City of Sacramento reaches major milestone with its organic waste recycling program

The City of Sacramento’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division recently reached a major milestone, giving away approximately 30,000 kitchen pails over the past year to assist residents with organic waste recycling.

“We received feedback last year that residents were concerned about odor and pests, especially in the hot weather, and we wanted to provide the kitchen pails to help,” said Jesa David, spokesperson for the Recycling and Solid Waste Division. “We are very pleased that so many residents are using the pails and doing their parts to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.”

A kitchen pail provided by the City of Sacramento.

The City launched its organic waste recycling program on July 1, 2022, rolling out the new collection service to approximately 133,000 curbside customers. As part of the program, City of Sacramento residents must dispose of food scraps and food soiled paper in their yard/green waste container, which is picked up the same day as garbage collection.

The City’s program aligns with California State Senate Bill 1383, which aims at reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. Instead of going to the landfill and creating more greenhouse gases, food scraps and food-soiled paper are processed with yard waste and turned into a nutrient rich compost that is used as a soil amendment by local farmers.

Food scraps collected at home can be kept in a pail, bowl, or repurposed kitchen container such as a yogurt tub or coffee can. Paper bags or “BPI-Certified” compostable bags are allowed in the program to help efficiently transport food scraps to a resident’s yard/green waste container.

Organic waste includes fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, seafood, dairy, grains, spoiled food, and food-soiled paper such as coffee filters, teabags, used napkins, and uncoated paper plates. Residents can check the Waste Wizard if in doubt as to where an item should go.

The Recycling and Solid Waste Division continues to give away pails while supplies last (limit one per household). Sacramento residents can contact to request one for their home, and City staff will provide distribution information. Pails come with a supply of “BPI-Certified” compostable bags and other information about the program.

Here are tips for keeping your organics container odor- and pest-free this summer:

  • Line the kitchen container with compostable bags or paper (newspaper, a paper bag, shredded paper).
  • Keep food scraps in the refrigerator or freezer until collection day.
  • Use the City provided kitchen pail which has a “soft lock” to keep household pets from getting into food scraps.
  • Sprinkle baking soda inside the kitchen container to absorb odor.
  • Layer yard waste (leaves, grass, tree prunings, etc.) or food-soiled paper over food scraps in the outdoor container.
  • Put your container out for collection every week, even if it is not full.

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