Recycling & Zero Waste

Can I recycle paperback books in my curbside cart? 
Can I recycle hardcover books too?

Yes you can recycle paperback books but no hardcover books.

Hardcover books are not recyclable because the covers contain paper and glue, which damages the sorting equipment and dulls the knives that chop up the paper during the recycling process.   

If you would like to take the time to remove the book cover and spine from the hardcover book, the remaining pages could be placed in the mixed paper section of the recycling cart.  

Otherwise, you might consider donating books for reuse or selling them to used book stores. For a list of used book stores or organizations accepting hard cover books for reuse, please visit
Can I rinse out my garbage, recycling and yard trimming carts during a water shortage?

Yes, using water for health and sanitary reasons is allowed.  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 the gutter or street which flows into storm drains and the San Francisco Bay). Contact Recology at (650) 967-3034 to ask if cart cleaning services might also be available (fee may apply).

For other water regulations information, please visit this link.

Does the City have extra dump days or a permit or voucher to the dump?

The City has a curbside On Call Plus Clean Up Days program, which can be redeemed for a Voucher to the SMaRT Station.

On Call Plus Days
The On Call Plus Clean Up Program is available to residents living in homes, condominiums, townhouses and mobile homes. (Apartment managers can call to arrange a complex-wide special collection or haul items directly to the SMaRT Station®.)

Residents can schedule three free appointments throughout the year by calling Foothill Disposal at 650-967-3034. (Appointments are not available mid-December through mid-January to allow for holiday tree collection. Please contact Foothill Disposal for specific dates.)

Each appointment can be used to set out extra trash and yard waste in an 8'L x 4'W x 4'H area PLUS up to 3 bulky goods such as a washer, sofa and mattress at no charge. And, for a fee, residents also may set out refrigerators, computer monitors, televisions and up to 4 passenger vehicle tires for curbside collection (these items contain hazardous substances needing special handling).

SMaRT Station Vouchers
Residents may exchange any of the above clean up appointments for a Voucher to haul items directly to the SMaRT Station (open 7 days a week).  Proof of residency is required.  To obtain vouchers, please telephone Foothill Disposal at 650-967-3034 and they will mail one to you.  The vouchers are good for the same items as an On Call Plus curbside appointment except that you may recycle computer monitors and televisions at no charge at the SMaRT Station.

Visit for more on recycling in Mountain View.

How do I dispose of a Christmas tree?

Residents (1-8 unit properties) should place undecorated green or flocked trees (without metal/plastic stands) at the curbside on your recycling collection day

Large trees over 5 feet must be cut into 5 foot lengths so they will fit in the collection truck.  Recology Mountain View will collect trees at no charge until about the middle of January*.  After that time, residents will need to purchase an extra garbage sticker and place it on the tree for regular garbage collection or cut the tree in small pieces to fit loosely in the yard trimmings cart.  *Call Recology at 650-967-3034 for the exact dates of the holiday tree collection period.  All trees are recycled.

Apartment residents (9 or more unit properties) should contact their property manager for how to handle trees.

More information can be found at this link.

How do I dispose of heavy trash like household appliances?

Residents living in homes, mobile homes, condos and townhouses may obtain free curbside service for appliances through the On Call Plus Clean Up Appointment Program.  There is NO charge for refrigerators, air conditioners, and other appliances.  Residents receive up to three appointments per year.  Appointments may also be exchanged for a free Voucher to the SMaRT Station.  Call Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034 for more information.

See also Clean Up Programs.

How do I dispose of paint and toxic materials?
Click on the link below for information.
How do I dispose of unused or outdated medicines?
There are several options for Mountain View residents.  Visit this link for medications disposal.

How do I dispose of used motor oil?
If you live in a home (1-4 units on a parcel), you may recycled used motor oil at the curbside on your recycling day.  Please contact Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034 to order oil jugs for used motor oil.  The used oil jug should be set out on the ground next to the recycling cart.

All residents may also drop off used motor oil, filters, antifreeze, and other vehicle fluids at the SMaRT Station Drop Off Center at no charge.  The Station is located at 301 Carl Road, Sunnyvale, (408) 752-8530.

See link below to Household Hazardous Waste for other options.
How do I get a debris box?
Call Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034. Recycling boxes for yard trimmings, dirt or rock are also available at a reduced rate. 

