Compost (Organics) Collection Program

California's Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (SB 1383) requires all residents and businesses to separate and keep recyclable and compostable materials out of landfills. When recyclable materials such as cardboard and compostable (organic) materials such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings are disposed in landfills, they decompose and produce methane, a climate change greenhouse gas contributor 80x more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills in California are responsible for 20% of statewide methane emissions. SB 1383 aims to address climate change by reducing the amount of recyclable and compostable materials sent to landfills by 75% by January 1, 2025.

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, Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste), and the Alameda County Department of Health.

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. Visit the Annual Compost Giveaway Event page to learn more.

What is Accepted in the Green Compost Cart?

UC Compost Poster 2022 FINAL - ENG Opens in new windowFood 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 and 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.

Use a paper bag/materials, BPI-certified compostable bag, or clear plastic to keep tidy if needed. Do not bag items in black plastic bags.

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 (SB 1383). 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

KitchenPail-Food-ScrapsHow 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 Kitchen Pail for reuse.

Pro tip: Line your Kitchen Pail with paper towels, newspaper, or kraft paper to keep it tidy. During warm months, you can use any reusable container to store food scraps in the freezer; empty the frozen contents into your compost cart the night before service.

Contact Tri-CED Community Recycling to request a Kitchen Pail at no additional cost (limit one per household). 

How Do I Reduce Food Waste? 

Waste less food, eat well, save money, and save valuable resources used to produce and distribute food by making small changes in how you shop, prepare, and store food. Find resources, tips, and recipes to make the most of your food at

Why else should we care food waste? A family of 4 in the United States wastes an average of almost $2,000 per year on food that isn't eaten, while at the same time, 1 in 4 households in Alameda County are in need of food assistance. Watch this video produced by StopWaste in partnership with Bay Area Green Tours to learn about three local leaders whose unique connections to food heal and sustain their communities, and take away some simple tips to make the most of food resources in your own home. 

More Information?

When in doubt, find out: Residential Publications & Resources. For more information about Union City's curbside collection program, call Union City Recycles at 510.675.5433.