FAQs

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 us and we’ll be happy to help.

ANSWERS ABOUT SERVICE UPDATES

Your rates are going up to meet state requirements for diverting waste from the landfill (learn more by visiting CalRecycle). California Cities and Counties are required to implement programs to reduce the amount of waste that is disposed at the landfill through offering customers recycling and organics collection programs.

The County and the Cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista have joined together through a new contract with Recology San Benito County to provide new and improved services to meet the state requirements. Recology was awarded this new contract through a competitive procurement process in which Recology proposed the lowest overall costs.

Please also be aware that your garbage rate has remained unchanged since 2016 so that makes the new rates seem higher than they would have otherwise been if Recology’s rates were adjusted as is typical each year.

Several new and enhanced services are added to your current collection services including:

      • Weekly collection of organics (includes yard waste and food waste) via a green cart
      • Curbside collection of bulky items (appliances, furniture, mattresses, tires, etc) two times per year
      • Three times per year events where residents can pick-up compost for free
      • Three times per year events where residents can drop-off old electronics to be recycled
      • Three times per year events where residents can have confidential documents shredded on site for free
      • Improved recycling services at community events and public places (like parks)

All the above services and more are included in your monthly garbage rate along with your weekly garbage and recyclables collection services.

Yes, both the monthly HHW events and the quarterly recycle days at the landfill will continue. Other frequently used services will continue including:

      • Curbside used battery recycling
      • Curbside used motor oil and oil filter recycling
      • Curbside collection of textiles (clean and dry item such as cotton and denim clothing)
      • Holiday (Christmas) tree collection

State requirements, notably SB 1383 (see https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Climate/SLCP/), require significant reductions in the amount of organic waste that is disposed of. Implementing weekly organics collection services for all residents and businesses is the most cost-effective way for the County, Hollister and San Juan Bautista to meet these state requirements.

Studies have shown that more than 30% of disposed material at the landfill is organic material, including food waste. Diverting food and other organic materials into your organics cart can allow you to reduce the size of your garbage cart and can save money. Please keep in mind that you can place all kinds of organic materials in your cart that includes the following:

Food Scraps Soiled Paper Products Organics
Bread, grains and pasta Coffee filters Branches and brush
Coffee grounds Greasy pizza boxes Flowers and floral trimmings
Dairy Paper cups and plates Grasses and weeds
Eggshells Paper bags, napkins, towels Leaves
Fish and shellfish Paper take-out boxes and containers Tree trimmings
Fruit, including pits Paper tea bags
Meat, including bones
Vegetables

 

      • You will be receiving new carts for garbage, recycling and organics collection services. Your old carts will be removed and replaced with new ones in September or October.
      • New carts and bins will also be placed for businesses.
      • All new trucks will arrive sometime next year. These new trucks will be fueled by renewable diesel that is a cleaner burning fuel made from vegetable oil and animal fats with a substantially lower carbon footprint than traditional diesel fuel.

Recology’s customer service representatives have been trained to help you identify ways to right-size your service levels to reduce your garbage bill.  The actual garbage rates have also been structured so that as you reduce your service level (e.g., reduce your garbage cart size from 64-gallon to 32-gallon or from 32-gallon to 20-gallon) your rate goes down considerably.

For businesses, recycling collection service is at no additional charge and organics collection services is at a substantially reduced cost so utilizing these services will reduce your garbage bill.

Please contact Recology San Benito County customer service at (831) 636-7500 so we can assist you with lowering your garbage bill.

Single family residences are required by their Municipal Code to subscribe to weekly garbage collection service that is sufficient to prevent accumulation or litter.  The cost of the recycling and organics cart is included in your monthly rate.  You will be provided a blue recycling cart and green organics cart. You are not required to set-out your recyclables cart on a weekly basis; you can set it out when you want, typically when it’s more than half full. If you place organic waste in your green cart, then you are recommended to set it out that week to avoid odor and attracting vectors.

Rates for 20-gallon garbage carts were set low when they were introduced 10 years ago to incentivize residents to take up the practice of recycling.  The current rates more accurately reflect the actual cost of providing the collection service and continue to be the lowest cost rates.

We are asking customers to use their carts as efficiently as possible such as flattening cardboard and large plastic containers which may eliminate the need for an additional cart. You also have the option to set-out extra recyclables in a clear plastic bag and tie and bundle (no larger than 3’x3’) large cardboard. These items should be placed next the blue recycling cart on your regularly scheduled collection day.

