Oakland Recycles - Your Recycling Team
Compost Cart and Bin


Compost service is required under Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 8.28. Putting food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plant debris in the compost is one of the easiest ways to reduce methane emissions and slow climate change.
compost acceptable items

Acceptable Items

Only the following items are allowed in the compost cart or bin:

Food Scraps: Fruits/vegetables, meat and bones, egg shells, dairy, beans, and grains/bread.

Soiled Paper: Napkins/paper towels, pizza boxes, shredded paper, uncoated fiber to-go containers, paper coffee filters, and paper tea bags.

Untreated Wood:  Single-use chopsticks, popsicle sticks, wooden stir sticks, wood corks 

Plant Debris: Grass clippings, branches, leaves, and cut flowers.

compost unacceptable items

Unacceptable Items

Below are a few common items improperly placed in compost carts and bins that prevent your organic material from coming back as compost.

Plastic Bags: Do not put compostable items in plastic bags, even those labeled “compostable”.

“Compostable” Plastic Foodware: Place in trash.

Diapers and Pet Waste: Place in trash.

Plastic Bottles and Tubs, Glass Bottles and Jars, and Metal: Place in recycle.

Polystyrene (“Styrofoam”): Place in trash.

Hazardous Waste: View disposal options.

Plant Debris


  • Yard & Landscaping
  • Unpainted, untreated wood
  • Palm, Yucca
  • Cactus
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves, Weeds
  • Branches, Pruning
  • Brush


  • Dirt or rocks
  • Sod
  • Treated or painted wood or lumber

Food Scraps


  • Raw or cooked vegetable
  • Fruit
  • Grain
  • Fish
  • Meat, Bones
  • Dairy products
  • Egg shells
  • Nut shells
  • Small amounts of cooking fats, oil or kitchen grease


  • Large amounts of fats, oil or kitchen grease

Food-soiled paper


  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper cups & plates (non plastic-lined)
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Coffee filters, tea bags
  • Shredded Paper


  • Plastic-lined paper (milk cartons, coffee cups)

Other unacceptable items

  • Plastic bags (do not bag compostables)
  • Diapers
  • Pet Waste
  • Recyclables (plastic, glass or metal)
  • Clean paper or cardboard (should be recycled)
  • Polystyrene foam
  • Hazardous Waste (batteries, chemicals, paint, etc.)

Tips for Composting

  1. Use a paper bag or reusable container to collect compostables. Toss compostables directly into the outside cart or bin – not in plastic bags.
  2. You can reduce the “ick” factory by using shredded paper or newspaper to line your compost container.
  3. Keeping your compost container in the fridge or freezer prevents insects and odor.

Did You Know?

  1. Organic waste releases methane gas if it is thrown in the trash and landfilled. Place food scraps, soiled paper, and plant debris into your compost cart or bin so it has a chance to come back as nutrients for soil.
  2. Plastic bags do not break down and contaminate compost. Do not place your compostable material in plastic bags. 
  3. Reducing food waste is a big step in reducing greenhouse gases. Visit StopWaste.org for tips on reducing food waste in your home or business.