Close Panel

Commercial Foodscraps CompostingCity Trash & Recycling

Commercial Foodscraps Composting Program

Up and running since 2009, Santa Barbara's commercial foodscraps composting program has over 200 participating businesses: coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, schools, plus a few office-based companies and multi-unit apartment buildings.

Did you know that as of January 1, 2017, businesses that generate 4 cubic yards of organic waste per week are mandated to recycle their organic waste? Read about the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law (AB 1826) on CalRecycle's website. 

Downloadable Materials:

About The Program

Foodscraps are food and soiled paper sorted from your trash. These materials can be diverted from the landfill and turned into compost.

Foodscraps are picked up by the City’s waste hauler, MarBorg, just like your recycling and trash.

 Sorting out your foodscraps helps the environment in two ways:

  1. Diverts material from the landfill. When foodscraps are buried they do not only take up a lot of space, but also produce greenhouse gases as they break down.
  2. Foodscraps are turned into compost. Compost is a soil amendment used by local farmers and on public parks and school grounds.

Foodscraps collection is half the cost of trash service. The more foodscraps you separate from your trash, the more you save!

Where do we send our foodscraps?  

Our foodscraps go from the local County Transfer Station to Agromin, a commercial composting facility in Oxnard. They spend several weeks in windrows, heated to 131 degrees, to produce a high-quality soil amendment.

New Video: Introduction To The Yellow Bin Program

Interested in joining the program?

  1. Schedule a preliminary meeting with a Recycling Specialist at City Trash and Recycling to discuss program and service changes. Contact Us at 564-5631.
  2. Schedule training with a Recycling Specialist to educate your staff in foodscraps sorting.
  3. Place colored bins in the kitchen.  It is important to keep blue and yellow bins clearly marked and permanently placed. This will make sorting easy for your staff. 

Call to inquire about setting up Foodscraps composting service: (805) 564-5631

Details on the Foodscraps Program

How It Works at Trader Joe's

Helpful Resources

  • Getting Started with Foodscraps Composting in 5 easy steps (PDF in revision): 2 pages front and back flyer that explains how the foodscraps program works, what goes in the yellow bin, and how to get started
  • Do’s and Don’ts (PDF): One sheet with the most important practices for food-serving businesses
  • BPI Logo: Certified compostable national standard logo. Paper items with this logo are accepted in the program. Certified compostable plastic or polylactic acid (PLA) products are not allowed in the Foodscraps Program. 

Outdoor Bin Sizes & Frequencies

Outdoor foodscraps containers are available in the following sizes:

  • Carts: 35 gal, 65 gal
  • Dumpsters: 1.5 & 2 cubic yards (made of heavy-duty plastic to prevent odors and leaking) 

We also offer indoor bins at cost for the convenience of our customers.

What Can I Put in the Yellow Foodscraps Bin?


  • Food Scraps
    • Bread, grains and pasta
    • Coffee grounds with paper filter
    • Dairy
    • Eggshells and eggs
    • Fruit (pits and shells too)
    • Leftovers and spoiled food
    • Meat (including bones)
    • Seafood (including shellfish)
    • Tea and tea bags
    • Vegetables
  • Food Soiled Paper
    • Coffee filters
    • Greasy pizza boxes
    • Paper cups and plates
    • Paper bags, napkins, tissues and towels
    • Paper take-out boxes and containers
      (metal handle OK)
    • Parchment Paper
  • Natural cork
  • Compostable Plastic Bags and Regular Clear Plastic Bags (we allow these for collection but are removed during processing)


  • Aluminum Foil and Trays
    Please rinse and recycle these.
  • "Biodegradable" plastic
    'Biodegradable' is not a certified standard for any method of disposal. Please reuse these materials or put them in the landfill.
  • Cat litter or animal feces
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Clothing linens and rags
  • "Compostable" plastic cups, utensils, plates. If it looks and feels like plastic, it's a plastic.
  • Cooking oil
  • Corks - plastic
    Plastic corks can go in the blue bin to be recycled.
  • Diapers  
  • Flower pots or trays
    If these are plastic and relatively clean they can be recycled in the blue bin.
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Glass, metal or plastic not labeled "Compostable"
    Please recycle these materials in the blue bin.
  • Juice or soy milk type boxes with foil liner
  • Liquids or ice
  • Plastic bags, wrappers
  • Plastic labeled "compostable"
  • Recyclable/clean cardboard or paper
    Please recycle these materials.
  • Styrofoam
    We are currently unable to recycle styrofoam. Although you might see a recycling symbol on it, and it is made of recyclable materials, it is made of so much air that there is currently not a viable market for this material.
Aluminum Foil and Trays. Please rinse and recycle these.

Last Updated: Mar 2, 2020
Top of Page