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Compost Collection Services

Compost (Green Can) Service

Use Your Green Can for Compost

What Goes Where

Not sure how to properly dispose of something? Search our What Goes Where tool to find out if a material can be reused, recycled, composted, or disposed of in your trash.

As you begin to type in a material, the What Goes Where tool will predict the entry and offer helpful material suggestions and synonyms that may not be an exact match but will likely be a larger category bucket that your material falls into. For example, a search for “plastic honey jar” will result in a few suggestions, the correct match is “plastic sauce bottle.”


How it Works

Food scraps and food-soiled paper make up about 23% of Marin's residential waste stream, and as much as 40% of all food harvested is wasted in one way or another as described in this excellent short video. When you compost in your green can, your organic waste will be diverted from the landfill to create a rich and nutritious soil amendment that can be put back in the earth, closing the "recycling loop."

  • Collect your food scraps and food-soiled paper items in kitchen pails, bowls or bins and then transfer the food scraps to your green compost can along with your yard waste.
  • We empty your green compost can once a week and transport your organics to The Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center.
  • Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste are processed into Homegrown Compost, a premium, affordable compost which you can purchase directly from The Redwood Landfill's WM EarthCare™ Center in Novato.EarthCare
  • Gardeners and farmers apply compost to soil to improve moisture retention and nutrient value of soil. Plants grow... and the cycle continues!

What happens to your food and yard waste?

Commercial Food Composting

Commercial businesses that generate a lot of food waste, such as restaurants and supermarkets, will have to begin composting that food waste in the near future. Currently, California law AB 1826, requires businesses that generate eight yards or more of food waste per week to compost. That is such a huge amount of food waste that it impacts only a few businesses.

However, in the next few years, lower levels of food waste generated per week phase in, and eventually ALL businesses that generate such waste will be required to compost it. The best way to learn about AB 1826 is to visit CalRecycle’s website.

Although your business may not generate enough food waste to fall under the mandatory composting rules now, there’s no need to wait if you want to begin food composting. Your current trash bill already includes a limited amount of compost service, and MVRS offers additional food composting service options if needed. For information about those options, go to our Garbage Service page and click on the Terms & Conditions link for the town in which your business is located. Under the Commercial section of those Terms, you will see the heading Additional Compost Service Available, which spells out how to add more compost service. Or call our office at 415-457-9760, X 12. 

Apartment and Condo Complexes Can Compost Too

Single-family residents have been composting their food waste for years now. Apartment and condo complex residents can participate too. Some that already are include the Cove Apartments in Tiburon, the Villa Tiburon apartments in Strawberry, Eucalyptus Knolls in Mill Valley, and Sandpiper Circle in Corte Madera, among others.

If you're a tenant in an apartment building or a condo owner, and your complex is not yet participating in our food composting program, just ask your property manager to call our office to learn how easy it is to become an Active Participant in food composting (Learn how here). We will supply one kitchen countertop pail for each unit in an apartment or condo complex, plus green compost carts at no extra charge to the existing trash bill. We can provide these services only if requested by a person authorized to order service for your complex (usually a representative of the management company whose name is on the trash bill). Tell the manager or property owner they may be able to reduce the cost of trash service by becoming and Active Participant in food composting. If enough tenants reduce their waste stream by composting food waste, your apartment or condo complex may be able to reduce the number of trash cans your complex is currently using.

Property owners may be able to reduce rates by becoming an Active Participant in food composting. Learn how here.

Why Compost With Your Green Can

  • To help reach Marin County's goal of diverting 80% of our waste stream away from the landfill.
  • To preserve the life of Marin's only landfill by diverting a major component of our waste stream.
  • To reduce the production of methane gas in the landfill, which contributes to global warming. (Methane is created when food rots in the airless environment of a landfill. It is not created in a compost operation because of the presence of oxygen.)
  • More items (such as meat, bones and soiled paper) can be composted in this program than in an individuals typical backyard compost pile.
  • Save water by eliminating the need to use household garbage disposals.
  • You might be able to reduce the size of the trash can you require, saving you money.
  • It may eventually lead to health code changes that would make it possible to pick up garbage less frequently, reducing the carbon footprint of hauling trucks.

Don't Use Plastic Bags in Green Cans

Because food scraps and yard waste are being composted together, we can't pick up yard waste in plastic bags. If you have extra yard waste that you want taken away and composted, it must be placed in cans that we are able to dump out or large paper bags designed for yard waste (available in many stores).

Yard waste in plastic bags will have to be dumped as garbage; charges will apply. 

Got Questions?

Please see our Compost FAQs.

You might also find these downloadable pdfs helpful: