Homes (1-8 Units) Split-Carts


Video of Recycling Split-Cart Collected by Split-Truck
Split-Truck Keeps Paper Separated from Household Containers for Best Market Quality & Price


Links to Topics:

Trash Cart Size Based on Household Size
Residential Service 
Recycling Day
Where to Set Out
How to Recycle (Split-Cart)
What’s Accepted
Motor Oil & Filters
Household Batteries
Cell Phones, CFLS, & Used Cooking Oil
Compost (food scraps and yard trimmings)
Extra Collection & Bulky Goods
Recycling Leaders


Curbside service is provided to residential 1-4 units per parcel with individual carts (and may also be available for 5-8 units as approved by the City).  The carts are collected on a schedule, which changed on July 17, 2017 when the Curbside Food Scraps Program began (yard trimmings cart is now called the compost cart).  

Curbside Service 1-4 Units Before July 2017 After July 2017
 Trash Cart Weekly  Weekly
 Recycling Split-Cart Every Other Week Every Other Week
 Compost Cart Every Other Week Weekly

Collection is weekly for trash and compost carts, and every other week for recycling as of July 17, 2017.  Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings may be placed in the compost cart, which is collected weekly.  The Collection Schedule provides more information about when carts are collected on your street.  

Trash Cart Sizes

City Code requires every property to have sufficient trash service for the amount of waste generated, which is determined by the household size.  The following table has taken into account that the household is also recycling and composting correctly.  The smallest trash cart size is a 20-gallon "mini-can" and was adopted for single occupancy or Senior households because they produce less trash. 

Choose a size that is large enough for your household trash, including extra capacity for holidays, family celebrations, non-recyclable online shipment packaging, and household projects throughout the year.  Remember, the goal is to reduce waste, but preserve enough capacity for extra trash (and avoid having to buy an extra garbage sticker from the City or Safeway and Nob Hill grocery stores.)

Trash Cart Size  Dimensions Household Size Household Size
20 gallon =  20"Wx24"Dx33"H 1 adult 2 Seniors
32 gallon =  20"Wx24"Dx38"H 2 adults and 1 child 2 adults
64 gallon =  28"Wx31"Dx40"H 2 adults and 2 children 3 adults
96 gallon = 36"Wx31"Dx46"H 2 adults and 3+ children 4 adults

 Recycling carts are available in 64 and 96-gallon sizes.  Compost carts (yard trimmings) are available in 24-, 64- and 96-gallon sizes.  Cart dimensions are similar to trash.

Cart Sizes:  Garbage / Recycling  / Yard Trimmings / Cleaning

Utility Rates for trash service is based on the size of the garbage cart. Recycling service is provided at no additional charge. Multi-Family (5-8 units per parcel) have the option of Residential (trash carts) or Apartment Service (trash dumpsters).  The utility rate or trash rate is a bundled rate which includes collection and processing of all three carts, clean up appointments, street sweeping, household hazardous waste collection, confidential paper shredding, home compost workshops, landfill maintenance, and utility billing.

Contact the City's Utility Billing Service at (650) 903-6317 to order or change residential service.

Recycling Day

Recycling is collected every other week on the same day as garbage. Find your recycling week by visiting Collection Schedules & Holidays.

Where to Set Out Carts for Collection

On collection day, follow these instructions for setting out garbage, recycling and yard trimmings carts:

  1. Place carts in the street by 7 a.m. on collection day, with the cart facing the street (handles on the sidewalk side) for automated collection. 
  2. If there is no room in the street due to parked cars, please put carts in the street next to your driveway.  You may also place carts on top of the curb, but please do not block the sidewalk.  Allow enough room for disabled persons to navigate the sidewalk using a wheelchair, walker, or guide dog, or for people using a baby carriage or walking a dog.  In this situation, drivers will manually collect carts from the top of the curb if there is no room in the street.
  3. Keep carts 18 inches apart (for mechanical collection), and away from overhanging trees, carports, balconies, basketball hoops, and utility meters and gas and water lines.
  4. Safety first!  For rowhouses and other high-density developments, water and gas lines are located in the landscaping space between garages and are not visible to drivers collecting your carts.  Keep carts at least 2 feet away from water and gas service lines.
  5. For all types of homes, remove carts from the street that evening or no later than the next day. Store the carts inside the garage or behind a fence, hedge or area screened from street view as a courtesy to your neighbors. If these areas are unavailable, place the carts on the side of the garage or house.
  6. To prevent litter, please be sure to bag all garbage, especially polystyrene foam packaging peanuts (not recyclable). Likewise, be sure to place shredded paper in a paper bag, closed tightly, before you place it in the recycling cart.

