Organic waste accounts for 35% of the materials thrown away in California, and food waste alone accounts for approximately 18%. When disposed of in a landfill food waste produces a powerful greenhouse gas called methane. The State of California has set goals to reduce the generation of greenhouse gases by requiring cities to divert organic waste that goes into landfills. In an effort to meet these statewide waste diversion requirements, the City of Santa Clara will be launching a pilot residential food scrap recycling collection program this fall.

Two pre-selected routes serving approximately 4,800 households will participate in the pilot program. Participants will be notified by mail and will receive a helpful kit with educational materials, a new split-cart with two compartments (one designated for food scraps and the other for garbage), a kitchen pail to collect food scraps, and a starter supply of plastic liners for the kitchen pail. Any type of clear plastic bag (i.e. bread bag or produce bag) is also acceptable for use.

The cart will be serviced on the residents' regular collection day by a specialized vehicle fitter with a split-body to keep garbage and food scraps separate. 

The pilot collection system will be evaluated for convenience and amount of organic material that is diverted from our landfills.

MTWS split cart graphic

What food scraps are accepted?

  • Meats and bones
  • Seafood
  • Beans and nuts
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bread, pasta, and rice
  • Eggs, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves

What is not accepted?

  • Paper products including plates, cups and containers
  • Compostable food ware
  • To-go containers
  • Soiled pizza boxes
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues

 (These items should be placed in the garbage side of your bin)

Make sure to recycle all aluminum, plastic, glass and cardboard in your blue Recycling bin, yard trimmings in your Clean Green bin, and dispose of household hazardous waste responsibly through

Forming a new habit - like separating food scraps from your garbage - takes time and patience, and we are committed to assist you along the way. Please contact our Environmental Programs staff at or call (408) 615-3080 with any questions or concerns. 

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