Food Scraps

Put in Garbage Special Instructions

The City of Santa Cruz is currently discussing options to provide a food scrap collection program. Do not place food scraps in your GreenCycle cart.

Checkout other resource on Reducing Food Waste at

To start home composting or get a worm bin, check out the Home Composting $40 Rebate Program. Here’s how it works:

1.  The City of Santa Cruz will give you a $40 rebate when you purchase a compost bin or worm bin from one of our participating retailers:

The Garden Company | 2218 Mission Street
San Lorenzo Garden Center | 235 River Street

2.  Fill out the Home Composting $40 Discount form (PDF). These forms are also available at the two participating stores. Forms must be filled out completely, including the 11 digit Santa Cruz municipal utility bill number. Incomplete forms may not receive a rebate.

3.  Send the completed form AND your proof of purchase (receipt) to:

City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department
Home Composting Program
809 Center Street, Room 201
Santa Cruz CA 95060

You will receive a rebate within 5 to 6 weeks.


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.

sink drain

Never Pour Hot Oil Down Drain

Don’t pour hot oil or fat down the drain or straight into the trash. 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

A Detailed Meal Plan

One way to avoid creating 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 money from another trip to the store. Find out more.

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.