Composting Correctly

Acceptable Materials

Your green cart, full of organic material, is collected and taken to a composting facility. What is organic? We say, ‘if a worm can’t eat it, it doesn’t go in the green cart.’ For example:

  • Food Waste - Peels, cores, rinds, husks, table scraps, nuts, grains, bread, cereal, pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags.
  • Food Soiled Paper - Paper cups and plates, paper takeout boxes and wrappers, pizza boxes, napkins, paper towels, coffee filters and tea bags.
  • Yard Trimmings - Small branches, plants and leaves, yard clippings and grass.
  • Other Materials - Shredded paper, popsicle sticks, wooden chop sticks, toothpicks and coffee filters.

Put all these materials in the green cart loose or in these types of approved bags:

  • Plain brown paper bags
  • Leaf Bags
  • Kraft bags
  • But NEVER plastic bags!

Non-Accepted Materials

San Antonio’s organics program does not accept material placed in bags marketed as ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’. There are different brands of different quality. Some actually do not break down. The City cannot tell consumers which brand to buy and so to avoid contamination, no bags of this type are accepted.

Other non-accepted material includes:

  • Plastic of Any Kind
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Rocks and Soil
  • Treated Wood and Lumber
  • Cloth and Textiles
  • Styrofoam
  • Diapers

Search how to dispose of almost any item or material.

Collection Day Reminders

  • Do not overfill or overstuff the green cart. For example, grass clippings are surprisingly heavy.
  • Cut branches and small limbs into 3-feet sections.
  • Make sure the lid can close completely.
  • More collection guidelines.

Tips for Disposing Food

If you are concerned about keeping your cart clean from food scraps, try these simple tips:

  • Place some shredded paper in a plain brown paper bag.
  • Get the food item as dry as possible – squeeze out juice, drain boiled foods, pat dry table scraps, etc.
  • Put food scraps on top of the shredded paper.
  • Cover with a little more shredded paper.
  • Roll the bag closed and drop in the green cart.
  • You can also wrap food waste in newspaper.
  • Use a kitchen bin or small container lined with paper.
  • Keep the kitchen bin in the freezer until your collection day.
  • Some food waste just does not work, such as:
    • Liquids, sauce, soup, or gravy
    • Bones
    • Ice cream, Popsicles®, or yogurt
    • Condiments

Returning it to the Community

The compost you help make goes back into the community like San Antonio’s Botanical Gardens and the City’s many parks.