Someone is stealing my recyclables. What can I do?

The law prohibits the theft of recyclables. Anyone caught unlawfully removing these materials from a recycling container may be prosecuted and is subject to a fine of up to $5000. The revenue earned from recyclables helps off-set the costs of all of Recology San Mateo County’s collection programs. Revenue lost through poaching can lead to increased rates in the long-term.

Limiting access to carts is the best way to prevent recycling theft and contamination. You may set out your carts or bins the morning of your pickup. Residential customers should set out carts by 6am. Commercial customers should set out carts and bins by 4:00am.

Recology also offers residential backyard and commercial inside service, as well as locking carts and bins. Contact us to inquire about pricing.

If you see someone taking your recyclables, obtain the time of the theft, description of the person, direction they were heading and vehicle description (if there was one), and report the theft to the non-emergency Police dispatch office in your city. For your safety, do not confront scavengers.

Atherton Police Department
(650) 688-6500

Belmont Police Department
(650) 595-7400

Burlingame Police Department
(650) 777-4100

East Palo Alto Police Department
(650) 853-3160

Foster City Police Department
(650) 286-3300

Hillsborough Police Department
(650) 375-7470

Menlo Park Police Department
(650) 330-6317

Redwood City Police Department
(650) 780-7100

San Carlos Police Department
(650) 802-4277

San Mateo Police Department
(650) 522-7700

San Mateo County Sheriff’s
(650) 363-4911