Curbside Collection Services


Learn about the curbside collection services available to you for recycling, composting and garbage. This section covers what is accepted, services offered, holiday schedules and more.

GreenWaste of Palo Alto is the City's contractor for waste and recycling 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 container?
What can I place in my green container?
What goes in my garbage container?
Standard Curbside Residential Services
Cart Set-Out
Back/Side Yard Service
Physical Limitations Program
Holiday Schedule Changes
Debris Box Service
Household Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day
Curbside FAQ's
     

What can I recycle in my blue container?

All of our recyclable materials, such as paper, glass, plastic and metal are accepted in one collection container or 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.

Below is an abbreviated list of what can go in your blue recycling container. 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 container?

Below is an abbreviated list of what can go in your green yard trimmings cart. Click here for a comprehensive list of accepted materials.

  • Branches and stumps (Must be less than 6 inches in diameter and shorter than 4 feet in length)
  • Leaves
  • Grass
  • Plants and Shrubs
  • Flowers
  • Succulents
  • Holiday trees

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What goes in my garbage 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.

Below is a list of some garbage items.

  • Fused Materials (granola bar wrappers, paper lined foil candy wrappers)
  • Paper Towels and Tissues
  • Food Scraps
  • Chip Bags
  • Chewing gum
  • Latex and Nitrile Gloves
  • Expanded Polystyrene Blocks (a.k.a. STYROFOAMTM)
  • Broken Dishes
  • Drink Boxes and Pouches

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Standard Curbside Residential Services

  • RECYCLABLES: One 64 gallon blue recyclables cart. Service is also available in 32 or 96 gallon carts.
  • YARD TRIMMINGS: One 96 gallon yard trimmings cart. Service is also available in 32 or 64 gallon carts.
  • GARBAGE: One 32 gallon can or cart. If you need additional capacity, you may obtain a 64 or 96 gallon cart or multiple cans/carts. The minimum service is a 20 gallon can or cart.

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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.

 Curbside Cart Placement Guidelines
  • Place carts curbside before 6 AM on your collection day.
  • Please keep the sidewalk clear. A minimum of 36 inches of sidewalk clearance is required by law for safe pedestrian passage.
  • Avoid placing carts in the street or in the gutter.
  • 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.


Cart Placement Alternatives
  • Sidewalk With a Planting Strip: Place carts in the planting strip. If you cannot place carts in the planting strip due to landscaping constraints, place carts on the back portion of the sidewalk (the portion furthest from the street), and maintain the 36-inch clearance.
  • Sidewalk With No Planting Strip: Place carts on the back portion of the sidewalk (the portion furthest from the street).
  • No Sidewalk: Place carts at the edge of the street, keeping them out of the gutter and road.

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Back/Side Yard Service


Standard collection of residential recyclables, yard trimmings and garbage carts is curbside. Customers may request back/side yard service at an additional fee established by the City of Palo Alto. If you would like additional information about the weekly back/side yard service, please contact GreenWaste of Palo Alto at (650) 493-4894.

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Physical Limitations Program

Back/side yard service will be provided to customers with physical limitations at no additional charge. If you would like information on this program or to request a physical limitations application, please contact GreenWaste of Palo Alto 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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Debris Box Service

GreenWaste of Palo Alto offers debris box service to customers in multiple sizes and for source separated and mixed materials. Please consider deconstruction and salvaging building materials for reuse before using a debris box.

Debris boxes can be ordered on an on-call basis or as a scheduled weekly service. Please contact GreenWaste of Palo Alto at (650) 493-4894 to schedule delivery of a debris box that will meet your needs for capacity, type of material and collection frequency. More information regarding debris box services is available on GreenWaste of Palo Alto's website.

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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.

Clean Up Day

The Clean Up Day is a on-call collection program available to help you properly dispose of unwanted items. Residents may schedule one per year. Go to the Clean-Up Day page for more information.

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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 garbage container?
Collection Services
Cart and Bin Sizes
Missed Collection, Damaged or Additional Containers
Container Placement and Maintenance
Locks
Holiday Collection Schedule
Debris Box Service
Household Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day
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.
 
Below is an abbreviated list of what can go in your blue recycling container. 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)

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What can I compost in my green container?

  • Yard Trimmings (branches, leaves, grass, plants, flowers)
  • Food Scraps (meat, dairy, bones, vegetables, grains)
  • Food-soiled Paper (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)

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What goes in my garbage 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.
 
Below is a list of some garbage items.

  • 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

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Collection Services

Services

  • Recyclables, compostables and garbage collection services are available to all businesses and multi-unit complexes, in wheeled carts or bins.
  • If you need assistance starting a program or keeping one going, GreenWaste Environmental Outreach Coordinators will assist you, at no additional cost. Assistance includes:
    • Establishing service levels, conducting site visits and waste audits
    • Planning for special events
    • Education: on-site training and meetings, posters and stickers, processing facilities tours
  • To request assistance contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.
   
