Contamination Monitoring

Monitoring containers for contamination is an essential part of a jurisdiction’s collection service.

Keeping organics waste streams clean will help ensure that the organic material can be processed and composted or anaerobically digested. Reducing contamination will also help develop markets for recycled products in California.  

If a jurisdiction provides a three-container or two-container organic waste collection service, the jurisdiction must monitor contamination through one of two ways: 

  • Route reviews of commercial business’ containers and residential containers; or  
  • Waste evaluations, which take place at specified solid waste facilities.
Local enforcement inspector looking at green organics curbside collection containers.

Contamination monitoring creates a positive feedback loop to create cleaner organic waste streams. For example, if the hauler finds contamination in the source separated organics stream, the hauler can provide education through a cart tag or other media to inform residents and businesses of how to properly sort organic waste.

Blue curbside bin with contamination tag attached to it.

Route Reviews

If the jurisdiction chooses to conduct route reviews, it must randomly select containers and ensure all collection routes are reviewed annually. The jurisdiction must educate residents and businesses if there is contamination identified in their containers on the route reviews. For additional information on route reviews see Best Management Practices for Implementing a Route Review Program.

Waste Evaluations

If the jurisdiction chooses to conduct waste evaluations, they must be done at least twice per year in two distinct seasons to identify if there are container contaminants. If there are more than 25 percent container contaminants in any container, then education must be provided to the residents and businesses on the evaluated routes.

Waste evaluation staff sorting through materials.

For more information contact: Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP), Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions,