Organic Waste Program

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Organic Waste – Green Waste and Food Waste

Did you know that about nine million pounds of organic materials go to California's landfills every year?  This organic material could be composted and turned into a valuable soil amendment if diverted and recycled properly.  

Composting is an effective way to create mineral-rich soil naturally.  Finished compost is a natural soil nutrient that improves the texture of the soil and adds important macro and micro nutrients.  Compost retains nutrients from decaying material in a form that is easily absorbed by plants and also retains moisture at a much higher rate than soil without, helping conserve water.

As of 2014, organics such as green waste and food waste make up 34% of California’s overall disposal.  Organics are leaves, grass, pruning’s, trimmings, branches, non-hazardous wood waste, food waste and food-soiled paper. Organics improperly disposed of in the landfill contribute the methane generated by California’s landfills.  Assembly Bill 32 is a comprehensive scoping plan that takes aim at the main strategies California will use to reduces the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change.  The methane that our landfill produces is a major contributor to these greenhouse gasses. In October of 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1826 which requires businesses to implement an organics recycling program, depending upon the businesses waste generation.

To meet these goals, the City of San Luis Obispo started offering food waste collection to business and residents of San Luis Obispo. All residential customers in San Luis Obispo can place their food waste into the green waste for regular weekly collection. San Luis Garbage Company, the City's contract waste hauler has also partnered with Hitachi Zosen to construct and operate an Anaerobic Digestion facility that will be located near the airport. While many of Hitachi Zosen's facilities are in operation in Europe, this will be the first of its kind in the United States. This facility will turn organics into compost and generate electricity from the methane that it generates. For more information on this state of the art facility and how it will help position the City as a leader in organics recycling, please visit Hitachi Zosen's website.

Residential Organics Collection

Sign up for green waste service from San Luis Garbage by calling (805) 543-0875. Once signed up for service, a green waste container will be delivered to your home for weekly collection.  To help divert waste from local landfills and to reduce the amount of methane coming from local landfills, be sure to place your organics into this each week and set it out on the curb for collection by 7:00 am on your day of service.

In your green bin you can place...

  • Yard waste, leaves, vegetable trimmings, grass clippings, brush, prunings;
  • food waste, all cooked and uncooked meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, peels rinds, pasta bread grains and rice.

Please Do NOT place these items in your green waste bin...

  • Poison oak, cactus, palm fronds, bamboo, animal waste, dirt, rocks or hazardous waste, utensils, paper, glass, metal, Styrofoam, liquids, oils, grease, or bags of any kind.