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Recycling Collection Service

Recycling Services

Use Your Brown Can for Recycling

  • Brown can is for recycling only: no garbage, yard waste, compost or hazardous wastes
  • It's okay to mix your recyclables (glass, cans, paper etc.) in the brown can
  • Flatten and bundle all cardboard boxes (no larger than 4 foot x 4 foot)
  • Place your cart out only when it is at least half full
  • IMPORTANT Contaminated carts (ones that contain any material other than approved recycling material) will be dumped and charged as trash
  • Collected weekly
  • Place your can at the curb by 6:00 a.m. on your designated pickup day
  • Got too much? Pile extra recyclables by your brown can on pick up day

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.

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.”


What to Recycle

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.

Mixed Paper and Cardboard

  • Mixed paper: such as newspaper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, paperback books, phone books
  • Office paper: any color, envelopes (envelopes with windows okay)
  • Paperboard: such as cereal boxes (liners removed), shoe boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard (please flatten into 4' x 4' bundles)
  • Do not include: soiled paper, wax or plastic-coated paper, tissues, paper towels, photographs or hardcover books

Glass Bottles and Jars

  • Food and beverage bottles and jars in any color.
  • Please empty and rinse. No need to remove labels or caps. No corks.
  • Do not include: ceramics, Pyrex, stemware, light bulbs, window glass, or mirrors

Plastic Containers

Metal Cans

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Steel Cans
  • Tin and bi-metal cans: aerosol and metal paint cans are accepted if completely empty and dry.
  • Please rinse and empty before recycling. No need to remove labels.
  • Do not include: scrap metal, propane tanks, hangers or containers with liquid

Do Not Recycle Milk Cartons and Juice/Rice/Soy Containers

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.

  • Milk cartons
  • Drink boxes – Including juice, soy and rice milk containers and other aseptic packaging
  • Juice concentrate containers 

No Plastic Bags or Plastic Film

We do not accept plastic bags or plastic film of any kind in our curbside recycling program. Many local supermarkets and drugstores will accept your clean, dry plastic bags and plastic film in recycling receptacles near their entrances. Clean your plastic bags of food debris, collect them, and return them to the store on your next trip. Read more about this here.

Recycling Plastic Right

In this short video, you'll learn how remembering the mantra "bottles, tubs, and jugs" will help you ensure that you're putting the right plastic in your recycling. Remember: keeping your film plastics out of your recycling may feel like a small contribution, but when it’s multiplied by the entire community, it makes an enormous difference!

New Recycling Violation Policy

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.

Contamination Violation Notice


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:

  • Plastic bags and Packaging (should go into trash)
  • Garbage bags (only garbage goes into garbage bags, do not bag your recyclables)
  • E-Waste/Batteries (see Hazardous Wastes)
  • Scrap Metal & Hangers (should go into trash)
  • Food (should go into your compost cart)
  • Styrofoam (should go into trash)
  • Diapers (should go into trash)
  • Clothing (donate or goes into trash)

Contamination in the News

In their continuing coverage of the challanges facing the recycling industry, ABC 7 ran this story about our efforts to alert our customers to the contamination problem.

In this short video, our friends at Marin Sanitary explain how contamination can ruin your best recycling efforts.

Recycle Right Guide

Learn how good intentions are wasted when the wrong materials are put in your recycling and compost carts.




Participate, Reduce and Save

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.