Additional optional (only if you request these additional services) recycling and organics cart charges: 

Service Area Recyclables Collection Organics Collection
Hollister $4.50 (64 gal)
$5.50 (96 gal)
$25.50 (64 gal)
$39.00 (96 gal)
San Juan Bautista $4.50 (64 gal)
$5.50 (96 gal)
$26.50 (64 gal)
$40.00 (96 gal)
San Benito County $4.50 (64 gal)
$5.50 (96 gal)
$25.50 (64 gal)
$39.00 (96 gal)

 

Recycling collected will be delivered to the Monterey Regional Waste Management District in Marina which has a Materials Recovery Facility where recyclables will be sorted and shipped to different markets for processing.

Organics will be transported to the South Valley Organics composting facility off Highway 152 near Gilroy where it will be composted, and the finished product is marketed as landscape compost.  It’s important to keep the materials clean and free from materials such as glass, plastics, and pet waste.

Residents may schedule up to two (2) free Bulky Item pick-ups per year at no additional cost. Up to two (2) cubic yards of Reusable Materials, up to five (5) E-Waste items, and up to two (2) Appliances or Bulky Items. Appliances with Freon count as two (2) Bulky Items.

Contact Recology Customer Service at (831) 636-7500 or send us an email.

(Additional pick-ups beyond the two (2) per year can be scheduled at an additional cost)

Residents may also attend the free quarterly “Recycle Days” collection events that are held at the John Smith Road Landfill; more information on these events can be found here.

The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito and operated by Waste Connections Inc.

Food scraps can be placed loose in your green organics cart. It’s ok if the food scraps are placed in a brown paper bag prior to putting into your green organics cart. Please do not place the food scraps in a plastic bag. Please call customer service at 831-636-7500 or visit our website for more information and options for the use of acceptable biodegradable bags. Pizza boxes that are soiled (e.g., with grease or food particles) can be placed in your green organics cart along with other food-contaminated paper products.

ANSWERS ABOUT ORGANICS

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.

Here are simple ways to make organics collection easy: You can use compostable bags (you can find a list of approved compostable pages at bpiworld.org) or use paper bags or newspapers to contain the organics. Or you can store the organics in a food container with lid in the freezer or refrigerator. Be sure to set out your green cart weekly for collection.   

Keep a paper bag alongside you in the kitchen while cooking and after the meal. Scrape all your food scraps into the paper bag instead of the trash can and take it out to your organics container during cleanup or dish washing.

Plastic or Paper? Don’t use plastic bags to collect your food scraps because plastic doesn’t compost and contaminates the organics. When you’re at the store ask for “Paper” not “Plastic” for use to collect your food scraps before placing in the green organics container.

Composting food scraps keeps organic material out of the landfill and reduces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.  When food scraps are sent to the landfill, they emit methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The organics material is sent to South Valley Organics (SVO), a certified composting facility in Gilroy, California, where it is managed to gradually decompose to a high-quality soil amendment known as compost.

Compost made from the food scraps is a valuable resource for home gardens, landscapers, farmers and community gardens. Compost helps soil retain water, reduce weed growth, reduces and or eliminated the need for pesticides or herbicides and reduces water consumption.

Also disposing organic material in landfills impacts our food system. Agricultural dependence on fertilizers and pesticides comes from a need to increase fertility when nutrients are pulled from the soil but not returned to the soil. Those nutrients come out in the form of plants, therefore they should go back in the form of former plants-compost!

All residents of Hollister, San Juan Bautista and the County Unincorporated can get free compost up to 3 times per year at community events that are held throughout the year (starting November 1, 2018). Please see the 2018-2019 Calendar Events for exact compost giveaway dates.

Not a good idea! When you put food scraps down the garbage disposal, it takes a lot of energy for wastewater treatment plants to clean the water – not to mention it can cost a lot of money to fix clogged up pipes and disposals.

Yes! Compostable bags are acceptable in the organics collection program.

Compostable bags must meet the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) standards. These bags can be found at Costco, Whole Foods, Mollie Stones, Safeway, CVS and Walgreens, among other stores. Find a full list of approved bags on the Biodegradable Products Institute’s website.

Of course, you don’t have to use compostable bags. You can continue to use newspaper, paper bags or paper towels to line your pails and organics cart.

ANSWERS ABOUT FOOD & YARD WASTE

ANSWERS ABOUT FOOD SCRAPS & YARD DEBRIS

ANSWERS ABOUT ORGANICS

ANSWERS ABOUT RECYCLING

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.

      • 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, 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.

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.

ANSWERS ABOUT GARBAGE

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.

