What Goes Where

Wondering What Goes Where?

Use the tools and guides below to determine whether items belong in the recycling, trash, or compost.

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Detailed Recycling List

Home Event Container Signs: Compost  | Paper Recycling | Container Recycling | Trash

Recycle by number?

The 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 triangle or arrow 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 1990s, 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.
End markets want to buy plastic bottles, tubs and jugs, not 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 scrap metal pots and pans, and empty aerosol cans. Plastic bags, plastic film and wrap, plant pots, buckets are no longer accepted due to changing markets.

Items such as plastic bags, cups, plates, utensils, black plastic, plastic clamshells (hinged or lidded), and candy and snack bags do not have enough market value to be included in the curbside collection system.  These plastics are not desired nor accepted by the end markets who buy our recycling.  Each community may be a little different in what they recycle because of different processors and markets. 


The driver will leave a non-collection notice if your container is significantly contaminated with the wrong materials, overfull, or was set out improperly.  The curbside 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 trash and fees apply.



  • 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 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 or make an appointment with the County Household Hazardous Waste Program.


Household Batteries

Place used household batteries in the bag provided by Recology 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 recommended 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 or to the SMaRT Station for free disposal at their Drop Off Center (408) 752-8530.

Visit these links for more information on how to recycle:

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