Curbside Food Scraps Program

The Curbside Food Scraps Program is for residents subscribed to curbside service (individual carts) including single-family homes, rowhouses, townhomes, mobile homes, and small multi-family complexes (2-8 units).  The program started in July 2017.  A similar program will be developed and piloted for homes using shared trash bins at large multi-family properties (9+ units) in 2018. 

To participate in the program, you need a compost cart (formerly yard trimmings), the How To Guide and What Goes Where brochures (below).  If you do not have a compost cart, but are subscribed to curbside service (individual carts), please contact Recology at (650) 967-3034 or to order supplies.

Collection Schedules July 2017

  • Compost carts are collected weekly (formerly called yard trimmings carts)
  • Garbage carts are collected weekly (no change from last year)
  • Recycling split-carts are collected every other week (no change from last year)
  • Extra collection services for trash, recycling and compost carts remain the same
  • Holiday Collection Schedule Reminders are available at this link.    

Quick Links

Where to Buy Compostable Bags
How To Guide
What Goes Where
What Goes Where App Link

What are Food Scraps?
Collection Calendar Widget (New!)
Order Pail & Cart (for residents with curbside service)
Compost Processing
Rates FY 2018-19
Cart Exchanges


Food scraps

Food scraps include meat and bones, dairy, bread, fruits and vegetables, peels, pits, cobs, coffee grounds, food-soiled paper, paper towels, napkins, and paper cups. When placed in the compost cart (formerly called yard trimmings), the combination of yard trimmings, food scraps and food-soiled papers are called "organics" or "compostables" interchangeably, but we will simply call it compost.   

Recology will collect the compost carts weekly and haul the organics to the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale where the material is ground and transferred to Recology's compost facility in Gilroy, California.  Keeping organics out of the landfill will reduce methane, a significant greenhouse gas created from decomposing organic wastes in landfills.  Landfills are the third largest source of human-caused methane gas.  The pilot is expected to reduce greenhouses gas and produce compost for landscape growers in the Central Valley. Using compost conserves water, prevents erosion, reduces the need for fertilizers, and enriches the soil.   

By adding food scraps and food-soiled papers in the compost cart, residents can help the City achieve its Zero Waste goal to divert 90 percent of wastes from the landfill. Currently, the City's diversion rate is estimated at 76 percent.  However, food scraps comprise about 35 percent of a household garbage cart. 


Keeping food scraps and food-soiled paper out of the landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions and gives these valuable resources a second useful life as compost for landscape growers.  

After collection of your compost cart, the materials are transported to the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale for grinding.  (The SMaRT Station is a cooperative joint venture to process and transfer materials between the cities of Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.)  The materials are then transferred to Recology's compost facility in Gilroy, California. 

The materials are spread into long rows ("windrow") piles to decompose over a long time.  Microorganisms break down the materials and heat the pile to very high temperatures.  In about 3 months, the microorganisms transform the piles into an earthy, soil-like material called compost.  The compost is used for many different landscape applications.  Finished compost suitable for home landscaping projects is available to residents at the SMaRT Station.


Because cart collection is now weekly starting in mid-July 2017, Recology will need to add more truck routes.  As a result, the cost of the program (including collection and compost facility processing) will be considered in July 2018 when the City Council considers utility rates at a public hearing.  

The cost of the food scraps program for residents subscribed to curbside service is estimated to result in a 5 percent rate increase (e.g. $1.60 per month for a 32-gallon cart in 2018-19) for residents with curbside service (individual carts).  Remember, the curbside service rate is a "bundled" rate and includes the collection and processing of all individual carts (garbage, recycling, and compost), as well as street sweeping, three free On Call Plus clean up appointments, household hazardous waste events, confidential shredding events, home compost workshops, access to the Mountain View Recycling Center and the SMaRT Station buy-back and drop-off services, utility billing and many more services that residents have come to enjoy.


Thinking about "downsizing" your trash cart and compost cart?  The new food scraps program and weekly collection service might cause you to think about doing so.  Before making a request to exchange your trash or compost cart for a smaller size, think about how fall leaves and holidays may impact your needs!  Here are some tips:

Compost Cart.  Residents should wait to request a smaller compost cart size until they have experienced the food scraps program and know what size compost cart they need.  Fall leaves and holiday food scraps may fill your cart! Although there is a 24-gallon compost cart size available, it is in limited supply and reserved for residents in rowhouses, townhouses and mobilehome parks, or for those who are seniors or disabled.  There is no separate charge for this cart--collection and processing is included in the bundled trash rate.

Trash Cart.  Similarly, residents are encouraged to wait a few months before requesting a smaller trash cart size; but new residents, seniors and disabled persons may request changes at any time.  Important:  Choose a cart size that is large enough for your weekly household trash, including extra capacity for holidays, family celebrations, non-recyclable online shipment packaging, and household projects throughout the year. Remember, the goal is to reduce waste, but preserve enough capacity for extra trash (and avoid the inconvenience of having to buy an extra garbage sticker).  For more information about which cart size is appropriate for your household, visit

more information

For further questions, the Recyling & Zero Waste Program staff can be reached at (650) 903-6311 or  To order service or cart exchanges, contact Recology at (650) 967-3034 or