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Organics Recycling

Organics Recycling

On July 1, 2022, the City of Burbank expanded their Green Cart collection to include food scraps and other organic materials as part of a new State law, SB 1383.   

What is Organics Recycling?

Organics are natural materials that were once alive, such as yard trimmings, soiled paper, untreated wood, and food scraps. The City is collecting this material for composting at an industrial facility that can handle a wide variety of organics.  

What is Allowed in the Green Cart For Organics?

All green cart collections should be loose in the cart (no plastics bags--even those marked "compostable").  

  • Yard Trimmings (leaves, grass clippings, branches, brush, twigs, shrubs, hedges, etc.)
  • Food scraps, including animal-derived products (meat, dairy, eggshells, etc.)
  • Food-soiled paper products (items with no plastic lining like napkins, the soiled side of a pizza box, or coffee filters.)  
    • NOTE for pizza boxes: The clean side should go in the blue cart for recycling; greasy side goes in the green. 
  • Untreated, unpainted, metal-free wood (no lumber, which is often treated) 
    • Please cut pieces to fit into the green container so the lid can close.
  • Can't find what you're looking for above? View our comprehensive list

Prohibited Items

  • All plastics, including bags
  • Compostable plastics
  • Packaging and utensils
  • Stickers, ties and wraps
  • Pet waste and kitty litter
  • Fabric, clothing, rugs
  • Street litter (especially from leaf blowing) 
  • Manure (may be added at a later date)
  • Dirt

Want to learn more? Check out the Where it Goes guide for more "answers at your disposal". 

How the Food Scrap Collection Works:

For helpful tips on how to recycle organic material with the green cart collection, download the "Food is NOT Trash" Guide in English (PDF), Spanish (PDF), and Armenian (PDF).

  • Keep food scraps and food-soiled paper items out of your kitchen trash and in some type of container during the week. 
    • The City of Burbank offers a free food scrap collection pail for residents, if desired.
    • Remove stickers, twist ties, rubber bands, plastic wrap and any packaging from food scraps 
  • Place collected food scraps and other organic materials loose in the green cart, mixed with yard trimmings.  (Loose food scraps are better for collection and compost processing.)
    • NO PLASTIC BAGS*, even those marked "compostable".
  • Best practices:
    • Wait to add food until the day of your scheduled collection, if possible.
    • Freezing all or some food can keep the cart cleaner.
    • Be mindful of items that can get caught inside the cart crevices and hinder the collection process.

*Alternatives to plastic bags:  While loose food scraps are preferred, non-lined paper bags or newspapers are an accepted alternative because they are considered an organic item when soiled by food. Food-soiled pizza boxes or paper-based take out containers (non-lined) are also acceptable to contain food scrapsPlease no cardboard boxes.

View our Food is NOT Trash Guide to learn more about the new food scrap collection program.

Are you a Burbank resident? Get information on how to get your free food scrap collection pail.

Nature has been recycling organics for billions of years. Nutrients that plants take up during their life are released back into the soil, forming compost. Learn how to replicate this process in your own yard to bring natural resilience to your landscapes and garden! Start a backyard compost and create homergrown fertilizer. 

Did you know that 18% of the Burbank landfill's waste is made up of food scraps? There is a new State law aimed at reducing the environmental harm caused by food going in the trash. Burbank is composting this material through the green cart collection (organic recycling). Watch this webinar hosted by the Burbank Recycle Center and Landfill that will walk you through the changes.
helpful tips
Organics make up over a third of all material going to landfills. Rotting organics take up unnecessary space and are also major greenhouse gas (methane) emitters. 

Residents play an important part of the City's efforts to reduce the impact of organic waste.
  • Participate in grasscycling by leaving clippings on the ground (nutrients)
  • Replace lawns altogether with native plants that sip rather than gulp water and drastically reduce yard waste
  • Find a way to prevent food from being wasted (1/3 of all food grown in the U.S. goes to waste!) 
  • Mulch* leaves and compost other organics in the backyard 
  • Start a backyard compost or worm bin to reduce waste and create fertilizer.

*Avoid mulching with invasive varities, such as Bermuda grass, or lawns that have been recently applied with herbicides. 

Before excess food becomes part of the organics/compost collection program, find ways to manage it more thoughtfully, such as reducing food waste at home or by working with groups to ensure that excess edible food is rescued. 
  • Buy less - Create a list to buy only what you need.
  • Shop for less packaging.
  • Start a garden and join a community produce share group.
  • Freeze any excess items before they go bad.
  • Make stock or smoothies with items before they turn or show signs of rotting.
  • Create an 'eat first' bin in your fridge to stay mindful of inventory.
  • Challenge yourself to use up your forgotten pantry items. 
  • Dates on lables are store or manufacturer guides but not regulated or standardized.   Use your judgement ("smell test") before tossing.
  • Visit savethefood for more tips, recipes, and storage ideas.
Try these tips to extend the life of your food and reduce food waste!
    • Soak in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes may reinvigorate wilted veggies.
    • Bread:
      • Mist bread loaves with water, wrap in foil then bake--softens back up.
      • Bread crumbs--place in a food processor
      • Make crutons
    • Toast stale chips and crackers for a minute or two in a regular or toaster oven to crisp them (put in soups, too).
    • Add vinegar, lemon juice, or brown sugar—or dilute a soup or sauce with water, crushed tomatoes or unsalted broth.

Reduce food waste and maximize your investment by understanding food product date labels.


Indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. Not a purchase/safety date.


Tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. Not a safety date.


Last date recommended for use of the product while at peak quality. Not a safety date except when used on infant formula.

Regardless of the date, consumers should always evaluate the quality of food prior to its consumption and use their best judgement.

**Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, Dana Gunders, 2015