Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2022-12-21T10:08:03-08:00

We’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions to help guide our residents through the process ahead.

Click/tap on the plus signs next to each question to expand or hide answers.

What are the SB 1383 regulations for businesses?2024-03-28T09:28:49-07:00

Large food-service businesses, such as grocery stores and wholesale food vendors, are required to donate edible food to food banks, soup kitchens and other food recovery organizations. Businesses are also required to keep track of their donations through records and a written agreement with an edible food collection organization.

In January 2024, this requirement will extend to a second tier of businesses, including hotels, restaurant facilities and healthcare facilities. Click here to learn more, or check out the City’s video on commercial business regulations.

How can I reduce organic waste?2023-10-03T15:56:54-07:00

Reducing your organic waste, including kitchen scraps, is a simple but incredibly effective way to impact your community—lowering greenhouse gas emissions and helping to create a more sustainable planet.

Play your part in organic waste reduction with these helpful tips:

  1. When grocery shopping, purchase mindfully to avoid wasted food. Create meal plans and shopping lists before your grocery trip so you only buy what you need.
  2. Store your produce at appropriate temperatures, and utilize prep and storage tools and containers to ensure its longevity. 
  3. Whip up new recipes with your food scraps. Repurpose leftovers into sandwiches, casseroles, and more.
  4. Share food that would otherwise be wasted with friends or neighbors.

Learn more about organic waste reduction with these helpful resources:

How do I pay my trash bill?2023-05-15T10:04:33-07:00

You have several options for paying your Universal Waste Systems (UWS) bill:

  1. To pay online, visit
  2. To pay over the phone, call (866) 410-3585
  3. To pay by mail, send your payment to P.O. Box 3038, Whittier, CA 90280
  4. To pay in person, visit 10120 Miller Way South Gate, CA 90280

* Please note: The City of South Gate is no longer collecting trash service fees on your utility bill. Please coordinate with UWS if you have existing trash service but have not received a bill.

How do I dispose of bulky items?2023-12-19T07:56:14-08:00

If you have bulky or e-waste items you need to dispose of, call UWS to schedule a pickup! Residential customers—including each unit in a multi-family household—can dispose of 10 bulky items and unlimited e-waste items per month. Customers will be asked to provide a list of the items when scheduling the pickup. Please note: commercial businesses are subject to a collection fee for bulky item pickups.

Bulky items can include appliances (dryers, ranges, refrigerators, washers, water heaters, dishwashers), furniture (chairs, mattresses, rugs, sofas), plumbing, electronic waste and other large items. 

E-waste items can include discarded electrical or electronic devices (LCD monitors, tablets, cell phones, VCRS, laptops and computers). 

Properties that leave bulky items in the public right-of-way are subject to a citation ranging from $100 to $500 per violation, so remember to call for pickup instead! 

Contact UWS Customer Service at (562) 334-3660 to schedule pickups and for more information.

What is organic waste?2022-12-21T10:01:02-08:00

Organic waste is any material that is compostable and comes from either a plant or an animal. Compostable waste is organic material that can be broken into carbon dioxide, methane, or simple organic molecules.

What items are considered organic waste?2023-12-06T10:48:54-08:00
  • Yard waste
  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds, leaves
  • Prunings 
  • Flowers
  • Wood scraps/chips (small pieces only)
  • Fruit
  • Bread
  • Fish
  • Meat and meat bones
  • Vegetables 
  • Dairy
  • Food-soiled napkins
  • Compostable bags
What items are NOT considered organic waste?2022-12-21T12:48:20-08:00
  • Pet waste
  • Palm fronds
  • Plastics* 
  • Glass 
  • Metal
  • Treated lumber

*You may use a plastic bag to collect kitchen waste, but other plastics (such as loose bags) should not be included in organic waste.

Why have the requirements changed?2023-01-04T07:31:12-08:00

As part of  California’s efforts to combat climate change, the State requires organics recycling to divert food waste and organic materials from entering landfills. When organic materials such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and paper decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) in a landfill, they produce methane, which is one of the most potent climate pollutants in the atmosphere and a major contributor to climate change.

Where does organic waste go?2023-01-04T07:31:49-08:00

Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) also requires cities and counties to procure annually a quantity of recovered organic waste products (such as soil amendments) to meet their annual procurement target. Per CalRecycle, these procurement requirements will strengthen California’s green, self-sustaining economy. Demand for these products will drive infrastructure investment and create new green collar jobs in the state.

Recovered organic waste products can:

  • Benefit local communities and spaces
  • Improve soil and air quality
  • Support local environmental initiatives, such as Climate Action Plans

CalRecycle assigns an annual procurement target to each jurisdiction based on its population. Jurisdictions can fulfill their target by procuring any combination of the following recovered organic waste products:

  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Renewable Energy (Transportation Fuel, Heat, and Electricity) from Anaerobic Digestion and Electricity from Biomass Conversion

Each jurisdiction has the flexibility to choose what mix of recovered organic waste products it wants to procure, and may choose to either use or donate these products to meet its procurement target, depending on its local needs.

Universal Waste Systems has an agreement with Rialto Bio Energy Facility. Their facility converts organic food waste and yard waste collected into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which in turn fuels Universal’s vehicle fleet.

Where does recovered surplus edible food go?2023-01-04T07:33:16-08:00

Recovered surplus edible food is donated to food banks, homeless shelters, and other organizations for those who are food insecure. As of 2022, food service businesses must donate surplus edible food to food recovery organizations. This helps feed the almost 1 in 4 Californians without enough to eat. California has a 2025 goal to redirect 20% of surplus edible food (currently being thrown away) to people in need.

Am I required to participate? What if I don’t change anything about how I dispose of my trash?2022-12-21T10:05:04-08:00

Yes, everyone is required to participate and properly sort discarded materials into the correct bins or receptacles provided. If you choose not to participate, you may receive contamination charges from UWS. Additionally, by January 2024 the state has mandated that the City fine residents and businesses who are not participating in organics recycling.

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