(415) 457-9760 Mill Valley Refuse Service 112 Front Street San Rafael, CA 94901
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.
As you begin to type in a material, the What Goes Where tool will predict the entry and offer helpful material suggestions and synonyms that may not be an exact match but will likely be a larger category bucket that your material falls into. For example, a search for “plastic honey jar” will result in a few suggestions, the correct match is “plastic sauce bottle.”
The list below will help you determine what you may put in your mixed recycling can. "Mixed" or "single-stream" recycling (as it is sometimes called) means that you can put all of your recycling in one can, so there's no need to sort items by type. For a printable version of what can be recycled, download our Recycling Guide (pdf). Items accepted in our curbside program are not the only ones Marin residents can recycle, visit Marin Recycles to learn more.
Unfortunately, paper that is lined with plastic (like milk cartons) or line with layered materials (such as juice or soup boxes) are no longer accepted for recycling. Read more about this here. Please do not put them in your recycling cart, instead these items go into the trash.
Recycling as we know it is threatened as never before. In 2017, China announced a change in its import policies, dubbed “National Sword,” that set strict new contaminants thresholds on the bales of recyclable materials it buys. The stringent new requirements—no more than 0.5% contamination in bales—forces recycling processors to go to extraordinary lengths to try to improve the quality of recovered materials. Additional employees have been added to sort lines. Materials are now often processed, and then reprocessed a second time to produce cleaner bales.
The demand for cleaner materials has filtered down from China to domestic processors to haulers, like ourselves, and finally down to you, the original source of this waste stream. Now we must take action to “police” individual recycle carts because the processing plant reports our loads consist of about 20% trash. We are dismayed that it has come to this, but it must be the responsibility of each of us to ensure a cleaner stream of recyclable material is delivered to the processing plants.
RECYCLE CARTS WILL NOT BE DUMPED IF THEY ARE HEAVILY CONTAMINATED WITH TRASH.
Instead, our driver will leave a Violation Notice (click image on left to see a bigger version) on the cart handle describing the contaminant observed in the cart providing an opportunity to clean out the cart for pickup 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:
Learn how good intentions are wasted when the wrong materials are put in your recycling and compost carts.
MVRS offers a less expensive 20-gallon can rate for customers who recycle and compost so much that they do not fill larger-size cans with trash. You must purchase a new 20-gallon can from a local store if you wish to switch to the 20-gallon can rate. Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as you are able to see if you can drop a can size and save money in the long run.