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Local jurisdictions have contracts with franchised garbage companies to provide service for the collection of garbage, recycling and yard debris for residences and businesses. Here in Mendocino County if your garbage company provides a green cart, then the following accepted and not accepted materials apply.

Want to check out our handy guide to organics? Download the organics pamphlet here!

Why recycle food scraps?
Organic material including food, leaves, and prunings are the largest unrecycled portion of the residential waste stream. In fact, according to a recent Waste Characterization Study, about 31% of residential garbage is organics, including 17.3% food waste — a resource that could be used instead of landfilled.



•  All fruits and vegetables including peelings, pits, and shells
•  Bread, grains, pasta, and rice
•  Coffee grounds and tea leaves
•  Dairy products
•  Eggshells and eggs
•  Food leftovers and spoiled food (packaging removed)
•  Meat including bones
•  Seafood including shellfish and shells

•  Greasy pizza boxes and paper bags
•  Paper coffee filters and tea bags
•  Paper napkins, tissues, and paper towels
•  Paper plates (non-coated/without film plastic liner)
•  Paper take-out boxes and containers (non-coated/without film plastic liner)

•  All plant debris and landscape prunings including flowers, leaves, and weeds
•  Tree trimmings including branches, stumps, and trunks (make sure lid closes completely)

•  Cooking grease: small amounts soaked up with a paper towel
•  Cotton balls and cotton swabs with paper stems
•  Hair (non-synthetic/non-colored)
•  Unpainted drywall
•  Wood ashes (cold)
•  Wood chips
•  Wood materials: small pieces of clean wood/sawdust
•  Wooden chopsticks, coffee stirrers, and toothpicks


•  PLASTIC PRODUCTS including bags, bottles, containers, and wrap
•  Aluminum foil or trays
•  Biodegradable or compostable plastics (bags, utensils, cups)
•  Carpet
•  Cat Litter
•  Ceramic dishware or glassware
•  Clothing, linen, and rags
•  Concrete or rocks
•  Dead mammals
•  Diapers
•  Dryer lint
•  Flower pots or trays
•  Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper (i.e., Tetra Pac)
•  Garbage
•  Household hazardous waste
•  Insulation
•  Juice or milk cartons
•  Medical waste including needles and sharps
•  Menstrual products
•  Pet waste
•  Plywood, press board, painted, stained, or treated wood
•  Recyclables
•  Styrofoam
•  Waxed cardboard/paper


Compostable plastics are not a good choice.
Common examples are garbage bags, clear cups, utensils, and compostable plastic garden pots. Problems with compostable plastics in the yard debris cart are:

  • They degrade too slowly for most municipal composting programs.
  • There is no easy differentiation from conventional plastics (e.g., no identifying color). Unless there is a clear identification system, compostable plastics look like conventional plastics and are sorted out as garbage.


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Our Location

Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority
3200 Taylor Drive, Ukiah, CA 95482