Please note that roll-off or "debris" boxes for residents and businesses may only be provided by Recology Mountain View, the City's exclusive hauler by franchise. 

Also, only Recology boxes may be placed in the street for construction, remodeling or demolition jobs (provided an encroachment permit is first obtained from Public Works, Land Development (650-903-6311)). 

Recology Mountain View is the City's exclusive hauler of our community's solid waste (garbage, refuse) and recycling. 

For more information, visit this link.
How do I get a Voucher for an extra dump?
Vouchers are available for residents who wish to haul items to the "dump".  Vouchers are available to residents living in homes, condos, townhouses, mobile home parks, and in multi-family dwellings of 2-8 units.  Please visit Clean Up Programs & Vouchers for more information.
How do I obtain a dumpster?

Call Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.  The Call Center is closed on major holidays, but drivers are still collecting on all major holidays except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

How do I order recycling containers?

Call Recology Mountain View at (650) 967-3034 to order the recycling split-cart for homes; the recycling group toters for apartments; or cardboard and mixed recycling dumpsters for businesses.

For more information visit or call Recology at (650) 967-3034.

How do I request a trash toter (cart) for my home?
Contact Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034 and they will be happy to help you.  If you are a new resident and have not yet set up your utility billing account for trash, water and sewer, please call City Finance first at 650-903-6317 for assistance.

For information about sizes for trash, recycling and yard trimmings cart, visit this link.
I missed the confidential paper shredding event.  How can I get rid of my papers safely?  Are papers placed in the recycling cart shredded at the SMaRT Station?

If you cannot attend one of the three, free shredding events at the SMaRT Station and need immediate assistance, call your local office supply store which offers shredding services for a small fee.  Like the events, office supply stores will shred papers immediately or store them in a secure locked box until the papers can be shredded.

Another option is to check the telephone book Yellow Pages under "business records destruction" or "paper-shredding" for a company providing services.  Often these companies can provide curbside shredding services to residents and businesses at your location.  They typically charge residents $5-$10 per file box if you bring them to their location; or a minimum of $90 to provide curbside service at your home. If you choose the latter service, consider asking neighbors to join you and share the cost.

Recycling Carts.  Papers placed in the recycling cart are not shredded at the SMaRT Station, but are shipped to recycling processors who shred, pulp, dry and press the papers into new feedstock to make recycled papers.  

Home Shredders.  Personal shredders at home are very useful, but please be sure to place shredded papers in a paper bag, staple or roll tightly shut to prevent litter, and place in your recycling cart.  Keeping shredded papers in paper bags prevents litter and allows the entire bag to be recycled.  Please do not use plastic bags as they are not recyclable.

I want to report illegal dumping.
To report illegal dumping, please contact the appropriate department or division below.  However, if the material was dumped on your property, the owner or occupant is responsible for clean up.

Residential Properties (1-4 units) or Commercial Properties:  City Attorney's Office, Code Enforcement, 650-526-7713

Residential Properties (5 or more units):  Fire and Environmental Protection Section, 650-903-6378

Public Streets:  Public Services Division 650-903-6329

Parks and Medians:  Forestry & Roadways Division 650-903-6273

Is it true that plastic bottles which still have caps/lids on are discarded, rather than recycled, by workers on the sorting line because it takes too much time to remove them? (A friend just learned this "fact" from the Green Channel.)
No, the information is not correct with respect to Mountain View.

In Mountain View, you may include plastic caps and lids without fear that the bottle or tub will be rejected.

However, most caps and lids are not accepted for recycling because they cause problems with the baling equipment and are not the type of plastic manufacturers desire. We prefer that caps and lids not be included, but the recycling process removes many of them.

During the recycling process, containers are sorted, washed, shredded and flaked; and contaminants, like paper labels and caps/lids, are skimmed out of the mixture prior to melting.

Therefore, recycle caps/lids if they are marked #1 through #7, or if needed to keep your cart clean from sticky or oily food residues (syrup, honey or salad oil containers).

If you forget to remove the cap or lid, fear not, the container will be recycled in Mountain View.

