Low GraphicsThu., Apr 17, 2014Contact UsSiteMapSearch Tips
City of Mountain View Home
Homepage ... | Public Works | Recycling and Zero Waste | FAQs
Buy Back and Drop Off Centers
Bag Ordinance
City Wide Garage & Yard Sale
Clean Up Programs & Dump Vouchers
Collection Schedules & Holidays
Composting and Yard Trimmings
Construction & Demolition Debris Ordinance
Extra Services & Tags
For Apartments
For Businesses
For Homes
For Schools
Holiday Tree Recycling
Household Hazardous Waste
Medicines and Sharps Disposal
Non Collections
Resource Newsletter
SMaRT Station
What's Recyclable
Zero Waste

E-mail story
Print friendly format

Complaints, Service Requests & Info
Recology Mountain View Customer Service
M-F 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Billing Inquiries
Finance & Administrative Services Department
Utility Billing System

City Solid Waste & Recycling Program Ideas

Submit your questions, suggestions, compliments,concerns, or track your existing request online.

Frequently Asked Questions about Garbage and Recycling


Why do we have to separate our recycling into a split-cart? It looks like the driver empties the split-cart into a single hole on top of the truck.
The split-cart is emptied into a split-truck as shown in this picture.  The truck's "hopper" is actually split so that contents from each side of the split-cart fall into the body of the truck, which is also split-in two to keep materials separated.  At the SMaRT Station, the driver unloads each compartment separately for further sorting by workers.

By keeping recyclables separated from split-cart to split-truck to recycling plant, our recyclables earn a higher market price because the materials are clean and easier to sort at the plant.  

How do I dispose of heavy trash like household appliances?
Residents living in homes, mobilehomes, condos and townhouses may obtain curbside service for appliances through the On Call Plus Clean Up Appointment Program.  There is an extra charge for refrigerators, air conditioners, and other appliances needing special processing.  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.

How do I dispose of paint and toxic materials?
Click on the link below for information.

Click to View

How do I dispose of used motor oil?
If you live in a home (1-4 units on a parcel), 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 with your recycling cart (put jugs on top of the curb and the cart in the street).

Click to View

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.  Call Center is closed on major holidays, but collection occurs on major holidays except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

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 quarterly shredding events and need immediate assistance, check the telephone book Yellow Pages under "business records destruction" or "paper-shredded" for a company providing shredding services. Often these companies can provide curbside shredding services to residents and businesses. 

Typically, shredding companies 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.

Papers placed in the recycling cart are not shredded at the SMaRT Station.  Papers are shipped to recycling processors where they are then shredded, pulped, dried, pressed and rolled into new feedstock to make recycled paper.  However, boxes brought to one of the quarterly shredding events at the SMaRT Station and placed in their shredder, are shredded completely.

If you use a personal shredder at home, please be sure to place shredded papers in a paper bag, staple shut, and place in your recycling cart.  Keeping shredded papers in paper bags prevents litter and allows the entire bag to be recycled (plastic bags are not recyclable).

I want to report illegal dumping.
To report illegal dumping, please contact the appropriate department or division as follows:

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.

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 recycing 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 www.MVrecycle.org.

Scavengers:  What should I do if I see someone taking recycling from carts or dumpsters? What can I do to prevent scavenging?
Are fundraisers allowed to take recycling or garbage from our containers?

Taking recyclables or trash from garbage, recycling containers or a clean up appointment for personal gain or fundraising is called scavenging, and is a misdemeanor violation under Mountain View City Code.  (Fundraisers must have a special permit and are not allowed to remove recycling from garbage and recycling containers.)

Reporting Scavenging
If you see someone other than the City or Recology Mountain View (formerly called Foothill Disposal) employees taking recyclables or trash from garbage or recycling containers, report it immediately by calling the Mountain View Police Department non-emergency dispatcher at (650) 903-6395.

