Green Can / Organic Recycling Program

Organic Recycling Container Collection

The green can is for organic material. Organic material is food waste, paper waste, cardboard and small yard waste. 

This program has the potential to capture 70% of all waste produced in the average residential household! This organic waste is then converted into compost, utilizing an environmentally friendly recycling process. Please do your part to help the City of Modesto divert as much waste as possible from landfills. 

Acceptable Items

  • 100 pound weight limit and the lid must close completely
  • Brush, tree limbs less than four feet long and six inches in diameter
  • Cardboard and all types of paper (newspaper, junk mail, computer paper, magazines, phone books, paper bags, etc.)
  • Food waste, including meat, bones, dairy
  • Grass, leaves, and trimmings
  • Untreated and non-decorated Christmas trees, cut to fit if necessary

Unacceptable Items

  • No dirt, rocks, concrete, or asphalt
  • No materials over four feet long or six inches in diameter
  • No plastic, metal, glass, or cloth
  • No plastic bags or plastic lined bags
  • No treated wood or lumber
  • No animal waste, including feces or litter
  • No household or bathroom trash, diapers, or hazardous waste (light bulbs, batteries, chemicals, paint, etc)
  • No flocked, painted, or fireproofed Christmas trees
  • Do not overfill to more than 100 pounds or that the lid will not close


The garbage company will only collect containers that contain organic material.

If the garbage company or City of Modesto staff finds contamination in your green can, your can will be tagged with a notice, and you will not receive organic container service until you have removed the contamination and contacted the City. 

Making an Inspection Appointment

Please call 209-577-5494 or use our online contact us form if your container has been tagged and you want to schedule an inspection.

Once you have contacted the City to schedule an appointment, we will send out a staff member to inspect the can, ensure it contains only acceptable material, and resume your service. 

Fines for Contamination

Contamination or improper use of the organic container is subject to a progressive fine structure with fines beginning at $100. For more information, view the Modesto Municipal Code 5-5.108.