Residential Compostables

Removing organic material from the landfill is a top priority for all of California. When organic material like food waste is landfilled, it breaks down and creates Methane – a greenhouse gas 80x more powerful than Carbon Dioxide. More methane means more global warming, droughts, and wildfires.

As of January 2022, every home, apartment complex, and business in California is required by law to collect their food waste, yard waste, and paper separately from all other waste. The law (SB 1383) aims to reduce harmful methane emissions. Learn more about SB 1383 and other recycling laws here.

Marin Sanitary Service Green Compostables Cart

WHAT GOES IN THE compostables CART

Marin Sanitary Service provides a green cart for the weekly curbside collection of food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste items. All compostable items placed in this cart are taken to Redwood Landfill’s WM EarthCare™ of Marin composting facility in Novato where they are turned into compost approved for organic farming.

MSS Compostables Label - items accepted in the compostables cart such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste


If you can eat it, it can go in the compostables cart!



This list isn’t comprehensive. When in doubt, please use the Where Does It Go, Joe tool to look up a what cart a specific item should go into.

Examples of items that do not go in the MSS compostables cart such as recyclables, plastics, or milk cartons

This list isn’t comprehensive. When in doubt, please use the Where Does It Go, Joe tool to look up a what cart a specific item should go into.

A green compostable bag and bio-degradable utensils and cup, non of which are accepted in MSS compostables carts

Why no compostable or bio-degradable plastics?

We CANNOT accept any plastics labeled as compostable or bio-degradable. If we did, the quality compost WM EarthCare™ produces would lose its organic farming certification. Their compost is certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). OMRI doesn’t allow compostable or bio-degradable plastics as many are actually petroleum based and just break down into micro plastics. Others don’t break down rapidly enough and it is hard to differentiate between compostable and non-compostable plastics.

Please put your compostable plastics or bio-degradable items in your garbage cart or bin.

Where does it go, Joe?

It’s very important that we avoid contaminating our recycling or compostable streams. When in doubt, use our handy “Where Does It Go, Joe?” online tool to find out what material goes in what cart. 

GET JOE ON THE GO! You’ll always have Joe’s sorting advice at your fingertips with the Marin Sanitary Service mobile app. Download it for your Apple Device or Google Device now for free!

Graphic says "Food is not Garbage" the Os in food are an apple and peach

Join California's Climate Food Fight

When organic materials like food scraps are landfilled, they break down anaerobically (without oxygen). This creates methane, a greenhouse gas 84x more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). According to CalRecycle, landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in California. 

Composting your food scraps is a simple step we can all take in our homes, schools, and workplaces to reduce the amount of harmful methane we send into our atmosphere.

Green Waste Vase

Please contact customer service at (415) 456-2601 prior to your service day if you find that your total amount of compostables (yard/food waste) exceeds the capacity of your container. Do not overfill your compostables cart, please!

All residential customers (excluding customers in San Anselmo and Fairfax*) may place up to two additional bags or cans (limit of 32 gallons per container) of yard/food waste out at the curb the night before collection at no charge. Note that bags must be unlined paper, or they will be charged the garbage rate.

Additional bags or cans after the first two are subject to a nominal charge unless it is included in the franchise agreement for your city or town. Contact our customer support team to find out what is covered and how much the service will cost.

*Per the contract, residents in San Anselmo (Tax Body MASA) and Fairfax (Tax Body MAFF) are no longer allowed to set their own cans or bags for yard waste EXCEPT during clean-up days effective 1/2/2021.

Take a look at how your compostables are turned into organic compost at Redwood Landfill.

A garbage cart that shows images of what's inside it and 38% is food and food-soiled paper which belongs in compost
In 2014, Marin Sanitary Service conducted a study to identify the types of materials being sent to landfill. We discovered that 38% of what residents were throwing in the trash could have been composted – the process of turning organic materials such as food scraps, yard waste and compostable paper into a nutrient rich soil for use in gardens, farms and vineyards.

SB 1383 requires that all residents, businesses and local governments in the State of California no longer send any food waste, yard waste, or paper to the landfill.

Have Questions?

Our customer support representatives are available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (415) 456-2601

Recycling Laws

Per California law, compostables (food scraps, plant debris & food-soiled paper) and recycling must be removed from garbage containers.
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