Food & Yard

Composting valuable organic materials such as food, garden and grass clippings, brush, untreated wood, and food-soiled paper can build healthy soils, keeps materials out of the landfill, conserves water and energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and helps grow our local economy!

Click the tabs below for information about food and yard waste in Arcata.
  1. Food
  2. Yard


Soil Savers

If you have a backyard, patio, balcony, or any small outside space, you can purchase a composting bin, or build one yourself! 

The City of Arcata sells the Soil Saver, an 11.5 cubic foot (28"x28"x32") capacity home composting vessel for $35. This high-quality backyard composter is made of black 100% recycled heavy-duty weather-resistant material that won’t crack, rust or rot. The Soil Saver can be purchased at the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department. You must live within city limits and present water receipt/bill or rental contract/ receipt. Renters must obtain approval from their landlords or property owners prior to purchase. 

Some people living in an apartment complex or any other shared/communal area may sometimes not have any outside space to compost. If you are in this situation, we highly encourage you to work with your neighbors and talk to your landlord/property manager to implement a communal composting in a shared space.


Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Law (AB 1826) was signed in 2014 to help achieve California's recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals. AB 1826 requires businesses that generate a specified amount of organic waste per week to arrange for waste recycling services, and for jurisdictions to implement a recycling program to divert organic waste from businesses. 

These businesses include multifamily residential dwellings that consist of five or more units. Please note that multifamily dwellings are not required to have a food waste diversion program.

Types of Organic Waste 

Businesses must arrange for recycling services for the follow types of organic waste:

  • Food waste
  • Green waste
  • Landscaping/pruning waste
  • Non-hazardous wood waste 

Who Must Comply 

  Businesses and Multi-family Complexes Recycling Thresholds
 April 1, 2016Generators of 8 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week
 January 1, 2017Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of organic waste per week 
 January 1, 2019Generators of 4 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week 
 CurrentGenerators of 2 or more cubic yards of solid waste per week  

For more information, please visit CalRecycle's Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling page.

Business Tips to Prevent Food Waste

Reducing food waste saves money and resources by reducing your purchasing, handling, disposal and energy costs. Additionally, your business can receive tax benefits from donating edible food to local food banks and other food rescue organizations.

  • Assess and track what food is being wasted.
  • Choose the best waste reduction strategy for the opportunities that exist at your facility.
  • Adjust food purchasing policies to prevent excess food purchasing.
  • Adjust menus to reduce frequently uneaten or wasted items.
  • Adjust preparation methods and portion sizes to minimize waste.
  • Store food properly to avoid spoilage.
  • Repurpose leftovers.

How to Divert Food from Landfills

  • Donate pre-consumer food to local food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters.
  • Donate pre-consumer food to local farmers.
  • Compost post-consumer food and keep it out of the landfill.

Edible Food Rescue Capacity Assessment 

In 2021 Zero Waste Humboldt completed an Edible Food Rescue Capacity Assessment for the City of Arcata and City of Eureka. This assessment included outreach to local food waste generators (grocery stores, food distributors, food vendors, restaurants, hotels, health facilities, and educational agencies), as well as in depth interviews with local food recovery organizations. 

This report gives insight to local food waste and food security issues, and can be read in its entirety by clicking here