You have to recycle your food waste, regardless of where you live in Sacramento County starting this month.
Even though officials have been prepping residents for the new food mandate for months, collecting organic waste without smells and rodents is still at the top of some people’s list of hesitations with the new rule.
How do I reduce pests and odors?
To eliminate or decrease pests and odors inside the home, the city suggests storing your scraps inside a bag and placing it in the freezer or refrigerator until it’s time to dump it into the waste container the night before collection. Just remember, if the bag you collect your scraps is not compostable, empty the scraps loosely into the bin.
Residents can also empty food scraps in a kitchen counter top compost bin, coffee can or tube, plastic bucket or bowl — just as long as it has a lid if it’s not dumped daily, the county wrote on its website.
Once your waste is tossed inside your organics bin, the county said it shouldn’t be an issue because what’s being recycled would’ve been tossed in the trash can previously. Just make sure the bin is lined with leaves, newspaper or paper bags to keep it clean.
What belongs in my organics bin?
Before tossing any organic food waste material into the bin, remove stickers, twist ties and rubber bands from the produce.
Here’s what should be recycled as organic food and green waste material, according to the county website, which is the same for the city:
- Meat (including bones)
- Coffee grounds
- Paper coffee filters
- Tea bags
- Food soiled paper: paper towels and napkins, paper plates, greasy pizza boxes, paper lunch bags
- Food scraps: moldy food, leftovers, rotting food
- Green waste: branches, grass, leaves, tree trimmings, prunings
Here’s what shouldn’t go into the bin, according to the website:
- Plastic bags
- Takeout containers
- Pet waste
- Water hoses
State law prohibits putting organic waste in the trash or mixed recycling can, according to Cal Recycle.
Pet waste shouldn’t be placed in your organics bin. The city strongly suggests people continue to place their pet waste and cat litter in garbage bins.
What are the new waste rules?
City residents living in apartment buildings of five units or more should’ve been recycling their organic waste in property-provided bins since the beginning of the year, according to the city of Sacramento. The start date for city residents living in single-family homes and duplexes up to fourplexes is July 1.
The county’s organics program is similar to the city’s, except for a few details.
Starting Monday, July 4, residents living in the unincorporated part of Sacramento County who receive curbside green waste service will be required to toss their organic food and green waste material into green waste carts (or organics cart) for weekly pick up, according to the county’s waste management and recycling page.
Residents who don’t comply with the new organic waste mandate could see fines up to $500, but not starting until 2024. Until then, the city will be focused on educating its residents about the ins and outs of separating their organic waste material correctly.
This story was originally published July 1, 2022 5:00 AM.