Stockton Green/Food Waste “Think Before You Toss” Pilot Program – FAQs


What is the Think Before You Toss Campaign?
It is a campaign to educate Stockton residents about what belongs in their Green/Food Waste carts. This pilot program will not impact all residents, only those on the selected pilot routes.

Why is the campaign needed?
People are using their Green/Food Waste carts for trash. Based on a recent content study, one Green/Food Waste truck had over 1,160 lbs. of trash mixed in the Green/Food Waste material.

What’s wrong with putting trash in Green/Food Waste carts?
In the Green/Food Waste cart trash like plastic bags, glass, garden hoses and plant containers get shredded and mixed into the green material for compost. These contaminants ruin the compost meant for farming and must be disposed of as trash.

Has outreach been provided to those on the pilot route?
Yes. In July, all City residents received an educational notice included in their invoices detailing the proper items to put in a Green/Food Waste cart. A week before the program begins, all customers on the pilot route will receive an educational Think Before You Toss postcard.

Before I get “tagged,” will I receive a warning first?
Yes, the week before the inspections begin each customer on the pilot route will receive on their Green/Food Waste cart a pre-inspection tag. This tag will inform the customer that inspections of the carts will begin the following week.

Inspections? Who is inspecting the carts?
The City of Stockton, Republic Services and Waste Management have partnered with the Greater Valley Conservation Corps to inspect the Green/Food Waste carts on the pilot route for obvious contamination. They will lift the lid, look at the contents and if they see anything in the cart other than grass, branches, plants & flowers, or food waste, the resident will get a tag notifying them of what was in their cart.

How long is this program and what days will the inspections occur?
The pilot program will occur over an eight-week period. The Greater Valley Conservation Corps will be inspecting the Waste Management routes on Thursdays.

I am a Republic Services Customer will I be affected by this Pilot Program?

No, not at this time.

Where are the Pilot Routes and how were they selected?
The pilot route was identified on the provided map and was selected based on average contamination rates from content studies provided by the processing locations and a comprehensive review of all green/food waste routes.

What can I do if I get a tag?
Take time to review the tag, refer to the Think Before You Toss mailer to see what belongs in the cart or visit to access recycling guides and other important recycling information.

How many times will my cart get tagged if I continue to put trash in my Green/Food Waste cart?
Three. For the first and second warnings, the Green/Food Waste cart will not be serviced. Customers will be offered the opportunity to call their service provider to schedule an extra trash pickup to empty the Green/Food Waste cart.
On the third incident, the service provider will remove the Green/Food Waste cart and the customer will be offered the opportunity to call their service provider to increase their trash container size.

Waste Management: (209) 946-5711

Can I get my Green/Food Waste cart back?
Yes. Following the completion of the pilot program, the customers that had their Green/Food waste cart removed will be contacted by the service provider’s customer service representatives to discuss and assess their service needs and will be provided with additional educational material on recycling.