Please try to note the date and time of the occurrence, a description of the person, and the method of collection (bag, shopping cart, or vehicle with make/model and license number if easily available). If the scavenging occurs on a regular basis, please let the dispatcher know. A police officer will try and be present at that time to warn or cite the scavenger. Do not approach the scavenger on your own. 

Please keep reporting scavenging each time it occurs so that the Police can establish a track record of areas that might need special enforcement.  Do not be discouraged if your first call was considered a lower priority.

What You Can Do

  • Report scavenging to Police each time it occurs.
  • Set out your containers the morning before trash collection (no later than 7 a.m.)
  • Put bottles and cans with California redemption value at the bottom of the cart underneath other recyclables.
  • If you must set out your container the night before, keep bottles and cans with redemption value separate and place in the cart the next morning before collection.
  • Please do not give permission to fundraisers to remove recyclables or garbage from any container. 

Recycling and garbage* become the property of the City when deposited in any container provided by the City or Recology (formerly called Foothill Disposal), or which is set out for a clean up appointment, and which is located at residences, businesses, schools, parks or at street festivals. This includes materials found in carts, toters, bins dumpsters, roll-off boxes, or set out for special collections or clean ups. (*Garbage is sorted at the SMaRT Station to remove recyclables.) 

Scavenging Hurts
Scavenging is prohibited by Mountain View City Code for a variety of reasons. The act of scavenging creates a public nuisance of noise and litter, and can make residents feel threatened by someone going through their containers. The revenue from recycling is used to help offset the costs of collection and keeps utility rates low. 
Fundraising activities are allowed under certain conditions, but no fundraiser may remove recycling from City-provided garbage and recycling containers even with permission from the resident or business. For example, only non-profit organizations with a special recycling fundraising permit from the City may collect recycling if it is: (1) set aside for them by the donor; (2) placed in a bag or box on private property away from regular containers; and is (3) collected on a different day than scheduled garbage and recycling collection.  

If you have any questions, please contact recycling staff at 650-903-6311.  Please report scavenging to the Police Department at 650-903-6395.

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 the Z-Best composting facility in Gilroy and returned to the SMaRT Station as finished landscape compost. 

The finished compost is loose (unbagged) and available to Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Los Altos residents.  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.  
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 & Carribbean) in Sunnyvale. 

For more information visit. www.mvrecycle.org,
Composting & Yard Trimmings, or SMaRT Station (map), 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.

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 www.recyclestuff.org.)


How do I dispose of a Christmas tree?
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.

More information can be found at http://www.mountainview.gov/city_hall/public_works/garbage_and_recycling/holiday_tree_recycling.asp

How do I dispose of unused or outdated medicines?

There are several options for Mountain View residents.  Visit www.MVrecycle.org and click on Medicines Disposal under Related Links. 

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 Viewis the City's exclusive hauler of our community's solid waste (garbage, refuse) and recycling. 

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 www.MVrecycle.org and click on Clean Up Programs & Vouchers for more informaiton.

Clean Up Programs & Vouchers

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 at 650-903-6317 for assistance.

Is there a list of agencies accepting donations of household goods?
Yes, click on any link below.

Donation Agencies List (gently used items) (pdf)
Thrift Shop Directory or YellowPages.com
Disposal or Recycling Options
Freecycle.org (listings of free items only)

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.

Click to View

When is the next free confidential paper shredding event?

Free confidential paper shredding events are held throughout the year.  Visit www.mvrecycle.org and click on Events for more updates.

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, fluourescent 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 (2-8 units) are eligible for On Call Plus Clean Up Days which  may also be redeemed for a Voucher to the SMaRT Station.  Visit www.MVrecycle.org and click on Clean Up Days on the left side under Related Links for more information.

Click to View

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.

If you are a business and would like office recycling containers, the City has a small amount of deskside containers procured with grant funds.  Please contact the recycling staff in Public Works at 650-903-6311 and ask for "mini-bins".