Curbside Collection Services


Learn about the curbside collection services available to you for recycle, compost and landfill. This section covers what is accepted, services offered, holiday schedules and more.

GreenWaste of Palo Alto is the City's contractor for waste and recycle collection, transportation and processing services. Service questions should be directed to GreenWaste of Palo Alto by calling (650) 493-4894.


Click on the appropriate link below to go directly to the section that provides information about the services available to you.

Who are you?

Resident in a Single-Family Home
Resident in a Multi-Unit Complex
Business/School



Resident in a Single-Family Home

   
Scroll through all of the topics or click on the one of interest to you and be taken directly to that section.

Topics

What can I recycle in my blue cart?
What can I place in my green cart?
What goes in my black cart?
Standard Curbside Residential Services
Cart Set-Out 
Physical Limitations Program
Household Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day 
Holiday Schedule Changes
Debris Box Service
Curbside FAQ's
     

What can I recycle in my blue cart?

All of our recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, plastic and metal are accepted in your blue cart. The recyclables are then sent to GreenWaste of Palo Alto's material recovery facility in San Jose, where they are separated into commodities that are sold to manufacturers that turn our discards into new products. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.  



Paper (staples, tape ok)

  • White, colored, and glossy paper
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (flattened, cut to fit loosely)
  • Junk mail
  • Paperboard (e.g., office supply, cereal and tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes)
  • Paperback books
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper bags


Glass

  • Bottles and Jars


Metal

  • Aerosol cans (empty, non-hazardous)
  • Aluminum cans (food, beverage, pet food)
  • Foil, foil trays and pans
  • Lids, caps
  • Scrap metal.


Plastic Bags & Film

(place bags and film plastic in a bag)

  • Bags (e.g., bread, dry cleaning, grocery, newspaper, produce, merchandise, zip lock)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Case wrap (e.g., beverage container and snack flats)
  • Liners (e.g., cereal box)
  • Plastic package wrap (e.g., toilet paper)


Plastics

(All types with or without a number - no expanded polystyrene a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)

  • Bottles (e.g., beverage, laundry and household cleaners, personal care products, prescription)
  • Food containers (e.g., cottage cheese, margarine, yogurt, take-out containers)
  • Baskets
  • Buckets
  • Flower pots
  • Product packaging


 Electronics

  • Appliances
  • Calculator
  • Computer
  • Computer peripherals
  • Home entertainment (e.g., game systems, DVR, VCR, stereo, radio)


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What can I place in my green cart?

All compostable materials, such as yard trimmings, food scraps, soiled paper and compostable plastics are accepted loosely in your green cart. The compostable materials are sent to the Zero WAste Energy Development Company (ZWED) in San Jose, where it is anaerobic digested and composted. This process yields both renewable energy and compost which is used to enrich the soil. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.
 

  • Yard Trimmings (branches, leaves, grass, plants, flowers)
  • Food Scraps (meat, dairy, bones, shells, vegetables, grains)
  • Soiled Paper (tissues, paper towels, take-out containers, paper cups, milk cartons)
  • Waxed Cardboard
  • Untreated/Unpainted Wood (lumber, wood chips, wood waste, sawdust)
  • Holiday trees


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What goes in my black cart?

As a rule of thumb, if an item doesn't go in your blue or green cart and it is not a functional, reusable item that you can donate, it most likely goes into your landfill cart. Most items that you will need to throw away are those made of multiple materials that are fused together. It is difficult, if not impossible to separate and recycle these items once they are fused together. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

  • Fused Materials (granola bar wrappers, paper lined foil candy wrappers)
  • Chip Bags
  • Chewing Gum
  • Latex and Nitrile Gloves
  • Expanded Polystyrene Blocks (a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Broken Dishes
  • Drink Boxes and Pouches
  • Pet Waste
  • Diapers

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Cart Set-Out

All carts are serviced weekly on a Monday through Friday schedule. To report a missed pick-up, a broken/damaged cart, to request additional carts or for any other service-related inquiry, please contact GreenWaste of Palo Alto at (650) 493-4894.

  • Place carts curbside before 6 AM on your collection day.
  • Remove carts from the curb within 24 hours of collection service. We suggest storing carts in your back or side yard.
  • Close all lids and please do not overfill containers.
  • Place front of cart facing the street with a minimum of 2 feet between carts.

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Household Hazardous Waste

The City of Palo Alto Household Hazardous Waste Program provides Palo Alto residents with an environmentally safe, convenient way to dispose of unwanted hazardous household products. Some household hazardous wastes can be collected curbside. Those items are listed below. Others must be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Station. Go to the Hazardous Waste Program page for more information.

Household Hazardous Waste Collected Curbside:

  • Motor Oil & Filters
    • Used motor oil and filters will be collected when placed next to your recycling container
    • Used motor oil must be placed in a clear one-gallon plastic container with a tight fitting screw-top lid. Used oil filters must be placed in a sealed clear tear-resistant bag.
    • Used oil containers and oil filter bags will be provided by GreenWaste at no additional charge.
  • Household Batteries & Cell Phones
    • Household batteries (e.g., AA, AAA, D, nickel cadmium) and cell phones will be collected when put inside a sealed clear tear-resistant bag and placed next to your recycling container. Tear resistant bags will be provided by GreenWaste at no additional charge.
    • IMPORTANT! Prior to depositing dead batteries into the battery recycling containers, Federal Law now requires the terminals be taped with non-conductive tape (electrical, duct, or masking tape) to prevent short-circuiting during transport.
  • To request containers or tear-resistant bags for used motor oil, filters, household batteries and cell phones, please contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.


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Holiday Collection Schedule

Collection will not occur on New Year's Day (January 1), Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November) or Christmas (December 25). During holiday weeks, if your regular collection day falls on or after one of these holidays, your collection day will be moved to the next day. Friday collection will occur Saturday.

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Resident in a Multi-Unit Complex

Scroll through all of the topics or click on the one of interest to you and be taken directly to that section.

Topics
What can I recycle in my blue container?
What can I compost in my green container?
What goes in my landfill container?
Collection Services
Cart and Bin Sizes
Container Placement and Maintenance
Household Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day
Holiday Collection Schedule
Debris Box Service
Curbside FAQs
      
  

What can I recycle in my blue container?

All of our recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, plastic and metal are accepted in the blue cart or bin. The recyclables are then sent to GreenWaste of Palo Alto's material recovery facility in San Jose, where they are separated into commodities that are sold to manufacturers that turn our discards into new products. 
  
Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.
  
 
Paper
(staples, tape ok)

  • White, colored, and glossy paper
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (flattened, cut to fit loosely)
  • Junk mail
  • Paperboard (e.g., office supply, cereal and tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes)
  • Paperback books
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper bags

  
Glass
  • Bottles and Jars

  
Metal
  • Aerosol cans (empty, non-hazardous)
  • Aluminum cans (food, beverage, pet food)
  • Foil, foil trays and pans
  • Lids, caps
  • Scrap metal
 
  
Plastic Bags & Film
(place bags and film plastic in a bag.)
  • Bags (e.g., bread, dry cleaning, grocery, newspaper, produce, merchandise, zip lock)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Case wrap (e.g., beverage container and snack flats)
  • Liners (e.g., cereal box)
  • Plastic package wrap (e.g., toilet paper)
 
   
Plastics 
(All types with or without a number - no expanded polystyrene a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Bottles (e.g., beverage, laundry and household cleaners, personal care products, prescription)
  • Food containers (e.g., cottage cheese, margarine, yogurt, take-out containers)
  • Baskets
  • Buckets
  • Flower pots
  • Product packaging
  • Toys
 
   
Electronics
  • Appliances
  • Calculator
  • Computer
  • Computer peripherals
  • Home entertainment (e.g., game systems, DVR, VCR, stereo, radio)

Return to Resident in a Multi Unit Complex
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What can I compost in my green container?

All compostable materials, such as yard trimmings, food scraps, soiled paper and compostable plastics are accepted loosely in your green cart. The compostable materials are sent to the Zero WAste Energy Development Company (ZWED) in San Jose, where it is anaerobic digested and composted. This process yields both renewable energy and compost which is used to enrich the soil. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

  • Yard Trimmings (branches, leaves, grass, plants, flowers)
  • Food Scraps (meat, dairy, bones, shells, vegetables, grains)
  • Soiled Paper (tissues, paper towels, take-out containers, paper cups, milk cartons)
  • Waxed Cardboard
  • Untreated/Unpainted Wood (lumber, wood chips, wood waste, sawdust)
  • Holiday trees  (contact GreenWaste for special instructions)

Return to Resident in a Multi Unit Complex
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What goes in my landfill container?