Remember, garbage and compost collection occurs weekly but recycling collection occurs every other week. Visit Collection Schedules & Holidays to determine your collection day and recycling week.  See Extra Collection Services and Yard Trimmings for additional services.

How to Recycle Using the Split-Cart

Homes use a 64- or 96-gallon recycling cart which is "split" into two sections: one side for newspaper and mixed paper (grey lid), and the other side for bottles and cans (blue lid). The split-cart is collected with a fully-automated truck using a mechanical arm to empty carts. The truck is also split inside to keep paper and containers separated until unloaded at the SMaRT Station.  


If you always have more recycling than will fit in the cart, please order a second or larger split-cart from Recology at (650) 967-3034. 

Split-carts are available in 64- and 96-gallon sizes.  For dimensions, see table above under trash cart sizes.  Dimensions are similar.


What's Accepted for Recycling

Mountain View accepts the items listed below in the curbside recycling program. These items have enough market value to justify the costs of collection and processing as determined by our recycling processor, the SMaRT Station. However, other recyclables such as scrap metal or 5-gallon plastic buckets, may still be accepted but only through drop-off at the SMaRT Station Drop-Off Center. Items will be added to the list as markets develop and become sustainable. As of 2011, Smart Station no longer accepts plastic bags for recycling. Please return your plastic bags directly to the grocery store and be sure to pick up an inexpensive reusable bag from the store for future shopping trips. See also detailed lists and charts about What's Recyclable.

Mixed Containers

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles and wide-mouth tubs
  • Metal cans and lids (tin, steel and aluminum)
  • Beverage and soup cartons (refrigerated or shelf types) such as Juice, milk, soup, soy, wine, egg substitutes (lids okay).

No window glass, plastic bags, plastic trays, plastic wrap, cooking pots, hangers, plastic plant pots or trays, other metal, plastic or glass are accepted. It must be a bottle, jar or tub less than 2-gallon size. Leaving caps on salad oil or olive oil bottles is allowed.

Mixed Paper

  • Newspapers
  • Catalogs
  • Telephone books
  • Magazines
  • Cereal boxes
  • Junk mail
  • Shredded paper (place in paper bag and close to prevent litter)
  • Writing paper
  • Small pieces of flattened cardboard. 

No frozen food packaging, plastic bags or pizza boxes with stains/food residue, paper egg cartons, cushioned mailers (bubble wrap inside) or tyvex envelopes are accepted. Remove any plastic bags or wrapping around newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and cardboard boxes (e.g. soda cases) before recycling.


For residential properties, large cardboard should be:

  • Cut into pieces about 3'x3'
  • Placed against the recycling cart for manual collection
  • Tied or bundled together 
  • Place small cardboard pieces (flattened) into the mixed paper side of cart (grey lid).  Businesses and schools may place flattened cardboard in the mixed recycling or cardboard dumpsters. Be sure to remove any plastic wrap around cardboard boxes (e.g. soda cases) before recycling.
  • Please do not put cardboard in the compost cart.  You may use a piece of cardboard in the bottom of the compost cart to absorb liquids.

Additional Services for split-carts users

Motor Oil & Oil Filters

Put 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. You may also take used motor oil, filters, antifreeze, and other vehicle fluids to the SMaRT Station, 301 Carl Road, Sunnyvale, (408) 752-8530 for free disposal.

Household Batteries


Place used household batteries in the bag provided by Recology Mountain View ((650) 967-3034) and set on top of the split-cart. Recology collects and provides a new battery bag for future use upon collection. For home safety, tape battery terminals before putting them in the battery bag to reduce the risk of fire and other hazards.

Drop Off

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.

