What's Recyclable?

What's Recyclable List


Online Widget:  See Green Box below.

What Goes Where:  Flyer

Download Chart:  Chart Showing Where to Recycle (from the Winter 2019 Resource Annual Recycling Guide)

Download Detailed List:  English  Spanish  Russian  Chinese

online widget search tool & phone app

Use this online tool to find My Schedule or learn What Goes Where with this Recology app for any computer, phone or device.

  • For residents or businesses with individual carts or shared dumpsters.
  • Learn "what goes where" or find other resources to recycle right and dispose properly.  Item not listed?  Make a suggestion!
  • Get your collection schedule, create a calendar, check holidays, or set up service reminders.
  • Report missed pickups, service issues, and more.
  • Select the icon for "My Schedule" or "What Goes Where", and follow the prompts to enter your address or the item you want to recycle, compost or dispose.
  • You can also download it to your phone or other device by clicking Google Play or the App Store below.  


For residents or businesses, see below for a general overview of what is recyclable at curbside or your office.  Be sure to check the labels on your recycling containers to determine where recyclables should be placed.  (Other items may be recyclable at the drop off centers.  See Chart Showing Where to Recycle above.)   

See below for a simple bullet list of what's recyclable and whether "the numbers" on plastics matter. 

Not Recyclable

If the item is not recyclable, the driver will leave a non-collection notice if your container is significantly contaminated, overfull, or was set out improperly.  The split cart is collected by a split-truck, so keeping the items separated inside and placing the cart with the wheels against the curb is important to keep items separated in the truck and improve sorting at the SMaRT Station.  If a container is significantly contaminated, it must be collected as garbage and fees apply.

Recycle by number?

Those triangle and number symbols printed on many plastics are the manufacturer's identification code for the type of resin in the plastic, similar to a nutrition label on a food can.  The recycling symbols are not indicators that something is recyclable in any given community. These symbols only appear on plastics--not metal, glass or paper.

What changed?  When recycling began in the 1990's, numbers were often used to help the public identify what was recyclable.  With more complex product packaging and world-wide manufacturing, we are moving away from using the numbers to identify what is recyclable.  All you need to do is ask yourself a simple question about the plastic item.

Is this plastic item a bottle, tub or jug?  If yes, recycle--if no, trash.  Again, what is accepted for recycling depends on the market value.  End markets want to buy plastic bottles, tubs and jugs.  Markets do not want these hard-to-recycle plastics that have no value.  

What's Recyclable Depends on Market Value

Mountain View accepts a variety of recyclables based on sustainable market value.

Recyclables that do not have enough market value to merit the cost of collection may be dropped off at the Mountain View Recycling Center.  These hard-to-recycle items include plastic bags, plastic film and wrap, plant pots, buckets, scrap metal pots and pans, and empty aerosol cans.

For example, plastic bottles and tubs have enough market value to be included in the curbside collection system.  However, the same is not true for plastic bags, cups, plates, utensils, black plastic, plastic clamshells (top and bottom lids are connected), candy and snack bags.  These plastics are not desired nor accepted by the end markets who buy our recycling.  The SMaRT Station sells the plastic containers to manufacturers to make bottles and plastic lumber.  Each community may be a little different in what they recycle because of different processors and markets. 

Just because something is made of glass, metal or plastic does not mean it is accepted for recycling.  Recycle glass bottles and jars (not mirrors, dishes or glasses); recycle metal cans and foil (not irons, pipes, nails, pots and pans); recycle plastic bottles, tubs and jugs (not plastic bags, wrap, or cups).  The curbside recycling split-cart is for household containers and clean paper under the grey lid. 

Keep materials separated because the truck which collects it is also split into two compartments.  Make sure the carts handles are facing the curb to prevent a mismatch of cart to truck.

Mixed Containers

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, jugs, tubs only (caps and lids okay)
  • Metal cans and lids (tin, steel and aluminum)
  • Beverage and soup cartons (refrigerated or shelf type) such as juice, milk, soy milk, wine, cream, and egg substitutes (lids okay).

No window glass, plastic bags, plastic trays, plastic wrap, plastic cups, plastic plant pots, metal cooking pots, hangers, other metal, plastic or glass is accepted.  All mixed containers must be a bottle, jar, can, tub, or certain beverage cartons.

Mixed Paper

  • Newspapers
  • Catalogs
  • Telephone books
  • Magazines
  • Cereal boxes
  • Junk mail
  • Shredded paper
  • Writing Paper
  • Small pieces of flattened cardboard (see below for large cardboard)

No frozen food packaging, plastic bags or pizza boxes with stains/food residue, paper or foam egg cartons, cushioned mailers (bubble wrap inside), or tyvex envelopes are accepted.

Please remove any plastic bags or wrapping around newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and cardboard boxes (e.g. soda cases).


  • Small cardboard pieces should be placed in the split-cart under the mixed paper side of cart (grey lid) if it will fit easily.
  • Large cardboard should be cut or folded into no more than 3 feet by 3 feet to fit in the truck, and placed against the recycling cart.
  • Multiple large cardboard pieces should be bundled and tied and placed against the recycling cart.
  • Call Recology (650) 967-3034 for large amounts of cardboard from new resident move-in or from home deliveries.
  • Remove any plastic wrap around cardboard boxes (e.g. soda cases)
  • Please do not put clean cardboard in the compost cart.
  • Businesses and schools may place cardboard in the mixed recycling or cardboard dumpsters

Motor Oil and Oil Filters

Place used motor oil and filters in containers provided by Recology Mountain View (650) 967-3034 and set on top of curb near the split-cart on trash collection day.

You may also take used motor oil, filters, and antifreeze to the SMaRT Station, 301 Carl Road, Sunnyvale for free disposal (408) 752-8530. These items are accepted at the SMaRT Station Drop Off Center, which is different than the County Household Hazardous Waste Program. The County Household Hazardous Waste Program is operated by the County on behalf of cities and is a monthly drop off event by appointment only (at rotation locations throughout the county and facilities in San Jose and San Martin).

Household Batteries

Place used household batteries in the bag provided by Recology Mountain View (650) 967-3034 and set on top of split-cart. Recology collects the items and replaces the used bag with a new battery bag. For home safety, it is recommend that you tape battery terminals before putting them in the battery bag to reduce the risk of fire and other hazards.

You may also take used household batteries to either the Mountain View Recycling Center, 935 Terra Bella Avenue, Mountain View or to the SMaRT Station, 301 Carl Road, Sunnyvale for free disposal at their Drop Off Center (408) 752-8530. This is a different program and location than the County Household Hazardous Waste Program which is a monthly drop off event by appointment only (at rotation locations throughout the county and facilities in San Jose and San Martin).

Curbside Collection (Carts)

Visit these links for how to recycle: