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What Do I Collect My Food Scraps In? 

Composting in SLO County is a piece of cake!

Did you know that collecting your food scraps to be composted is one of the easiest personal changes you can make to help slow climate change? When you collect your food scraps and put them in your green curbside bin in SLO County, they get sent to our Anaerobic Digester, where they get turned into organic compost, fertilizer, and green energy! 

Generally, all kitchen food scraps (like vegetable peels, expired leftovers and meat bones) can go in your green bin. Check our Recycling Guide to learn more! 

You can collect your organics in a food scrap pail!

These are designed to sit either in your kitchen counter, or in some discrete location, and provide a convenient place to dump scraps as you cook. Then you just dump it into your curbside green bin when full. 

The IWMA currently provides two different types of pail for FREE to residents! We have a larger size that is designed to sit on your kitchen counter, or a smaller size that can either sit on the counter or hang on the lip of your trash can. These are designed specifically to hold food scraps, minimize odors and be easily cleaned (and they're free!), but they are not the only solution. While we think they're cute, maybe you want a pail that matches the aesthetics of your kitchen space. Or maybe you need a specific size to accomodate the needs of your household. Or perhaps you just would prefer to use something that you already own. 

A reused juice pitcher labeled "COMPOST ME" containing organic waste, promoting recycling and composting.

Try repurposing something!

Chances are, you already own a vessel that would be perfect for collecting food scraps. Get creative with it! A food scrap pail could be a: 

  • Plastic coffee grounds container (try decorating it as a craft project!)
  • Ice bucket
  • Tupperware
  • Small plastic trash can (with lid)
  • Cookie jar
  • Souvenir popcorn bucket

If you prefer to buy something, try looking online for a food scrap pail that matches your needs. There are many on the market in a variety of colors, materials and sizes. Some even come with a charcoal filter, and some are designed to be kept in the freezer to minimize odor. 

Some key things to look for in a pail:

  • Durability. Materials like plastics, ceramics and stainless steel tend to work well. Since kitchen scraps often have high levels of moisture, avoid absorbent materials like wood. 
  • Washability. You want a pail that can be easily cleaned out with water and dish soap. Remember, please don't use any sort of plastic/bioplastic bag to line your pail!
  • Size. Consider how much food waste your household generates, and how frequently you plan on emptying your pail. 
  • A lid to minimize odors and other grimy things. 
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