Cell Phones, CFLS, & Used Cooking Oil

Additional items are also acceptable for collection in the residential curbside program if prepared properly:

  • Cell Phones: Place phones in a clear, sealed plastic bag and set on top of recycling cart.
  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs): Place CFLs in a clear sealed plastic bag and set on the curb next to the recycling cart or bring to the Mountain View Recycling Center Drop Off. No fluorescent tubes, please. Those may be taken to SMaRT Station (20 tube limit).
  • Used Cooking Oil (residential only): Place in clear plastic bottle or jug with a screw-top lid (limit of two) and set on top of curb next to your recycling cart so visible to the driver. You may also bring up to two jugs to the Mountain View Recycling Center during Buy-Back Hours.


Information on what's accepted or not in the compost cart can be found at Yard Trimmings

Carts are available in 64- and 96-gallon sizes for all homes, and 24-gallon size for high-density homes such as rowhouses and mobile homes.  For dimensions, see table above under trash cart sizes.  Dimensions are similar.

Food Scraps Program is for residents on curbside services (individual trash carts, split-recycling cart, and compost cart).  A pilot for large multi-family complexes and apartments is planned for 2018 to establish how food scraps service might be provided and at what cost. Visit for more information or contact Recology at (650) 967-3034.

Extra Collection Services

Recycling & compost

  • If you occasionally have extra recycling or compost, residents with recycling split-carts may set out up to two (2) extra containers of recycling or compost with their carts on collection day.  
    • For compost, place all food scraps and food-soiled paper only in the compost cart along with yard trimmings. Food scraps must be placed in the compost cart, not in extra containers.
    • For yard trimmings that won't fit in the compost cart, set out up to two (2) extra containers of yard trimmings in kraft paper bags or plastic can (no more than 32 gallon size, and less than 50 pounds each).  Do not use metal cans or plastic bags for the extra yard trimmings.  
    • For recycling, set out up to two (2) extra paper bags or boxes of recycling next to cart. Place cans and bottles in one paper bag or small box and set next to cart. Place mixed paper in another paper bag or box. No plastic bags or metal cans please.  Containers used for extra recycling will be collected for recycling and not returned.
    • You may also drop off extra recycling at the Mountain View Recycling Center, 935 Terra Bella Avenue, near Shoreline Boulevard and Highway 101.
    • See Holidays for additional recycling and holiday tree opportunities.
  • If you regularly have extra recycling or yard trimmings, you can order larger recycling and compost carts at no charge.
  • For large amounts, call Recology at (650) 967-3034 to schedule a free On Call Plus Clean Up appointment.
  • Fall Leaf collection is no longer needed now that compost carts are collected weekly and there is year-round extra collection.  


  • Call Recology Mountain View at (650) 967-3034 to schedule a free On Call Plus Clean Up appointment or an extra collection (fee).
  • If you regularly have extra garbage, you can order a larger garbage cart (refuse rates apply). Pictured left to right are cart sizes:  96-, 64-, 32- and 20-gallon
  • If you occasionally have extra garbage, you can purchase an extra garbage sticker from most local Safeway and Nob Hill stores, and from the City Finance & Administrative Services Department, the Library (circulation desk), and Recology at 935 Terra Bella Avenue (Tues-Fri 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.). Please call stores first to make sure they have stickers.

Cart Cleaning

Can I rinse out my carts during a water shortage?   

Yes, using water for health and sanitary reasons is allowed to clean your garbage, recycling or yard cart.  The best practice is to lightly rinse the cart on the private sidewalk leading up to your front door and next to your landscaping.  That will make it easier to sweep up any bits of paper or other residue after the sidewalk dries; and water will run off into your landscaping (instead of into the gutter or street which flows into storm drains and the San Francisco Bay).  For other water regulations information, please visit this link.  Contact Recology at (650) 967-3034 to ask if cart cleaning services might also be available (fee may apply).

Bulky Goods

For bulky goods like furniture, appliances or large amounts of yard waste, contact Recology Mountain View for curbside service or you may take these unusable items to the SMaRT Station for a fee. For more information, click on Clean Up Programs or SMaRT Station. For bulky goods that may contain hazardous wastes, such as refrigerators, computers and televisions, see E-Waste.  For bulky goods which are still in good condition and can be used by others, see Environmental Days below or take items to a local thrift store.

Recycling Leaders

For residents with curbside service (individual carts), collection of the split-recycling cart is every other week.  Recycling leaders can get a lawn sign from the City designed to remind your neighbors about recycling day or to answer recycling questions. If you are interested in being a Recycling Leader for your block, please call the City's Solid Waste & Recycling Program at (650) 903-6311 to order a sign.