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Dual-Stream Recycling Pilot Program

Select customers of Mill Valley Refuse Service are participating in a Dual-Stream Recycling Program that started on September 3, 2018 and will end on December 29, 2018.

Who is Participating?

Select from the cities below to see a map of the residential areas participating in this program. If you live on the streets highlighted, you are participating in the dual-stream program.

How the Dual-Stream Pilot Program Works

We are used to a single-stream method of collection for recycling in which all recyclables are mixed in one cart for collection on the same day. Dual-stream recycling is the method in which mixed paper is put into one can, and all other mixed recyclables are put into another can. The dual-stream collection method works well for other haulers and is one way we can lessen contamination levels in our recycling stream.

In our pilot program we will pick up your carts/cans on ALTERNATING WEEKS — Mixed Paper & Cardboard one week; All Other Mixed Recyclables (rigid plastic containers, metal cans, & glass bottles and jars) the next week.

Dual-Stream Recycling Pick Up Schedule

During this Pilot Program, you will place only one stream out for pick up each week: either your Paper and Mixed Cardboard or your All Other Mixed Recyclables. Put the right stream at the curb by 6:00 am on the designated alternating week along with your Garbage Can and Green Yard Waste/Compost Cart.

Note, you will continue to put your Garbage Can and Green Yard Waste/Compost Cart out weekly as usual. This alternating schedule is only for recycling.

Download a printer-friendly version of the calendar.

 Dual-Stream Pilot Schedule


What are the Recycling Streams?


Some examples of Mixed Paper & Cardboard materials are listed below. Remove all packaging materials made of plastic or Styrofoam. No food-soiled items.

  • Office Paper (any color)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines & catalogs
  • Paperboard (like cereal or shoe boxes)
  • Junk mail & envelopes (plastic window okay)
  • Paperboard tubes (like toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Paperback & phone books

Some examples of All Other Mixed Recyclable materials are listed below. Food waste must be wiped clean or rinsed, liquids poured out. Put all glass, cans, and plastic loose in the can or bin. Absolutely no plastic bags, plastic wrap or Styrofoam.

  • Glass bottles & jars
  • Aluminum and tin cans
  • Aluminum foil and food trays
  • Plastic bottles and containers clearly labeled with #1-5 and 7

Can/Cart/Bin Options

You have several can/cart options for dual-stream recycling pick up. The important thing is that whatever container you put out for collection contains the right stream with clean materials inside.

OPTION 1 - Use your 68-gallon brown recycle cart for pick-up of both streams

Early feedback suggests that some participants would like to use their existing 68-gallon brown recycle cart for pick up of both recycling streams so long as they put out the right material on the right week. We think they’ve come up with a great idea. It does involve some storing and transfering of recyclables (and you still need another can/cart/or bin for storage) but this option seems to work well, so feel free to give it a try.

Here's how to do it.

For this example, let’s assume next week’s pick up is for the Paper & Cardboard recycling stream.


This week collect your Paper & Cardboard recycling in your existing 68-gallon brown recycle cart. Collect your other Mixed Recyclables (rigid plastic containers, metal cans, & glass bottles and jars) in a separate container, such as the 22-gallon brown bin we provided.



On your Paper & Cardboard pick up day, roll only the 68-gallon brown recycle cart with your Paper & Cardboard to the street by 6:00 a.m. for pick up.



Now you switch.

Now that your 68-gallon brown recycle cart is empty, simply transfer your weeks’ worth of Mixed Recyclables into it and continue using it for Mixed Recyclables the next week. Now use the 22-gallon brown bin to collect your Paper & Cardboard stream.



On your Mixed Recyclables pick up day, roll only the 68-gallon brown recycle cart containing your Mixed Recyclables to the street by 6:00 a.m. for pick up.



Download this pdf to learn how to use your existing 68-gallon brown recycle cart for pick up of both recycling streams



OPTION 2 - Use your 68-gallon brown recycle cart for paper only, another can for mixed recyclables

Use your 68-gallon brown recycle cart for Mixed Paper & Cardboard only as it's large enough for boxes and cardboard items. Use a different can/cart/bin of your choosing for All Other Mixed Recyclables.

On the Mixed Paper & Cardboard week, roll out your current 68-gallon brown recycle cart with mixed paper and cardboard ONLY in it. The following week place a different can of your choosing at the curb with your other mixed recyclables (cans; glass bottles & jars; and rigid plastic containers).

Extra Can Options 

USE YOUR OWN CAN — Use any old garbage can or bin you may already have around the house that’s big enough for your glass, plastic, and metal recycling. Our drivers will provide a recycling sticker for the can so they can distinguish it from your regular trash can. You may also request a sticker from our office, which will be delivered out to your home. We encourage this option as it allows you to re-purpose an old can, which is in keeping with the Zero Waste ethic of “Reduce, REUSE, Recycle.”

Request a binREQUEST A BIN — Mill Valley Refuse Service will provide a 22-gallon bin for mixed recyclables upon request if you have no spare can as mentioned in Option #1. Call our office to request a bin to be dropped off at your home. Our “Request-a-Bin” hotline is 415-457-9760, X25, leave a message with your name and address so we can include you on our delivery route.



What Goes Where

Not sure how to properly dispose of something? Search our What Goes Where tool to find out if a material can be reused, recycled, composted, or disposed of in your trash.



Why Dual-Stream Recycling?

Recycling processing fees have skyrocketed because China, a major market for our recyclables, imposed strict new regulations this year requiring bales sent from the U.S. contain only 0.5% contamination. The added labor costs required to meet these new regulations have increased the tipping fees (the amount we pay to dump at a processing facility) for single-stream material from $0/ton in April of 2017, to $80/ton today. Since contamination of single-stream recycling (see side bar), and reduced demand for mixed paper and plastics have made it difficult for us to secure processing at reasonable and stable rates for our customers, we want to find out if dual-stream collection is a viable option. We will dump the cleaner material at Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael for the considerably reduced fee of only $17.50/ton.

Dual-stream collection may be the solution to the problems posed by current market conditions. You will help us learn more by being part of this pilot program. Thank you for your cooperation.