woman placing vegetable peels in recycling containerOrganics Recycling Program

Launched in June of 2015, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District's (CMSD) Organics Recycling Program was the first residential program of its kind in Southern California. This program allows CMSD customers to recycle organic waste like yard trimmings (green waste) and food scraps by simply placing them in a curbside Organics Recycling Cart for weekly pickup. Once collected, the organic materials are converted into compost and renewable natural gas (RNG) through state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion technology. The resulting compost is given away to residents through an annual Compost Giveaway event and the RNG is used to fuel the trash collection fleet.


What Goes in the Organics Recycling Cart?trash container

Yard/Green Waste

  • Grass clippings
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Prunings
  • Weeds
Kitchen/Food Waste

  • Bread, grains, rice
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Coffee grounds, tea & filters
  • Dairy products (cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt)
  • Snack foods (chips, nuts, crackers)
  • FOG (fats, oil, and grease)
  • Acceptable liners & bags:
    • Brown paper bags
    • Sheets of newspaper
    • Certified compostable bags

What Does NOT Go in the Organics Recycling Cart?

  • Non-organic materials: plastic, glass, metal, aluminum, tin, Styrofoam, cardboard, paper [other than newspaper & brown paper bags], etc.
  • Palm fronds* (since palm fronds tend to be dry and stringy in texture, they can clog the anaerobic digester)
  • Pet waste*
  • Bones from meat and fish*
  • Compostable foodware* (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, etc.)
*While these materials are organic, they should not be placed in the Organics Recycling Cart because they are not easily broken down during the anaerobic digestion process and they do not add nutritional value to the resulting natural gas and compost.



Additional Resources


Questions or Requests?

If you have any trash related questions or requests, please use the following resources:

  • For service requests, such as reporting a missed pickup or requesting a large item pickup, please submit a request online.
  • To find answers to commonly asked questions, please visit our Organics Recycling FAQs page.
  • If you're unable to find an answer to your question, please contact District staff at (949) 645-8400 during our business hours or email us.