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Folsom, CA 95630
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Government » - Public Works » Waste and Recycling
Organics Recycling Program
The City of Folsom is launching an enhanced organics recycling program to preserve our city’s distinctive natural environment and comply with a new state law designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The law, SB 1383, requires all California residents and businesses to recycle organic waste. Organic waste includes food waste, food-soiled paper (napkins, coffee filters), yard waste, and wood.
The changes will help improve environmental health and preserve Folsom’s high quality of life. Folsom’s food waste and yard trimmings will be transformed into compost for farms, gardens, and parks to use.Here’s everything you need to know about the program for residential single family homes, apartments, and businesses.
Residential Organics/Food Waste Program Began in July 2022
Beginning July 1, all Folsom residents can start adding bagged food scraps and food-soiled paper into their existing yard waste bin. Please use a clear plastic or compostable bag. Organics carts will be serviced weekly.
Kitchen pails are available to all Folsom residents (one per household) at the following community events:
- No more pail pickup events this month. Check back soon for details on upcoming opportunities!
Use your kitchen pail to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper. Check out our kitchen pail guide to learn more about using this tool.
What is organic waste?
Organic waste includes food waste, food-soiled paper (napkins, coffee filters), yard waste, and wood.
What materials are approved to go into each bin?
- Green Bin Approved Items Starting July 2022
- Current List of Blue Bin Approved Items
- Current List of Acceptable Landfill Items
The Waste and Recycling Division of the City of Folsom will work with communities that do not currently have green bins to determine the best green bin options.
Free Self-serve Compost Information
Free compost is now available to all Folsom residents. The compost is made from yard trimmings collected throughout the Sacramento region from residents, businesses, and apartment communities participating in curbside organics collection services. Bringing finished compost back into the community closes the loop on organics recycling.
Shovel your own compost from the following locations:
- Behind Folsom City Hall, 50 Natoma Street
- Hinkle Creek Nature Trail near Fire Station 36
Compost Testing and Quality Information
CalRecycle regulations (Title 14, CCR, Division 7, Subchapter 3.1) require that compost produced by commercial scale composting operations and facilities protect public health and safety. This includes testing product quality, including metal concentrations, physical contamination levels, and pathogen levels.
Compost purchasers require additional information from suppliers in order to ensure the product meets specific needs, such as for erosion control or specific crops. The quality of compost and mulch products can be determined by testing for specific characteristics, including pH, soluble salts, nutrient content, organic matter, maturity, stability, and physical contaminants (i.e., inerts, including glass, metal, and plastic). Appropriate ranges for specific characteristics depend on the type of application.
Source: CalRecycle | Product Quality Specifications: Compost & Mulch
Benefits of Compost and Mulch Use
Soil Health: Finished compost is rich in mineral fertilizers such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, which makes it a great tool to support your landscaping or gardening efforts. Compost can be tilled into soil in garden beds, raised planters, and even used as part of a potting mix.
Note: Compost is not soil, rather, it is a soil amendment. This means that it is a nutrient-rich substance that can be mixed with soil to improve water retention, soil texture, and overall soil quality.
Water Retention: When a layer of compost or mulch is applied on top of the soil, it insulates the soil underneath and reduces evaporation. Adding a layer of mulch, especially during hot summer months, regulates soil temperature by keeping plant roots cool.
Air Quality: Compost plays a key role in the carbon cycle, which is the process by which nature reuses carbon atoms; from living beings, to the atmosphere, and back, again and again over time. Compost is made from decomposed organic material, so it keeps carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Also reduces harmful particulate matter, such as PM 2.5, in the local atmosphere.
Plant Health: Compost introduces microbes to the soil and encourages healthy soil biology, which yields stronger, healthier plants and reduces the need for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
What is SB 1383?
In September 2016, Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) was signed by Governor Brown to establish greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and mandates that 50% of all organic material be diverted from landfills by 2020, 75% by 2025 and includes a target that 20% of edible food being thrown away is rescued by 2025. Methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) contributing to air pollution and global climate change.
What is organic waste?
Organic waste is anything to be discarded that is made up of material originating from living organisms. This includes all landscape material (yard trimmings, grass clippings, leaves, untreated wood waste), food scraps (fruit and vegetable trimmings, meat and bones, bread and pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds, uneaten leftovers and expired food) and food-soiled paper (napkins, paper towels, greasy pizza boxes).
What does SB 1383 mean for me?
All residents and businesses are required to start recycling organic waste. On July 1, Folsom residents at single family homes can begin adding bagged food scraps and food-soiled paper to existing yard waste bins. This is now called the “green organics bin.” The green bin will be serviced weekly. If you do not have a green bin, one will be delivered to you after the program begins.
How do I collect my food scraps and organic waste?
It’s easy! First, find a container to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper. Any container works such as a repurposed plastic tub. There are also commercially sold containers specifically designed just for food scraps or to set up a three-compartment system for trash, recyclables, and organics. We encourage you to search around and find what works best for your space. The city also has kitchen countertop pails available to residents (one per household). Line the collection container with a clear plastic or compostable bag and place near where organic waste is generated in your home. Place bagged food-scraps and food soiled paper in your green bin for service.
