Homes (1-8 Units) Split-Carts

QUICK Links to Topics:

Trash Cart Size Based on Household Size
Residential Service 
Where to Set Out
How to Recycle (Split-Cart)
What’s Accepted
Compost (food scraps and yard trimmings)
Extra Collection & Bulky Goods
Recycling Leaders


The type of residential service, individual carts or shared containers, is based on the number of dwelling units on a parcel.  Properties with 1-4 dwelling units per parcel have Curbside Service (individual carts).  This service may also be available for properties with 5-8 dwelling units as approved by the City.  Properties with or 9 or more dwelling units have shared service (where the trash and recycling containers are shared by all residents on the property).  Containers are collected on a schedule, which may vary depending on whether the property is on Curbside Service or Shared Service.

For Curbside Service, collection is weekly for trash and compost carts, and every other week for recycling. 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 whether you have Curbside Service or Shared Service.  

Trash Cart Standards - Based on Household Size

To protect public health and sanitation, the City Code requires every property to have sufficient trash service for the amount of waste generated as determined by the City.  As such, the trash cart size is determined by your household size (occupancy, not by "the cheapest rate"). It is important to remember that the "trash rate" is actually a bundled rate that includes collection and processing of recycling and composting, street sweeping, clean up appointments, confidential paper shredding, household hazardous waste drop off, landfill maintenance, utility billing, and other services.

Choose a trash cart size that is large enough for the household size below, which includes a little extra capacity for holidays, family celebrations, non-recyclable online shipment packaging, and household projects throughout the year.  The goal is to reduce waste, but preserve enough capacity for extra trash (and avoid having to buy extra trash stickers).

Trash cart size assumes the household is already recycling and composting fully and correctly.  See What Goes Where.

Trash Cart Size  Dimensions  Household Size 1 Household Size 2
Mini-Can/Insert = 20"Wx24"Dx33"H approx. 1 adult 2 Seniors
32 gallon = 19.25"Wx24.25"Dx38.5"H 2 adults and 2 children 2-3 adults
64 gallon = 24.25"Wx31.75"Dx41.75"H 2 adults and 3 children 3-4 adults
96 gallon = 29.75"Wx35.25"Dx43.25"H 2 adults and 3+ children 5-6 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.  See more information below.

Trash Rates are based on the size of the trash cart, and is a bundled rate that includes collection and processing of recycling and composting, street sweeping, clean up appointments, confidential paper shredding, household hazardous waste drop off, landfill maintenance, utility billing, and other services.  Multi-Family properties (5-8 units per parcel) have the option of Residential (trash carts) or Apartment Service (trash dumpsters).  Apartments using trash dumpsters pay a lower rate than individual carts because of cost-efficiency of picking up one container for multiple homes (including shared recycling carts).  Apartment clean up appointments are arranged by the property manager through their own maintenance crew or Recology (special collection fees apply).

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

Where to Set Out Carts for Collection

On collection day, follow these instructions for setting out trash, recycling and compost 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 trash, 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, trash and compost collection occurs weekly but recycling collection occurs every other 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 mixed paper and cardboard (dark blue lid), and the other side for bottles and cans (light 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. 

What's Accepted for Recycling

See What Goes Where for items accepted 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. Other recyclables may still be accepted at the SMaRT Station Drop-Off Center. Items will are added to the list as markets develop and become sustainable, check What Goes Where list for the most current list of accepted items. Note that SMaRT 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. 

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

  • Clothing and Textiles - NEW SERVICE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2021: Place clothing and textiles in a secured, clear plastic bag marked for donation and place it on the ground next to your compost cart on your regular weekly collection day. Holes, permanent stains and other imperfections are okay, but the clothing and textiles do need to be clean (as in washed) prior to placing curbside. Accepted clothing: socks, shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, skirts, tank tops, jackets, sweaters, pajamas and robes. Accepted textiles: laundered sheets, pillowcases, bed covers, towels and curtains. Shoes of all kinds (even single shoes) are also accepted if placed in a clear bag separate from clothing and textiles. Not accepted: pillows, underwear and bras, wet or unlaundered material and linens infested with bed bugs.     
  • Batteries: Place used household batteries in the bag provided by Recology Mountain View (650-967-3034) and set on top of the split-cart. To request a new battery bag, contact Recology or use your own clear, sealed plastic bag. To prevent combustion, 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 the SMaRT Station.
  • Motor Oil: 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. 
  • 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 (individual cart service 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.

OTHER Services for split-carts users


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. 

The Food Scraps Program is available for all Mountain View residents including apartment complexes. Visit our Food Scraps page 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 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. Food scraps must be placed in the compost cart, not in extra containers.
    • For recycling, set out up to two (2) extra paper bags or boxes of recycling next to the 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.  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.


  • If you regularly have extra trash, you can order a larger trash cart (rates apply). Pictured left to right are cart sizes:  96-, 64-, 32- and 20-gallon
  • If you occasionally have extra trash, you can purchase an extra trash sticker.
  • For large amounts, call Recology at 650-967-3034 to schedule a free On Call Plus Clean Up appointment.

Cart repair & Cleaning

Call Recology at 650-967-3034 or email for repairs for a cart or bin.

Can I rinse out my carts during a water shortage?   

Yes, using water for health and sanitary reasons is allowed to clean your trash, 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 Events.

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 the recycling day or to answer recycling questions. If you are interested in being a Recycling Leader for your block, please call the City's Recycling & Zero Waste Program at 650-903-6311 to order a sign.