Food & Yard

Composting valuable organic materials such as food, garden and grass clippings, brush, untreated wood, and food-soiled paper can build healthy soils, keep materials out of the landfill, conserve water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help grow our local economy.

  1. Food
  2. Yard

Single-Family Residents

Prevent food from going to the landfill by:
  • Using these food waste prevention tips for residents.
  • Composting at home. See our Backyard Composting Made Easy brochure for more information on backyard composting.  Arcata residents can purchase a discounted backyard compost bin for $35 upon presentation of a water bill/receipt or a rental contract/receipt at the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department, 736 F Street, during regular business hours. Renters must obtain approval from their landlords or property owners prior to purchase. 
  • Learn to compost and grasscycle by checking out videos and books from the Arcata Library

Multifamily & Business

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law (AB 1826) was signed in 2014 to help achieve California's recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals. AB 1826 requires businesses that generate a specified amount of organic waste per week to arrange for waste recycling services, and for jurisdictions to implement a recycling program to divert organic waste from businesses. 

These businesses include multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units. Please note that multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program.

Types of Organic Waste 

Businesses must arrange for recycling services for the follow types of organic waste:
  • Food waste
  • Green waste
  • Landscaping/pruning waste
  • Non-hazardous wood waste 

​Who Must Comply 

   Businesses and Multi-family Complexes Recycling Thresholds
 April 1, 2016 Generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
 January 1, 2017 Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week 
 January 1, 2019 Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week 
 Current Generators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week  

For more information, please visit CalRecycle's Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling page.

Business Tips to Prevent Food Waste

Reducing food waste saves money and resources by reducing your purchasing, handling, disposal and energy costs. Additionally, your business can receive tax benefits from donating edible food to local food banks and other food rescue organizations.
  • Assess and track what food is being wasted.
  • Choose the best waste reduction strategy for the opportunities that exist at your facility.
  • Adjust food purchasing policies to prevent excess food purchasing.
  • Adjust menus to reduce frequently uneaten or wasted items.
  • Adjust preparation methods and portion sizes to minimize waste.
  • Store food properly to avoid spoilage.
  • Repurpose leftovers.

How to Divert Food from Landfills

  • Donate pre-consumer food to local food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters.
  • Donate pre-consumer food to local farmers.
  • Compost post-consumer food and keep it out of the landfill.

​Edible Food Rescue Capacity Assessment 

In 2021 Zero Waste Humboldt completed an Edible Food Rescue Capacity Assessment for the City of Arcata and City of Eureka. This assessment included outreach to local food waste generators (grocery stores, food distributors, food vendors, restaurants, hotels, health facilities, and educational agencies), as well as in depth interviews with local food recovery organizations. 

This report gives insight to local food waste and food security issues, and can be read in its entirety by clicking here