FAQ - Recology
California Cont.



Find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions by selecting a category below.

If you’re unable to locate an answer, contact your local Recology and we’ll be happy to help.



No. Many food packaging companies label their bio-based cups or eating utensils as “biodegradable,” but in reality they are neither compostable nor recyclable. These products are blends of bio-based resins and petro resins and, sadly, go to landfill.





The shortest answer is that not all materials have an end-market. Remember that recycling is driven by economics – supply and demand. If there is demand by manufacturers for certain products, we will certainly make sure those materials can be used again. However, we’re always looking for solutions for hard-to-recycle items, such as plastic bags and film plastic.

Yes, feel free to leave the lids on bottles when recycling them. Once sent to the appropriate recycling vendors, the different plastics are separated using advanced machinery.

      • Purchase products in bulk, or that are wrapped with minimal and recyclable packaging.
      • Reduce the amount of paper mail you receive. Sign up for digital billing and opt out of paper marketing material.
      • Reduce material going to our landfills by sorting properly and buying consciously.

Yes; or you can wipe containers with a soiled paper towel or napkin. Please empty all food residue and liquids from your food containers, cans, bottles, and jars before tossing them in your recycling container. For example, if there is a small amount of ketchup remaining in the bottle, give it a quick rinse to ensure you don’t contaminate other recycled paper or plastic products. To conserve water, rinse the containers with sink water after you’ve washed your dishes.


Yes, garbage in an overstuffed container will not loosen or fall into the truck when overturned. Compacting garbage too tightly into your container may also cause it to surpass its weight limit. Ordinary garbage produced by daily living will generally be within the container weight limitations.

Depending on the Recology company, you may need to call in advance of your collection day before our drivers can pick up extra bags of trash that do not fit in your carts. In some areas, there are programs, such as bulky item collections or extra bag tags, that may be available to you. Please visit your local Recology company to verify services for extra material.



Each city has different programs for handling hard-to-recycle materials. Generally, we cannot put any of the following items in a curbside bin. Instead, please call for a special pickup for drop them off at your nearest facility.

  • Electronics, such as TVs and computers
  • Hazardous materials, like batteries, paints, chemicals, and cleaning supplies

Plastic bags are problematic for a few reasons. They’re extremely hard to recycle, but we’re working on finding solutions! They also tend to get wrapped around our sorting equipment and slow down the recovery process, which is why we encourage you to not use plastic bags if possible. But if you do, the best way to recycle them is to take them back to grocery stores that accept them.

Please visit your local Recology to learn more about recycling options.

Most Recology companies offer a scheduled pickup service for large items, such as furniture and appliances.  Bulky item collection information can be found under “services” when viewing your local Recology page. Once there you may schedule a pickup.

Fluorescent light bulbs are classified as hazardous waste, and CANNOT be placed in the garbage. They can be taken to your nearest Household Hazardous Waste Facility (some local hardware stores also take back fluorescent bulbs).

Paint is typically recycled and reused whenever possible. All cans are usually inspected to make sure the paint is in good enough condition to remix and reuse. Paint is not remixed if it contains rust, mold, or is too thick from drying out over the years. The collected paint is oftentimes sorted by warm or cool colors, and then poured into mixing drums and re-sealed.

Many times, recycled paint is purchased or donated to local organizations to support cleanup projects for parks or schools. Some Recology locations accept paint for recycling (please check the Household Hazardous Waste information), or you may contact Paintcare to find your nearest drop off location.

You don’t. You take them back next time you go to the dry cleaners. That’s reuse which is even better than recycling. Please do not put wire or plastic hangers in your blue recycling bin; hangers jam equipment at the recycling plant. Recycling bins are for bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and hard plastics, such as plastic cups and molded plastic packaging.



Size Length Width Height
16-gallon 23.75 18.5 36.5
32-gallon 24.25 19 38.25
64-gallon 31.5 24 41.5
96-gallon 35 27.25 44.5


Size Length Width Height Gallons
1 yard trash bin 81 39 28 202
1.5 yard trash bin 83 42 35 303
2.0 yard trash bin 81 47 42 404
2.5 yard trash bin 81 49 44 505


Yes; Recology provides special services to residents who are physically unable to set their bins near the curb for collection. Please call your local Recology company for assistance.

Rain, wind, and snow might delay us by a few hours, depending on the severity. If extreme weather conditions make it unsafe for our drivers to service your bins, we will collect materials on the first day that regular service resumes.

Place your bins curbside in the street, with the wheels against the curb and the lid pointed toward the street. If you live on a street without a curb you can place them roadside. Place your bins about 2-3 feet apart, all facing the same direction. This helps out our drivers to ensure quick and safe service.

For those households with large families or who regularly recycle more than their bins allow, please give us a call to increase your service. Although additional collection charges may apply, you can set your extra recyclables next to your bins in paper bags or cardboard boxes and they will be removed on your regular recycling day.

Although we do not provide additional residential bins, you may schedule a debris box drop-off/pick-up with your Recology company up for large cleanups. (Debris box information can be found under the All Services tab.)

City and State law prohibit the theft of recyclables. If you see a “thief” sifting through your recyclables, obtain the vehicle license number, car description, time of the theft, description of the person, direction they were heading and report the theft to your non-emergency Police dispatch office. For your safety, do not confront the recycling thieves.

It’s important to note that sometimes bins will be picked up at a later time due to traffic or route changes. However, if your bins were accessible, the lids were closed, and they were set out at the proper time, please call your Recology company to report a missed pickup.

Pick up times may vary from week to week depending on drivers, traffic, or route changes. Some customers in commercial areas are serviced at night, therefore it’s important to put your garbage and recycling out the night before to prevent missed pickups.



Residents who generate minimal garbage, or landfill bound materials be able to save money by reducing their garbage service level. Call your Recology company to see how they can “right size” your service based on material type and volume.

Visit your local Recology company for options for printed materials, or call customer service for special signage designed for your building. Sorting guides are available under resources with your Local Recology.

Our Waste Zero Teams are here for you! Visit your local Recology to connect with a Waste Zero Specialist who will train your staff or tenants, provide signage and resources, and place recycling containers for convenience.