.

What is Prohibited in the Green Compost Cart?

Recyclable and landfill materials are prohibited in your green compost cart as per California’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (Senate Bill 1383) and Union City Municipal Code Chapter 7.24. Recyclable and landfill materials must be sorted and placed in the appropriate cart.

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Non-compostable plastic bags, wrappers, and containers
  • Styrofoam products
  • Snack packaging
  • Non-compostable food ware (e.g., straws and utensils)
  • Diapers and personal hygiene products
  • Pet waste
  • Palm fronds
  • Treated wood (painted or stained)
  • Asphalt, concrete, dirt, brick, and construction and demolition debris

It is illegal to dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) such as chemicals, cleaners, fertilizers, paint, pesticides, propane tanks, sharps, and electronic waste in your recycle, compost, and landfill carts. HHW materials require careful disposal by a certified facility. Safely dispose of HHW for free at an Alameda County HHW Drop-off Facility or at County-sponsored events throughout the year. For drop-off facility locations, hours, and a list of accepted items, call (800) 606-6606 or visit www.StopWaste.org/HHW.

How Do I Use the Food Scraps Kitchen Pail? 

Use the Food Scraps Kitchen Pail to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper when preparing meals, scraping plates, and cleaning the fridge or pantry until you are ready to empty the contents into your outdoor Compost Cart. Keep the pail for reuse.

Pro tip: Line your Kitchen Pail with paper towels, newspaper, kraft paper, or a BPI-certified compostable bag to keep it tidy. Do not use non-compostable plastic bags. 

Contact Tri-CED Community Recycling at (510) 429-8030 to request for a Kitchen Pail at no additional cost (limit one per household). The pail will be dropped off on your regular service day. 

More Information? 

Download the Union City Residential Services Guide to learn what is accepted in Union City's curbside collection program and about other available services to help you reduce waste.