Recology San Benito County does provide extra garbage service pickup, upon customer request, at an approved additional charge. Please see Rates for additional garbage (solid waste) cart information. Contact us at 831-636-7500.

ANSWERS ABOUT HAZARDOUS WASTE

ANSWERS ABOUT SPECIALTY ITEMS

Residents may schedule up to two (2) free Bulky Item pick-ups per year at no additional cost. Up to two (2) cubic yards of Reusable Materials, up to five (5) E-Waste items, and up to two (2) Appliances or Bulky Items. Appliances with Freon count as two (2) Bulky Items.

Contact Recology Customer Service at (831) 636-7500 or send us an email.

(Additional pick-ups beyond the two (2) per year can be scheduled at an additional cost)

Residents may also attend the free quarterly “Recycle Days” collection events that are held at the John Smith Road Landfill; more information on these events can be found here.

The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito and operated by Waste Connections Inc.

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.

Recology San Benito County includes scheduled pickup service for large items, such as furniture, appliances, tires, and mattresses.

Residents may schedule up to two (2) FREE Bulky Item pick-ups per year. Up to two (2) cubic yards of Reusable Materials, up to five (5) E-Waste items, and up to two (2) Appliances or Bulky Items. Appliances with Freon count as two (2) Bulky Items.

Contact Recology Customer Service at 831-636-7500 or send us an email.

John Smith Road Landfill also offers FREE Quarterly Recycling Days where residents may drop off up to two (2) Bulky Items per event.

More information on this event can be found here.

The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito and operated by Waste Connections Inc.

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.

This Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), along with any other HHW you may have, can be dropped off every third Saturday of the month from 9am – 12pm (noon) at the John Smith Road Landfill. This event is FREE for San Benito County residents (proof is required). Maximum of 15 gallons or 125 pounds per load accepted.

More information on this event can be found here.

The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito and operated by Waste Connections Inc.

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).

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) can be dropped off every third Saturday of the month from 9am – 12pm (noon) at the John Smith Road Landfill. This event is FREE for San Benito County residents (proof is required). Maximum of 15 gallons or 125 pounds per load accepted.

More information on this event can be found here.

The John Smith Road Landfill is owned by the County of San Benito and operated by Waste Connections Inc.

Plastic bags are problematic for a few reasons; but mainly, they’re extremely hard to recycle and they tend to get wrapped around sorting equipment (which slows down the recovery process). We encourage you not to use plastic bags when possible (compostable bags are great for discarding food scraps and keeping your organics cart clean) but if you do, please either take them back to grocery stores that accept them or bundle them together into one bag and place into your blue recycling cart.

These items cannot be put into your curbside bin so here are some easy ways to deal with HHW and E-Waste:

  • Bulky Item Collection. Residents may schedule up to two (2) free pick-ups per year, where up to five (5) E-Waste items may be placed curbside.
  • Monthly HHW Drop-Off Events at John Smith Road Landfill. HHW can be dropped off every third Saturday of the month from 9am – 12pm (noon). This event is FREE for San Benito County residents (proof is required). Maximum of 15 gallons or 125 pounds per load.
  • Quarterly Recycling Days. Residents may drop off two (2) Bulky Items, per event, for FREE during quarterly events.
  • Environmental Days. Three (3) times per year residents are invited to shred important documents, drop-off E-Waste, and pick-up free compost during our Environmental Day Events.

ANSWERS ABOUT CARTS & COLLECTION

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.

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.

Single Family customers may place additional recyclable material curbside in a clear plastic bag for FREE “Overages” collection. Cardboard must be tied and bundled no larger than 3′ x 3′.

For residents who regularly recycle more than their bin will allow, please give us a call to increase your service to the proper size at 831-636-7500.

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 bins out the night before to prevent missed pickups.

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 18″ apart, all facing the same direction. This helps out our drivers to ensure quick and safe service.

Additional garbage (Solid Waste) carts may be requested by Single Family Residents and will be charged an “Additional Solid Waste Cart” rate. Please see Rates for additional garbage cart information. Contact us at 831-636-7500.

Debris boxes are also available for medium to large projects, including business construction and demolition (C&D), and residential clean-ups. C&D recycling boxes require special handling and must be identified at the time of ordering. For Debris box information click here.

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 us at 831-636-7500 to report a missed pickup.

Yes; Recology provides special services to residents who are physically unable to set their bins near the curb for collection. Please call us at 831-636-7500 for assistance.

ANSWERS ABOUT DEBRIS BOX CONTAINERS

ANSWERS ABOUT SERVICES

ANSWERS ABOUT MY ACCOUNT

ANSWERS ABOUT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT