Three-Cart System

As part of its ongoing sustainability efforts, Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) is implementing a residential three-cart curbside collection program! This new system is customer friendly, increases diversion from landfills, promotes source separation and will meet State regulatory requirements. 

On January 23, 2023, CMSD’s Board of Directors approved an amendment to the solid waste agreement with CR&R Incorporated, establishing the three-cart waste collection system. This recent amendment is one step among many in CMSD’s compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. Learn more about SB 1383.

This means there will be some changes in how customers sort their waste and in how CMSD’s waste hauler, CR&R, collects and processes organic and recyclable materials. Along with the black/dark green Mixed Waste and green Organics Carts customers already use, CR&R will deliver a Recycling Cart with a blue lid to every CMSD trash customer by fall 2024.

What does this mean for you?
CMSD is partnering with CR&R to provide safe and reliable curbside collection services for customers. Once the three-cart curbside collection program is debuted, you will simply sort recyclables in your new Recycling Cart with a blue lid. You will continue to dispose of organic waste in your existing Organics Cart with a green lid, while your existing Mixed Waste Cart will be used for landfill waste and relabeled as a Trash Cart with a black lid.

The new Recycling Cart will be designated for recyclables such as clean paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and tin cans, and plastic. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the requirements changing?
A focus on recycling organic materials is central to California’s efforts to combat climate change. When organic materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) in a landfill, they produce methane, which is one of the most potent climate pollutants in the atmosphere and a major contributor to climate change. In addition to requiring organic material recycling, SB 1383 requires jurisdictions with a two-cart system to transition to a three-cart system when their waste is not processed at a high diversion waste processing facility. The CMSD Board elected to move forward with a three-cart system since upgrading the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that processes CMSD's waste would be cost-prohibitive.
What items are acceptable in my Recycling Cart?
  • Clean paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Aluminum and tin cans
  • Plastic
Dirty items should be rinsed and then placed directly in your recycling cart. Keep it loose; recyclables should not be bagged.
What items are acceptable in my Organics Cart?
  • Bread, rice, grains
  • Coffee grounds, tea and coffee filters
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy products (cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt)
  • Meat and seafood*
  • Snack foods (chips, nuts, crackers, etc.)
  • Cooking oil and grease
  • Compostable and brown paper bags
  • Food-soiled paper (e.g. used napkins and paper towels, greasy pizza box)
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves and flowers
  • Pruning and weeds**
*Please do not place meat or fish bones in the Organics Cart. Those belong in the Trash Cart!
**Palm fronds should be added to the Trash Cart rather than the Organics Cart.
What items are acceptable in my Trash Cart?
  • Broken glass/mirrors
  • Styrofoam
  • Diapers 
  • Pet waste and cat litter
  • Flexible packaging (such as plastic bags, plastic film, drink pouches, etc.)
  • Other landfilled materials
I only have two carts. When will I receive a third cart?
Along with the black/dark green Mixed Waste and green Organics Carts customers already use, CR&R will deliver a Recycling Cart with a blue lid to every CMSD trash customer by fall 2024. The existing Mixed Waste Cart will be used for landfill waste and relabeled as a Trash Cart with a black lid.
What is organic waste?
Organic waste is any material that is biodegradable and comes from either a plant or an animal. Biodegradable waste is organic material that can be broken into carbon dioxide, methane or simple organic molecules.
Where will organic waste go?
After organic waste is collected, it is sent to a local composting facility or an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Facility, where it is turned into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) to power CR&R's collection vehicles. 

Recovered organic waste products can:
  • Benefit local communities and spaces
  • Improve soil and air quality
  • Support local environmental initiatives, such as Climate Action Plans
CalRecycle assigns an annual procurement target to each jurisdiction based on its population. Jurisdictions can fulfill their target by procuring any combination of the following recovered organic waste products:
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Renewable Energy (Transportation Fuel, Heat, and Electricity) from Anaerobic Digestion and Electricity from Biomass Conversion
Each jurisdiction has the flexibility to choose what mix of recovered organic waste products it wants to procure, and may choose to either use or donate these products to meet its procurement target, depending on its local needs. Per CalRecycle, these procurement requirements will strengthen California’s green, self-sustaining economy. Demand for these products will drive infrastructure investment and create new green collar jobs in the state.
Am I required to participate? What if I don't change anything about how I dispose of my trash?
Yes, everyone is required to participate and properly sort discarded materials into the correct carts. If you choose not to participate, you may receive contamination charges. The State of California has mandated that beginning January 1, 2024, jurisdictions must issue Notices of Violation and fines for residents and businesses who are not participating.