Who can participate?

All commercial businesses including restaurants, schools, hotels, and special events venues may participate.

Why should I participate?

Joining the Organics to Energy program saves natural resources and potentially money for your business. Join over 55 local businesses and brand yourself as eco-friendly by requesting an Organics to Energy decal for your store or restaurant window that let your customers know you are a participant! Starting in 2016, composting is mandatory for some businesses under state law AB 1826. Check out the the Asilomar and Bernardus case studies to see how they benefited from joining the program.

How do I set up service?

Your hauler offers technical assistance to work directly with your business to make service recommendations, maximize your savings, and answer questions. Choose your area from the Get Started drop-down menu to find contact information for your local hauler, whether it is Green Waste Recovery, Monterey City Disposal, Republic Services, or Waste Management. Visited our Get Started page for more information on the steps to start service.

How can I collect food scraps?

Separate food waste from your garbage and recycling in a plastic bin. GreenWaste Recovery and Waste Management offer starter kits of collection bins for inside your business. Rubbermaid slim jims are an industry standard for collecting food scraps, since they fit under counter surfaces in commercial kitchens.

Where do I start with staff training?

Most haulers participating in the Organics to Energy program offer trainings for your staff free of charge. Contact us if you need additional support from your local government outreach recycling coordinator.

What goes into an organics bin?

Food scraps, including raw fruit and vegetable scraps, cooked food, meat, dairy products and bones are all accepted. Additionally, BPI certified compostable paper products, cups, utensils and bags are also accepted. Check out a complete list of items accepted and not accepted.

What kinds of bags can I use?

You can use bags that BPI certified compostable bags that are made with plastics from plant-based polymers. Visit their website to search the catalogue of accepted products. Many businesses use the brand BioBags.

Where can I purchase compostable bags?

Most major retailers and office supply companies now sell certified compostable bags.

What will it cost?

Each hauler has a different rate structure. However, most food waste rates are the same or lower than the cost of garbage service. Case studies have found that many participating businesses are able to lower their disposal costs after getting a waste assessment by their hauler through different product purchasing, increasing recycling and decreasing garbage service. Find you hauler under the Get Started started drop-down menu to contact your hauler and arrange a free assessment.

What bins do I use for collection?

16 gallon green Slim Jims are commonly used to collect organics in kitchens and businesses, before food scraps are taken to the curbside bin. They fit under counters and hold standard sized compostable bags. Some people choose to roll a 32 gallon cart provided by the hauler into their kitchen or facility, and then rolling it out to the curb the evening before their collection day. However, you can use whatever container that fits your needs inside, so long as the food scraps are in the hauler bin for collection.

How are the organics stored before they leave my property?

Your hauler will provide you with a cart or bin to pick up the food scraps, just like you already have for garbage and recycling. You can choose to bag your organics in a BPI certified compostable bag, or you can place them in the bin bagless. Your hauler may provide a periodic bin washing service to help mitigate odors and pests; contact them for more details.

How do I rearrange tight spaces?

Your hauler will help assess your space constraints and needs. In some cases, bins can be switched out to carts or organic service might be shared with a neighbor to help save space.

Will it smell or attract animals?

Food scraps are just going in a different container than before. We recommend emptying your food scrap container daily to minimize odors and using compostable bags to keep insects and animals out. You can also request multiple days a week service so that your bin is emptied frequently. Your hauler may also provide a periodic bin washing service on request; contact them for details.