Why do I need to bag my food scraps and food-soiled paper?
The City of Folsom’s composter, Agromin, requires food scraps and food-soiled paper to be bagged for further processing and separation prior to composting. Bags also help to keep green cans clean and prevent odors and pests. All bags are removed before the material is composted. Different cities have different guidelines regarding bags based on the requirements of the facilities that will be processing their material. Please be sure to follow the guidelines provided specifically for Folsom when using our program. More information about bags below.
Where do I get a kitchen countertop pail?
The city is handing out kitchen pails at select community events.
Do I need to use a city provided kitchen countertop pail?
No! There are many ways to ways to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper at your home, such as repurposing a plastic container, like a a yogurt tub or Tupperware tm. We encourage you to figure out what works best for your household.
I live in an apartment community; how do I recycle organic waste?
Folsom apartment communities have already received green bins for residents to use. Green bins are located near the garbage dumpsters. If you are unable to locate the green bin in your community, please contact your property manager or the city of Folsom’s Waste and Recycling Division at firstname.lastname@example.org. See more information below for organics recycling at apartment communities.
Does my business need to recycle organic waste?
Yes. Most Folsom businesses were delivered green bins for commercial food scrap and food-soiled paper collection in March 2022. If your business did not receive a green a bin, please contact the city of Folsom’s Waste and Recycling Division at email@example.com. See more information below for organics recycling at businesses.
What if I do not have a yard waste bin?
We understand not all communities have green waste bins and some have significant spatial restrictions. The city will evaluate these properties with property managers to determine the best solution for organics service. You will be notified through the City of Folsom and your property manager when organics service is starting in your community. If you have additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bagging food scraps and food-soiled paper
What type of bags can be used to collect organic waste?
Any clear plastic or compostable bags work! This includes repurposed clear plastic bags, such as produce bags or bread bags, ziplockTM bags, or others that many households already have. If you can see-through the bag, even if it has some printing or is not perfectly clear, then it is okay to use.
Is it required that organic waste be bagged? And, if so, why? I'd prefer to not add unnecessary plastic bags into landfills or have to purchase them.
The City of Folsom’s composter, Agromin, requires food scraps and food-soiled paper to be bagged for further processing and separation prior to composting. Bags also help to keep green cans clean and prevent odors and pests. All bags are removed before the material is composted. You do not; however, need to buy special bags, any clear plastic or compostable bag will work. This includes repurposed clear plastic bags, such as produce bags or bread bags, ziplockTM bags, or others that many households already have. If you can see-through the bag, even if it has some printing or is not perfectly clear, then it is okay to use.
Are paper bags considered compostable bags?
Yes and they are acceptable for the program.
If I put my organic waste in a paper bag and all the contents fall out when my green waste can is emptied into the truck, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of bagging it?
We understand bags may break open once collected. This may happen whether the bag is paper or plastic. Please fold the top of paper bags to ensure the best chance they stay closed during collection and transport to the composting facility.
Does the city provide bags for food scraps and food-soiled paper?
No, the city does not provide bags. The city does provide kitchen countertop bins as a tool to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper. Kitchen countertop bins are available at select community events.
Where can I buy clear plastic and compostable bags?
Clear plastic bags and compostable bags can be purchased at local and online retailers, but we encourage you to try using bags you already have that would otherwise be thrown away.
Can I repurpose a plastic bag such as a produce bag?
Yes, the city encourages residents to repurpose the plastic bags that many households already have. This includes clear plastic bags such as produce bags, bread bags, and ziplock™ bags.
Other cities are not requiring plastic bags why is Folsom?
The City of Folsom hauls its organic waste to Elder Creek Transfer Station where the composter, Agromin, separates the bagged food scraps and food-soiled paper from the yard waste. Right now, food scraps and food-soiled paper need to be processed separately from yard waste. Separating the materials at a central facility is more efficient and therefore less costly than providing residents separate collection of a forth container.
What eventually happens to the bag when it gets to the facility?
Plastic bags are used to keep food scraps and food-soiled paper separate from the yard waste. The bags are removed and food scraps and food-soiled are processed and composted. All bags are then sent to the landfill.
Where does Folsom’s Material Go?
Why are yard waste and food scraps collected in the same bin?
The City of Folsom practices co-collection of organic waste to provide the most efficient service to residents and commercial properties. Co-collection of organics means only one truck is needed to collect both food scraps and yard waste. This saves money, time, and is better for the environment. The way that Folsom’s organic material is sorted and processed makes co-collection possible.
Where does yard waste go to be processed? Food scraps?
Yard waste collected in Folsom is composted by Agromin, a company that operates several yard waste composting facilities throughout the region. Finished compost and mulch is tested for contaminants, pathogens, and other environmental hazards before being loaded up and delivered back to Folsom for use in the city's self-serve community compost piles.
City of Folsom food scraps and food-soiled paper are currently sent to be composted at Yolo County Central Landfill (YCCL), where Northern Recycling operates a new state of the art facility with an annual throughput capacity of 183,000 tons of organic waste. This will work in combination with the existing anaerobic facility that already operates at YCCL.