As a rule of thumb, if an item doesn't go in your blue or green container and it is not a functional, reusable item that you can donate, it most likely goes into your garbage container. Most items that you will need to throw away are those made of multiple materials that are fused together. It is difficult, if not impossible to separate and recycle these items once they are fused together. 
  
Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

  • Fused materials (granola bar wrappers, paper lined foil candy wrappers)
  • Chip Bags
  • Chewing Gum
  • Latex and Nitrile Gloves
  • Expanded Polystyrene Blocks (a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Broken Dishes
  • Drink Boxes and Pouches
  • Pet Waste
  • Diapers


Return to Resident in a Multi Unit Complex

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Collection Services

  • Recycle, compost and landfill collection services are available to all multi-unit complexes, in wheeled carts or bins.
    • Collection is available up to five (5) times per week on the same day as landfill collection.
    • Cart and bin in different sizes and dimensions are available
  • If you need assistance starting a program or keeping one going, GreenWaste Environmental Outreach Coordinators (EOC) will assist you, at no additional cost. Assistance includes:
    • Establishing service levels, conducting site visits and waste audits
    • Planning for special events
    • Educating residents on how to properly sort their waste with EOC on-site training and meetings
    • Posters and stickers
    • Tours of processing facilities
  • To request assistance contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.


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Container Placement and Maintenance

  • Recycle, compost and landfill containers must remain clear of sidewalks (36 inch clearance) and on private property. Containers should not be placed in the gutter, street or public right-of-way (e.g., alleys).
  • Standard service is at street level. Additional service fees apply to non-standard service.
  • Place containers by 4 AM on the day of collection in an area accessible to collection vehicles.
  • Maintain container placement and storage areas in good, clean, sanitary condition, and in a manner that prevents leaks, spills and odors.
  • Keep lids on containers closed at all times.
  • Landfill items, recyclables and compostables must be stored in City-approved containers.
  • Cleaning of recyclables, compostables or garbage carts or bins is available upon request for a fee.
  • To prevent misuse of containers, locks are available upon request for a fee. Please contact GreenWaste Customer Service for more information at (650) 493-4894.


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Household Hazardous Waste

Multi Unit Complex Residents: Palo Alto residents can dispose of unwanted hazardous household products in an environmentally safe, convenient way by taking household hazardous wastes to the Household Hazardous Waste Station. 
Go to the Hazardous Waste Program page for more information. 

Businesses and property managers: The City of Palo Alto has a drop-off program for businesses and property managers to properly dispose of Universal (e.g., fluorescent lamps) and Hazardous Wastes (e.g., paint). Per State law, neither Universal nor Hazardous Waste may be placed in the garbage. In addition, there are drop-off, pick-up and mail-back programs operated by private companies for managing Universal Waste.
Go to the Hazardous Waste Program page for more information.

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Holiday Collection Schedule

Collection will not occur on New Year's Day (January 1), Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November) or Christmas (December 25). During holiday weeks, if your regular collection day falls on or after one of these holidays, your collection day will be moved to the next day.


Return to Resident in a Multi Unit Complex
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Business/School

   
Scroll through all of the topics or click on the one of interest to you and be taken directly to that section. 
 
Topics
What can I recycle in my blue container?
What can I compost in my green container?
What goes in my landfill container?
Collection Services
Cart and Bin Sizes
Container Placement and Maintenance
Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day
Holiday Collection Schedule
Debris Box Service
Curbside FAQs 

 

What can I recycle in my blue container?

All of our recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, plastic, and metal are accepted in the blue cart or bin. The recyclables are then sent to GreenWaste of Palo Alto's material recovery facility in San Jose, where they are separated into commodities that are sold to manufacturers that turn our discards into new products. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

 
Paper (staples, tape ok)
  • White, colored, and glossy paper
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (flattened, cut to fit loosely)
  • Junk mail
  • Paperboard (e.g., office supply, cereal and tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes)
  • Paperback books
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper bags
   
Glass
  • Bottles and Jars
   
Metal
  • Aerosol cans (empty, non-hazardous)
  • Aluminum cans (food, beverage, pet food)
  • Foil, foil trays and pans
  • Lids, caps
  • Scrap metal
   
Plastic Bags & Film (place bags and film plastic in a bag.)
  • Bags (e.g., bread, dry cleaning, grocery, newspaper, produce, merchandise, zip lock)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Case wrap (e.g., beverage container and snack flats)
  • Liners (e.g., cereal box)
  • Plastic package wrap (e.g., toilet paper)
   
Plastics (All types with or without a number - no expanded polystyrene a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Bottles (e.g., beverage, laundry and household cleaners, personal care products, prescription)
  • Food containers (e.g., cottage cheese, margarine, yogurt, take-out containers)
  • Baskets
  • Buckets
  • Flower pots
  • Product packaging
  • Toys
   
Electronics
  • Appliances
  • Calculator
  • Computer
  • Computer peripherals
  • Home entertainment (e.g., game systems, DVR, VCR, stereo, radio)

Return to Business/School
Return to top of page

  

What can I compost in my green container?

