Ordering Your Free Indoor Food Scrap Bins


Congratulations! Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) has approved your organization to receive free equipment to start or improve a food scrap collection program. ACWMA will pay up to $500 per participating business or multi-family property to cover the cost of containers (from the approved product list), sales tax and shipping costs.

To get your free bins, simply follow the steps below. For assistance at any step in the process, please contact your Business Assistance Representative, contact BizAssistance@RecyclingRulesAC.org or call 510-891-6575.

Note: Orders must be placed within 1 month of program approval. Your approval email contains the exact date of your site’s ordering deadline. Any unused funds after 1 month will be released back to the program fund, unless you specifically request additional time.

Steps for Ordering Free Bins

Before ordering your free bins, be sure to have (or start) organics collection service through your city’s service provider. Note: organics collection service may result in additional monthly cost to the property depending on the rates in your jurisdiction. To find contact information for service providers, see the Service Provider Directory

1. Conduct a walkthrough of your site to determine the type, size, and quantity of bins needed to collect food scraps and compostable paper separately from recyclables and garbage. Walkthroughs may be conducted with the help of a Business Assistance Representative, or do it yourself using the step-by-step Indoor Bin Guide. For larger sites, it may be helpful to use the Container Count Worksheet to tally up the number of indoor bins needed, but please note that it does not match exactly the free bins offered by our partner vendors. See below for the Approved Products List for bins offered.

Recycling Station Basics: For each area where waste is generated at your site, place a set of three color-coded bins for recycling, organics and garbage. No “solo” bins! Consider placing small containers, such as caddies that hang on recycling containers, at employees’ desks and/or larger containers in central areas such as break rooms and kitchens.

2. Review the Approved Products List and select ONE vendor that will best meet your needs based on the items they carry.

3. Place your order directly with your selected vendor. For Cole Supply, email orders@colesupply.com and for Cogent Solutions and Supplies (formerly Starline Supply), email mbechtold@cogentsupplies.com. Let them know you are an “Approved Alameda County Business for Free Green Bins” (they will verify this based on a list of approved sites we’ve given to them) and provide product information for your order, as well your organization name, address and contact information for delivery. Also, please carbon copy (“Cc”) BizAssistance@RecyclingRulesAC.org when placing your order. Be sure to ask for an estimated delivery date so that you can plan for rollout.

ACWMA will cover the actual costs incurred, up to $500 including equipment, sales tax and shipping. If you choose to purchase equipment not on the Approved Products List (such as recycling containers) you may do so at your own expense. You will also be responsible for all costs incurred in excess of $500. Multi-family properties are encouraged to obtain in-unit kitchen pails for residents from their service provider (most can provide them upon request) and use the $500 allocation to order containers for common spaces.


Next Steps

Now that your order has been placed, it’s time to plan for program rollout. Listed below are some helpful tips and reminders to help you plan for a successful food scrap collection program.

  • Familiarize yourself with what materials are accepted in your city’s organics collection program and plan to share details with your staff and custodians. Educational memos and day-of-rollout trainings are highly encouraged. Also, think about your customers (if appropriate) and how you’ll educate them on the new organics program.
  • Apply labels on all indoor bins and place new indoor green bins in the appropriate locations. Use signs at eye-level to show at a quick glance what goes in which bin. For more free resources such as stickers and signs, go to www.RecyclingRulesAC.org/resources. Conduct trainings with staff and custodians, making sure custodians know where the new hauler-serviced organics bins are located. Confirm your organics collection service day(s) and location of bin service (e.g. curbside or enclosure) with your provider.
  • Note: Many collection service providers offer posters and/or stickers that are specific to the materials they accept. Visit www.RecyclingRulesAC.org/cities-overview and click on your city to view downloadable signs and for contact information. For generic signs or to make custom signs using the Sign Maker Tool, go to www.RecyclingRulesAC.org/support-materials. If stickers are not available from your service provider, free generic stickers are available for placement on indoor recycling, organics and/or garbage containers. Request the stickers online at www.RecyclingRulesAC.org/request-stickers.
  •  Monitor, adjust, and continue to educate staff and custodians to ensure a successful program. Address contamination issues promptly and monitor bin fullness to ensure both indoor and outdoor (hauler-serviced) bins are the appropriate size. With food scraps and compostable paper now going in your organics bins, you may be able to reduce your garbage container(s) or collection frequency. Contact your garbage service provider to make service level adjustments as needed.


ACWMA will reach out to sites within about 6 months of order placement to ensure the containers are still meeting your food scrap collection needs. Should you no longer need the free bins you received, please return them to ACWMA (1537 Webster Street, Oakland) so that we may redistribute them to a business in need of containers.


BizAssistance@RecyclingRulesAC.org    |    510-891-6575