Remember, each community's recycling program may be a little different due to market conditions or processing equipment. For information on our recycling programs, please contact the City's Solid Waste & Recycling Section at 650-903-6311 or visit

What environmental events does Mountain View have each year?
Click here for a list.
When is the garbage and recycling collection on my street?
Please click on the link below to determine your collection day or contact Recology Mountain View at 650-967-3034.
When is the next free confidential paper shredding event?

Free confidential paper shredding events are held throughout the year at the SMaRT Station for Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale residents.  Visit this link for more information.

Where can I dispose of medicines, sharps, lancets, and thermometers?  Is there an annual event?
Please visit the link to the Medications & Disposal webpage for more information. 
Where can I find information about the City’s recycling, trash, composting and clean up programs for residents, businesses, schools and developers?
Information about these items is available on the City's website under Public Works, Recycling and Zero Waste.  A shortcut link is
Where can I get compost and mulch?

You can get finished compost and mulch (large pieces) at our SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale.

Recology Mountain View (formerly called Foothill Disposal) collects yard trimmings throughout the Mountain View community and brings it to the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale for processing into mulch for top dressing soil or for composting.  The material is sent to a composting facility in  and returned to the SMaRT Station as finished landscape compost. 

The finished compost is loose (not in a bag) and available to residents of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Los Altos.  Please bring your own shovel and container to load and transport the material.  There is a limit of one truck load per week.  These materials are provided to residents at no charge.  Be sure to bring a tarp to cover your load under a new City of Sunnyvale Ordinance (or they will provide you with one for a fee).  
The SMaRT Station is a cooperative partnership between the cities of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto and is located at 301 Carl Road (cross-streets Borregas & Caribbean) in Sunnyvale. 

For more information visit., Composting & Yard Trimmings, or SMaRT Station, or call the SMaRT Station at 408-752-8530.  The station is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Where is the nearest city dump site? Is there an annual dump permit or dump voucher?
The new "dump" is the SMaRT Station, where residents and businesses can drop off garbage, recycling and yard trimmings for recycling or disposal (fees may apply).  SMaRT is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Contact the SMaRT Station at 408-752-8530 for rates and more information. 

The SMaRT Station is also a Buy-Back and Drop-Off Center. Residents may redeem California Refund Value bottles and cans or drop off household recyclable containers, scrap metal, plastic bags, cardboard and mixed paper at no charge. The Station also accepts used motor oil, vehicle fluids, fluorescent tubes, computer monitors, televisions, and hypodermic needles at no charge. Click on the link below for more information about E-waste and Hazardous Waste disposal.

Mountain View residents living in homes, townhouses, condominiums,  mobilehome parks, and multi-family dwellings (1-8 units) are eligible for On Call Plus Clean Up Days which may also be redeemed for a Voucher to the SMaRT Station. 

See Clean Up Days for more information.

Why are plastic bags bad?  Are there alternatives?

Read the answer below and also visit for information about the City's Reusable Bag Ordinance.

Bringing your own shopping bag is an easy way to make a difference. One reusable bag can replace hundreds of plastic and paper bags over its lifetime. Not convinced? Consider these three facts:

#1 Disposable shopping bags are not "free."
There are many hidden costs to disposable bags including resource consumption and litter clean-up. When retailers give away free bags, their costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

#2 Plastic bags are difficult and expensive to recycle. 
In California, less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled. It costs more to recycle a plastic bag than to produce a new one (due to sorting and deinking problems and the low quality of plastic used in bags). Bags get caught in conveyors and pulleys at recycling facilities, causing frequent shut downs. 

In Mountain View, plastic bags are not accepted for recycling, but you can drop clean bags off at some grocery stores or at the drop off center at the SMaRT Station

#3 Paper bags are not better for the environment than plastic bags. 
They both have environmental impacts, including depleting natural resources and causing pollution. The production of paper bags generates 70% more air pollution and 50 times more water pollution than plastic bags.  

"Make it a Habit & Grab it" Tips

  • Write "bring bags" as the first item on your shopping list or buy them at the store
  • Put your coupons in your bag and keep it by the front door or hang on a doorknob
  • Put your bags on the backseat, front seat, or in between the front seats
  • Put a small note on the dashboard to remind you to bring them into the store if you keep bags in the trunk
  • Purchase a few compact reusable bags and keep them in a purse, jacket pocket, backpack or attach to your keychain
  • Teach your kids to remind you