Mill Valley Refuse Service provides residential recycling service in Almonte, Alto, Belvedere, Corte Madera, Homestead, Mill Valley, Strawberry, Tiburon and several unincorporated areas of Marin County.
Visit our Residential Service Guidelines to learn more about our collection service.
For many years, Mill Valley Refuse Service operated a mixed — or single-stream — recycling service allowing our customers to mix all of their recycling materials in one cart for weekly collection. In August of 2019, after a successful pilot program was completed and with the support of our jurisdictions, we made the decision to switch to a dual stream recycling collection method for our residential customers which produces cleaner, higher-quality recycling material and cuts our carbon footprint by allowing us to drop off recyclables at the Marin Recycling Center in San Rafael.
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.
Tip: This tool works best if you search for categories instead of a brand name or very particular product. For instance, rather than “Coffee-mate container” search instead for “plastic beverage bottle.” Instead of “cottage cheese container” search instead for “plastic tub.”
1. Use two containers in your home for storing recyclables. These could be buckets or reusable bags as shown in the photo on the right.
2. Designate one bag for containers (cans, glass, & plastic) and one for paper products (paper, cardboard boxes, & mail).
3. When the bags are full, dump them into the appropriate outdoor cart.
The brown cart with the blue lid is for clean paper and cardboard material only.
Please keep paper separate from container recycling before placing in the cart to prevent contamination.
Below are guidelines about what can and cannot go in your Paper Cart, but we suggest using the What Goes Where tool above to look up specific items.
The brown cart with the brown lid is for containers only (i.e. glass jars and bottles, metal and aluminum cans, and plastic bottles).
All items must be rinsed or wiped clean of food residue.
Please keep containers separate from paper recycling before placing in the cart to prevent contamination.
Below are guidelines about what can and cannot go in your Container Cart, but we suggest using the What Goes Where tool above to look up specific items.
Plastic products are sometimes stamped with a number surrounded by the recycling symbol. These numbers only signify the chemical composition of the type of plastic the container is made of. The numbers have nothing to do with whether or not there is an actual market for recycling that type of plastic.
Regardless of the number, only bottles, jugs and tubs should be put into your recycle cart. If a plastic item falls outside that group of items, it should, unfortunately, go into the trash to avoid contaminating your recycling stream.
When in doubt, use our searchable “What Goes Where” online tool to determine if a material can be reused, recycled, composted, or disposed of in your trash.
We know that it can be difficult to determine what materials are recyclable. Unfortunately, when in doubt, it’s better to throw it out (in the garbage) than to risk contaminating your recycling cart.
Contamination is the term used to describe anything that renders your recycled items non-recyclable. Besides ruining good material, contamination increases labor costs at processing plants as workers try to separate contaminated material from good material. Contamination typically occurs when:
Instead, our driver will leave a Violation Notice (click on image at right to see a bigger version) on the cart handle describing the contaminant observed in the cart, and providing an opportunity to clean out the cart for pick up the following week. Or you may opt to request a special pickup (for a fee) after cleaning the cart.
When a cart is tagged, a sticker that describes a number of the most common contaminants will be placed on the cart lid as a permanent reminder of what should NOT be put in the cart.
The common contaminants listed on the violation notice are:
If you receive a Violation Notice and want to schedule a special pickup, call our office at (415) 457-9760.
A note from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about recycling and PPE disposal during Coronavirus.
This video from the New York Times helps explain some of the issues around plastic recycling labeling.
Have efforts to solve the plastic pollution problem made it worse? Go inside the battle over plastics, recycling and what’s at stake with PBS’ Frontline: Plastic Wars.