All compostable materials, such as yard trimmings, food scraps, soiled paper and compostable plastics are accepted loosely in your green cart. The compostable materials are sent to the Zero WAste Energy Development Company (ZWED) in San Jose, where it is anaerobic digested and composted. This process yields both renewable energy and compost which is used to enrich the soil. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

  • Yard Trimmings (branches, leaves, grass, plants, flowers)
  • Food Scraps (meat, dairy, bones, shells, vegetables, grains)
  • Soiled Paper (tissues, paper towels, take-out containers, paper cups, milk cartons)
  • Waxed Cardboard
  • Untreated/Unpainted Wood (lumber, wood chips, wood waste, sawdust)
  • Holiday trees (contact GreenWaste for special instructions)


Return to Business/School

Return to top of page

    

What goes in my landfill container?


As a rule of thumb, if an item doesn't go in your blue or green container and it is not a functional, reusable item that you can donate, it most likely goes into your landfill container. Most items that you will need to throw away are those made of multiple materials that are fused together. It is difficult, if not impossible to separate and recycle these items once they are fused together. 

Click here to view a comprehensive list of accepted materials. You can also go to the What Goes Where Toolkit page for a suite of tools designed to help you learn more details about what goes where and how to prepare your materials.

  • Fused materials (granola bar wrappers, paper lined foil candy wrappers)
  • Chip Bags
  • Chewing Gum
  • Latex and Nitrile Gloves
  • Expanded Polystyrene Blocks (a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Rubber Pads
  • Broken Dishes
  • Drink Boxes and Pouches
  • Pet Waste
  • Diapers


Return to Business/School

Return to top of page

  

Collection Services

  • Recycle, compost and landfill collection services are available to all multi-unit complexes, in wheeled carts or bins.
    • Collection from businesses is available up to six (6) times per week.
    • Cart and bin in different sizes and dimensions are available
  • If you need assistance starting a program or keeping one going, GreenWaste Environmental Outreach Coordinators (EOC) will assist you, at no additional cost. Assistance includes:
    • Establishing service levels, conducting site visits and waste audits
    • Planning for special events
    • Educating residents on how to properly sort their waste with EOC on-site training and meetings
    • Posters and stickers
    • Tours of processing facilities
  • To request assistance contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.


Return to Business/School

Return to top of page 

  

Container Placement and Maintenance

  • Recycle, compost and landfill containers must remain clear of sidewalks (36 inch clearance) and on private property. Containers should not be placed in the gutter, street or public right-of-way (e.g., alleys).
  • Standard service is at street level. Additional service fees apply to non-standard service.
  • Place containers by 4 AM on the day of collection in an area accessible to collection vehicles.
  • Maintain container placement and storage areas in good, clean, sanitary condition, and in a manner that prevents leaks, spills and odors.
  • Keep lids on containers closed at all times.
  • Landfill items, recyclables and compostables must be stored in City-approved containers.
  • Cleaning of recycle, compost or landfill carts or bins is available upon request for a fee.
  • To prevent misuse of containers, locks are available upon request for a fee. Please contact GreenWaste Customer Service for more information at (650) 493-4894.

Return to Business/School
Return to top of page 

  

Holiday Collection Schedule

Collection will not occur on New Year's Day (January 1), Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November) or Christmas (December 25). During holiday weeks, if your regular collection day falls on or after one of these holidays, your collection day will be moved to the next day.


Return to Business/School

Return to top of page

  

Hazardous Waste

The City of Palo Alto has a drop-off program for businesses and property managers to properly dispose of Universal (e.g., fluorescent lamps) and Hazardous Wastes (e.g., paint). Per State law, neither Universal nor Hazardous Waste may be placed in the garbage. In addition, there are drop-off, pick-up and mail-back programs operated by private companies for managing Universal Waste.

Go to the Hazardous Waste Program page for more information.


Return to Business/School

Return to top of page

  

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015