What kind of composting happens at these facilities?
The food scrap composting operation at the Yolo County Central Landfill utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic methods of composting, including a Covered Aerated Static Pile or C.A.S.P. system. Active compost piles are injected with air and continuously monitored for optimal temperature and moisture levels. The active piles are covered with a layer of finished compost – a biofilter – to capture the emissions given off by actively decomposing material.
The other composting method in use for a smaller percentage of organic material is anaerobic or in-vessel composting. These piles are completely covered and intentionally deprived of oxygen, which speeds up the decomposition process and requires less space and effort to maintain the piles.
When the decomposition process is complete, the material will resemble soil rather than food scraps. At this point, the material undergoes a series of final steps before it is ready for use. The piles are left out to cure, material is sifted through large screens to ensure uniform particle size, and samples are tested before compost is ready to use as a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
Why do food scraps go to Yolo County?
Permitting remains strict for facilities that compost food scraps. Safe and effective composting is the top priority at these facilities. Efforts to scale up the region’s capacity to compost organic material are underway, but in the meantime, the operation at Yolo County Central Landfill is the most efficient choice for City of Folsom’s material.
More on Safety
Compost that can be sold or otherwise provided to customers must meet California standards for every pile – reaching a temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and maintaining that temperature for at least three days. These temperatures are high enough to significantly reduce pathogens, kill weed seeds, and facilitate an effective composting process.
Single Family homes
If residents don’t use the correct organics container and they throw waste away in the regular trash bin, is there a fine or additional charge passed onto us?
Enforcement procedures are still being developed and although state regulations require jurisdictions to have an enforceable ordinance with administrative penalties, Folsom is committed to a process with a strong emphasis on education and outreach.
If I already have an extra recycling and/or green waste can, will I be charged for the extra can(s)?
Yes, if you have an extra (more than one) green or blue can that was previously included in your monthly rate you will be charged additional fees beginning July 1, 2022. To return extra cans prior to the start of the new fees, visit folsom.ca.us/wastecollection and select “Return Extra Can.”.
We want to keep our extra green waste can so that it is available for yard clean-up. We will never put out more than 1 can. Is this okay?
The charge for an additional can is a monthly fee for having the can regardless of if it is put out every week. Please let us know if you would like to have your second green waste can removed, or you can fill a request form for can removal at www.folsom.ca.us/wastecollection.
Can I opt out of the organics recycling requirements?
Jurisdictions are required to provide organics collection service to every household. Even residents who compost generally have some organic material, such as bones, dairy or prepared foods that should not be placed in their home compost bin. The goal of this law is to reduce green house gas emissions by maximizing the amount or organic material kept out of the landfill so homes with very little food waste can still do their part.
How often will my green bin get picked up?
Green organics bins will be picked up weekly with the garbage once the program launches. Recycle bins will continue to be picked up every other week.
What will the added cost be per month?
Please review our rates page.
I currently compost in my backyard; can I be exempt from the rate increase or participating in the program?
While the city encourages backyard compost, residents cannot be exempt from the program. The additional cost of weekly (vs. the current bi-weekly) collection is one of the primary drivers of the rate increase. The city will incur that cost regardless of whether an individual household sets their bin out for service. Most households have some items, such as meat, bones, dairy or prepared foods that cannot be composted in the backyard. These items will need to be bagged and placed in the green bin for service.
Can apartment communities be exempt from organics recycling?
Apartment communities cannot be exempt from recycling food waste.
Do property managers need to provide containers for food scraps and food-soiled paper for each unit/resident?
No, the property management company is not required to provide collection containers for individual units for food scraps and food-soiled paper, however they are required to ensure there is adequate service at the enclosures/waste collection areas for all residents to property sort waste. Each resident can determine how they will separate their own waste and will supply their own bags. Property managers can contact the Waste and Recycling Division to set up events at apartment communities for kitchen pail pickups email@example.com.
What will the added cost be per month for the required containers?
Please review our rates page. Apartment communities are serviced as commercial customers.
Where do the green bins need to be located?
It is recommended that all green bins are co-located with trash and recycling bins at the apartment community. This where they can be easily accessed by the haulers and tenants.
How many containers do we need on the property?
Apartments are required to provide sufficient organics recycling service to tenants. It is recommended that green bins are co-located with every trash and recycling bin.
If my business does not generate much organic waste, can we be exempt?
Individual businesses that produce less than 20 gallons of organic waste per week can go online to fill out an exemption request form. To file an exemption, you must complete a food waste audit for two weeks to verify that your business generates less than 20 gallons of organic waste per week.
My business produces a lot of organic waste, what are the commercial organic waste collection container sizes?
The City of Folsom provides commercial organic waste collection service in 65-gallon bins only. The City’s approved haulers, Atlas Disposal and Republic Services provide organic waste service in larger sizes. Contact the haulers directly for more information about sizes and services levels. Atlas Disposal 916 455-2800 Republic Services 916 631-0600
Does the city provide education and outreach/technical assistance to businesses?
Yes, the city has educational support and technical assistance available to businesses. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org