Organics and Green Waste Recycling

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Organics and Green Waste Recycling

What are Organics? What is Green Waste?

Green Waste is considered the waste that is generated from your yard or lawn. This is dead plants,     leaves, lawn clippings, landscape trimmings, sticks and branches. The definition of Organics in           regards to waste refers to all natural materials that can be composted, mulched, or are                         biodegradable. This includes Food and Garden Waste, and food soiled paper products. So some         items are both green waste and organics For viewing ease, we have placed a G for green waste and O for Organics.



Food waste


leaves Organic4
Lawn clippings


Food soiled paper products


grass papernapkin
Landscape trimmings, shrub or bush prunings


Garden waste


Greenwaste garden waste
Sticks, twigs, Branches


Dead plants, house plants


sticks dead-plant

Why does this matter?

sproutAll of the above items can be combined, decomposed, and         composted, helping create rich soil nutrients and soil                   amendments, while reducing the need for landfills. Organic       materials make up 40% of the waste annually sent to California  landfills. Composting organic materials allow for them to            naturally decompose.   

Recycling organic waste can save Fresno County business and residents money, while creating and maintaining new jobs in our communities. If you currently use soil for commercial or residential projects, this allows for a potential reuse of natural materials.

For Businesses:

After April 1, 2016, the State of California will require businesses and multi-family residential to subscribe to an organics recycling program. For more information regarding Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling (MOR) Law, AB 1826, please click here.

For Residents:

For Fresno County residents, green waste recycling is common in homes located on the valley floor. This is where a green bin is provided by your Exclusive Service Area Program (ESAP) Hauler or your   city solid waste program. Those that live in the foothills and mountain areas of Fresno County may   not have a green waste program. However, you can always look at the option of composting.


 Here is another simpler option: GrasscyclingReciclaje De Pasto Send your Grass back to its roots!

Recipe for Composting

Composting can be practiced in most backyards in a homemade bin or piles. Bins, from simple wooden bins to plastic barrels, can be found at most hardware stores and gardening centers. There are also plans that can be found online for homemade pallet bins or chicken wire piles. Bins or piles   should be a minimum of 3’x3’x3’ to insure proper composting. If you choose to compost food waste, it’s important to cover the pile and to refrain from an open pile, in order to avoid odors and pests.      There are four basic ingredients for composting: nitrogen, carbon, water and air.


nitrogen(Green Materials)

Green materials such as grass clippings, landscape trimmings, wet food         waste and garden waste are ideal sources for nitrogen. To reduce the               potential for bugs and pests when placing meat and dairy in your bin, make     sure to bury these items deep in the center of the pile. The use of a closed,      anaerobic composting system is recommended when including meat and       dairy food scraps. Approximately 40% of your bin or pile should consist of this material.


(Brown Materials)

Dry materials such as leaves, twigs, hay, dead plants, and food soiled paper    can provide carbon balance to the pile. Chop or shred large pieces to smaller   than 12". Anything larger should be left out. If you use bones from food scraps, these will provide calcium to the pile. Approximately 60% of your bin or pile should consist of this material.


WATERDROPYour compost pile should contain 40%-60% moisture content. To test for this, reach   into the pile and grab a handful of material. If you squeeze the material and a few     drops of water come out, it should have enough water. When watering, make sure to water from the inside out.


AIRThe bacteria and fungus that live in the compost pile need air to live and work. If the  pile is too dense or too wet, air supply is cut off. To avoid this, make sure to rotate the material regularly to inject air into the center of the pile.

Types of Composting

Below are three different types of composting methods to compost your materials. Several methods are available depending on your level of expertise and time available for decomposition.

Aerobic (with air) Anaerobic (without air) Vermicomposting

Air is used to break down

material using turning methods.

Materials are covered and not
exposed to air.

Composting by using


Level of Care

Moderate/High (Depends on

Pile/ Bin Size)

Low/Moderate (Depends on types of

food waste)

Moderate (Bin will need to be

constructed/ purchased)


Quick decomposition to
prepare nutrient rich soil for
gardens and flow beds.
No smell with aerobic


Will compost with little effort. Can
add materials once or twice per

Can regularly open and

add more

more materials to bin.

Great for plant growth.


Maintenance of turning pile is

needed daily. The pile would
need to be a minimum of
3'x3'x3' to ensure proper

Possible increase in smell if

fatty food  waste is added (meat,
dairy). Once sealed, you must
avoid opening bin regularly or
process will stop.  Do not add
wood materials (sawdust,

Worms are sensitive to

temperature extremes.

No meat, bones, or
banana peels.

Decomposition Time Two to four Weeks One to three months One to four months

Troubleshooting Guide for Composting Bins/Piles

Symptom Problem(s) Solution
The pile smells bad Not enough air; OR too much moisture. Turn the pile if not enough air OR
add dry materials (aerobic).
Recover the pile with a cloth or
tarp (anerobic).
The pile will not heat up

Not enough moisture; OR
Pile is too small; OR
Lack of nitrogen-rich material; OR
Particle size is too big. 

Add water; build pile to

3’x3’x3’; Mix in grass clipping
or vegetable scraps; Chip

or grind materials.

The pile attracts flies, rodents or pets

Pile contains meat, bones, fatty or
starchy foods that

animals and pests can access.

Alter materials added to pile;

bury food scraps deep in the
middle of pile.

Pile has slugs in it (and so does the garden) Pile is easily accessible and
provide daytime hiding and
breed place for slugs.

Remove slugs and eggs (eggs

look like clusters of pearls) create
barriers or traps.

Please call the Resources Division at (559) 600-4259 if you have any questions or need information   about Composting. You can also email staff at

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