Residents of El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, and Unincorporated Contra Costa County communities of Bayview, El Sobrante, Montalvin Manor, North Richmond, Rollingwood and Tara Hills are eligible to receive a FREE Food Scrap Collection Pail for their kitchen counter. These pails are available for you to conveniently help separate your food waste, soiled paper, and plant or flower trimmings in the kitchen and then use the pail to transfer the waste to your curbside organics/green cart for pickup on your normal collection day.


Where to Pick up a Food Scrap Collection Pail

Pails are available to pick up from local city offices. Contact your city of residence for your Free Food Scrap Collection Pail.

Residents are encouraged to call ahead to check on availability and office hours as the information listed below may have changed. Bring identification to show proof of residency. One pail per household. The size of the pail is 8″ Wide (at the bottom)/11″ Wide (at the top) x 9″ Tall x 6″ Deep and is equal to 3 gallons. 

City of Hercules
City Hall
111 Civic Drive
Hercules, CA

Hours: Monday – Thursday
8 am – 5 pm
(510) 799-8200

City of Pinole
City Hall
2131 Pear Street
Pinole, CA

Hours: Monday – Thursday
8 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 4:30 pm
(510) 724-9000

City of Richmond
City Hall – City Manager’s Office – Suite 300
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA

Hours: Monday – Friday
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
(510) 620-6512

City of San Pablo
City Hall
1000 Gateway Avenue
San Pablo, CA

Hours: Monday – Thursday
7:30 am – 6 pm
(510) 215-3064

City of El Cerrito
El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center
7501 Schmidt Ln.
El Cerrito, CA

Hours: Tuesdays – Fridays: 8:30 AM to 4 PM
Saturdays: 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM
Sunday-Monday: Closed
(510) 215-4350

Office of County Supervisor John Gioia
(Serving included Unincorporated cities in West Contra Costa County)
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D
El Cerrito, CA
Phone: 510-942-2220


Lining Your Food Scrap Collection Pail

You may line your pail, but it is not necessary. Compostable bags of any brand are allowed, but they must be Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) or ASTM D6400 approved for the 3 gallon size. You may also consider lining your pail with newspaper and/or already soiled paper bags or paper towels as an alternative.




 As a fun family project and to reuse existing newspaper, here is how to make a pail liner out of newspaper [CLICK HERE]


Some examples of approved compostable food scrap bags:



Here are some locations to obtain the approved compostable food scrap bags (click links):

Ace Hardware


El Cerrito Natural




Whole Foods


How to Keep Your Food Scrap Collection Pail Clean

  • Line your pail as suggested above
  • Regulary empty the contents of your food scrap pail into your curbside green/organics cart (every 1- 2 days)
  • Hand wash with soap and water as needed


Acceptable Items in the Food Scrap Collection Pail/Organics Cart

You may put any food scraps and food-soiled paper into your Food Scrap Collection Pail then place the contents of the pail in your organics/green cart along with the other acceptable materials listed below. You may also select the image of the organics cart below to view the Curbside Organics Recycling Guide for more complete listings.

Click here

Acceptable Materials:
  • Fruits, Vegetables and Food Scraps (meat, bones, bread, pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds, dairy)
  • Flowers and Plant Debris
  • Food Soiled Paper (paper plates, paper cups, napkins, paper bags)
  • BPI Approved/ASTM D6400 Compostable Plastic Bags
Not Acceptable Materials*:
  • Plastic Bags
  • Rigid Compostable Plastics (such as cups/cutlery)

*Unacceptable materials placed into your curbside carts will not be emptied and may be collected by the garbage truck for an additional charge on your garbage bill.


When Do I Put the Organics/Green Cart Out?

Be sure to place the contents of your Food Scrap Collection Pail into your organics/green cart to be picked up on your regular curbside garbage collection day:

  • Republic Services (510) 262-7100 – Weekly collection
  • East Bay Sanitary Service for El Cerrito (510) 237-4321 – Weekly collection

 NOTE:  Do not place your food scrap collection pail on the curb.