Food Scraps


The organics container is primarily for the collection of acceptable yard waste. Depending on your city, food scraps and food-soiled paper products may also be accepted.

Bags for collecting food scraps: Liners/bags are optional. For at home kitchen collection, consider using a kitchen pail lined with newspaper or a paper bag. Click here for single-family home and multifamily residential best practices. Plastic and bioplastic “compostable” bags are accepted in the organics container, but they must be CLEAR or translucent-green, and contents inside the bag must be visible. Although we “accept” these bags, they will be ripped open to liberate the contents, and will not be recycled or composted (no matter the material type or certification).  Although clear, Ziploc bags are not allowed for collecting food scraps as they are difficult to rip open at the compost facility. No other bioplastics are allowed in the Organics Container.

Does my city accept food scraps and food-soiled paper in the organics container?
– Commercial Accounts: Athens can provide food scrap collection for most business accounts. Check your city for verification.
– Residential Accounts: Currently, not all cities have added food scrap collection to their services. Check your city for verification.
– If your city does not accept food scraps in the organics container, please place food in the trash container. 

Acceptable Food Scraps:
– bread, pasta & rice
– cheese & dairy
– coffee grounds & filters
– flowers & herbs
– fruits & vegetables
– meat, bones & poultry
– seafood, & soft shells (e.g. lobster, crab, & shrimp)

NOT Accepted in Organics Container:
– Bioplastics
Fats, oils, grease (FOG)
– Food stickers, rubber bands, & twist ties
– Hard shells (clam, mussels, oysters)
– Pure animal renderings (i.e. any inedible meat scraps, fish scraps, bones, fat, blood, or organs).
– Tea Bags & coffee pods

Did you know? California Senate Bill 1383 requires all cities to provide food scrap recycling options for commercial and residential accounts. Athens is working closely with our city partners to ensure this service is available to all in the near future. Watch this video on how to participate!

Resources: For additional resources, check out Athens Organics Recycling page.


Compost It

Adding food waste to a backyard compost pile diverts organic waste from ending up in a landfill. Items that cannot be composted include: dairy products, meat, or fats and oils. Find out more about backyard composting.

sink drain

Never Pour Hot Oil Down Drain

Don’t pour hot oil or fat down the drain or straight into the garbage. Learn how to dispose of cooking oil or grease.

Ways to Reduce


Avoid Food Waste

Be strategic about how you store and eat your produce. Vegetarian Times provides a great explanation of why some veggies and fruit go bad before others, and offers a handy chart to help you plan your week.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Create a Detailed Meal Plan

One way to reduce food waste is to create a detailed meal plan for the week and build a shopping list around that meal plan. This better ensures everything will get consumed. Check out this meal planner from


How You Store It

The shelves, drawers and doors of your refrigerator are designed to hold different types of foods. When food is stored as intended, it will last longer and save you an extra trip to the store. Learn more about proper fridge organization.

Ways to Reuse

Donate to a Food Bank

Consider donating unused food to families in need. Food banks generally accept these items: non-perishable proteins, kids’ snacks, traditional holiday food, condiments and spices, personal hygiene products, as well as baby food, formula and diapers.

Did You Know?

The Impact of Food Waste

According to this PDF fact sheet by the NRDC, the United States invests much of its natural resources on growing food: 50 percent of land and 80 percent of fresh water in the United States is used for agriculture. Meanwhile, 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted, and 41 million Americans live in food-insecure households.

I Value Food: A Campaign to End Food Waste

The Perfect Compost Recipe

Can I Make My Compost Pile Break Down Faster?

Your compost pile breaks down faster if you mix together the right amounts of green and brown material. Your brown to green ratio is based off of your carbon to nitrogen ratio: 25-30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen is ideal. Keep in mind that food or yard waste all have different C:N ratios (shown here). Don’t get out your calculator for these ratios, instead just eyeball how much you put into the compost pile.