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% and by recovering and donating surplus edible food by January 1, 2025.

Why Should I Compost?

Commercial CompostingWhen 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.

Additionally, adding recycle and compost collection services may provide your business with cost savings since compost and recycle collection services are 40% less costly than comparable landfill collection service in Union City. Adding the required service(s) is one step towards meeting SB 1383 compliance.

Learn more about SB 1383 requirements and what the law means for your business.

What is Accepted in the Compost Bin/Cart?

UC Compost Poster 2022 FINAL - ENG Opens in new window

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 and compostable products including: 

  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Coffee filters and teabags 
  • Grease-soiled pizza boxes
  • Paper cups, bowls, plates
  • BPI-certified compostable products. 

Yard trimmings including: 

  • Untreated wood such as broken wood pallets/crates
  • 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 Compost Bin/Cart?

Recyclable and landfill materials are prohibited in your green compost bin/cart as per California’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (SB 1383). Recyclable and landfill materials must be sorted and placed in the appropriate bin/cart.

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Plastic bags, film, wrap, and containers
  • Styrofoam products
  • Snack packaging
  • Non-compostable 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

How Do I Establish or Improve My Compost Collection Program?

Dedicated recycling coordinators at Republic Services and Tri-CED Community Recycling are available to provide free technical assistance to help your business start or improve its recycle and/or compost program, comply with State and local regulations, and realize potential cost savings. Free technical assistance includes:

  • Assistance signing up for recycling and/or compost collection service(s). Did you know? Subscribing to recycle and compost collection services may help your business realize cost savings as recycle and compost collection services cost 40% less than comparable landfill (garbage) collection service. 
  • Waste assessments to determine optimal collection service levels and identify cost savings opportunities.
  • Staff trainings to ensure proper sorting, share best practices,SB 1383 Kitchen Staff Training and to answer questions.
  • Setting up indoor color-coded and labeled collection containers to be compliant with SB 1383. 
  • Educational materials such as posters, service guides, and outdoor/indoor container decals to educate employees and contractors on proper sorting. 
  • General support to maximize recycling opportunities and reduce waste.

Request to speak with a dedicated recycling coordinator for free technical assistance today!

Republic ServicesTri-CED Community Recycling
  • Phone: 510.429.8030
  • Email:   
  • Customer Service Hours: Monday to Friday - 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

For additional information and resources including how to order free indoor decals and customized signs, contact StopWaste at (510) 891-6575 (leave message for call back), ask a question through the online form, or email

SB 1383 Waivers

SB 1383 waivers are available for businesses who qualify:

  1. De minimus waiver: For businesses that generate a minimal amount of compostable (organic) or recyclable materials. 
    • Businesses that have 2 or more cubic yards of total weekly service (landfill and recycling combined) must generate no more than 20 gallons of recyclable/compostable materials per week to qualify.
    • Businesses that have less than 2 cubic yards of total weekly service (landfill and recycle combined) must generate no more than 10 gallons of recyclable/compostable materials per week to qualify. 
  2. Physical space waiver: For businesses where physical space constraints prohibit the addition of recycle and/or compost bins/carts. 

Certification of Recycling Service: Businesses that have alternate arrangements for recycle and/or compost collection service (e.g., the business shares service, back-hauls recyclable or compostable materials, or self-hauls recyclable or compostable materials) must complete the Certification of Recycling Service (CRS) form.

Visit StopWaste’s website to learn more about the available waivers, apply for a SB 1383 waiver, or complete a CRS form.

SB 1383 Enforcement

Failure to comply with SB 1383 requirements may result in a fine effective January 1, 2022 under Union City Municipal Code Chapter 7.24.  

More Information?

When in doubt, find out! Visit our Commercial Publications & Resources page to learn more about waste prevention, proper sorting, and other available programs and services. For more information about the curbside collection program, call Union City Recycles at 510.675.5433.