Recycling
  • Standard service is 96 gallon carts. Service is also available in 32 or 64 gallon carts, or bins in a variety of sizes.
  • For businesses with space constraints, GreenWaste will provide alternative collection containers.
  • Collection from multi-unit complexes is available up to five (5) times per week on the same day as garbage.
  • Collection from businesses is available up to six (6) times per week.
   
Cardboard Recycling
  • Cardboard can be placed in your blue cart or bin; however, if you generate a large quantity of cardboard, a separate bin for cardboard is available.
  • Bin service, available in a variety of sizes, may receive collection up to six (6) times per week.
  • Compostables
  • Standard service is 96 gallon carts. Service is also available in 32 or 64 gallon carts, or bins in a variety of sizes.
  • Collection is available up to six (6) times per week.
   
Garbage
  • Standard service is two 32 gallon cans or one 64 gallon cart.
  • Service is available in cans, carts, bins, debris boxes or compactors. Collection is available up to six (6) times per week.
  • Carts are available in 32, 64 or 96 gallons. Bins are available in a variety of sizes.

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Cart and Bin Sizes

For cart and bin dimensions, please visit GreenWaste's website.

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Missed Collection, Damaged or Additional Containers

To report a missed collection, broken or damaged containers or to request additional containers, please contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.

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Container Placement and Maintenance

  • Recyclables, compostables and garbage 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.
  • Garbage, 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.

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Locks

To prevent misuse of recyclables, compostables or garbage 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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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.

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Debris Box Service

GreenWaste offers debris box service to customers in multiple sizes and for source separated and mixed materials. Please consider deconstruction and salvaging building materials for reuse before using a debris box.
  
Debris boxes can be ordered on an on-call basis or as a scheduled weekly service. Please contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894 to schedule delivery of a debris box that will meet your needs for capacity, type of material and collection frequency. More information regarding debris box services is available on GreenWaste's website.

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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 taken to the Palo Alto Recycling Center while others must be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Station.

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). These common items used every day contain substances such as antimony, arsenic, beryllium, butane, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, mercury, propane, pesticides, PCBs and zinc that can pose a risk to people and the environment if not managed properly. 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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Clean Up Day

The Clean Up Day is a on-call collection program available to help you properly dispose of unwanted items. It is designed for the collection of bulky items and excess recyclable and compostable items. Multi-unit complex managers may schedule one per year. Go to the Clean-Up Day page for more information.

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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 garbage container?
Collection Services
Cart and Bin Sizes
Missed Collection, Damaged or Additional Containers
Container Placement and Maintenance
Locks
Holiday Collection Schedule
Debris Box Service
Hazardous Waste
Clean Up Day
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.

Below is an abbreviated list of what can go in your blue recycling container. 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)

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What can I compost in my green container?
 
Below is an abbreviated list of what can go in your green compostables cart or bin. Click here for a comprehensive list of accepted materials.

  • Yard Trimmings (branches, leaves, grass, plants, flowers)
  • Food Scraps (meat, dairy, bones, vegetables, grains)
  • Food-soiled Paper (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 garbage 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.

Below is a list of some garbage items.

  • 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

Return to Business/School
Return to top of page

  

Collection Services

Services

  • Recyclables, compostables and garbage collection services are available to all businesses and multi-unit complexes, in wheeled carts or bins.
  • If you need assistance starting a program or keeping one going, GreenWaste Environmental Outreach Coordinators will assist you, at no additional cost. Assistance includes:
  • Establishing service levels, conducting site visits and waste audits
  • Planning for special events
  • Education: on-site training and meetings, posters and stickers, processing facilities tours
  • To request assistance contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.
   
Recycling
  • Standard service is 96 gallon carts. Service is also available in 32 or 64 gallon carts, or bins in a variety of sizes.
  • For businesses with space constraints, GreenWaste will provide alternative collection containers.
  • Collection from multi-unit complexes is available up to five (5) times per week on the same day as garbage.
  • Collection from businesses is available up to six (6) times per week.
  
Cardboard Recycling
  • Cardboard can be placed in your blue cart or bin; however, if you generate a large quantity of cardboard, a separate bin for cardboard is available.
  • Bin service, available in a variety of sizes, may receive collection up to six (6) times per week.
  • Compostables
  • Standard service is 96 gallon carts. Service is also available in 32 or 64 gallon carts, or bins in a variety of sizes.
  • Collection is available up to six (6) times per week.
   
Garbage
  • Standard service is two 32 gallon cans or one 64 gallon cart.
  • Service is available in cans, carts, bins, debris boxes or compactors. Collection is available up to six (6) times per week.
  • Carts are available in 32, 64 or 96 gallons. Bins are available in a variety of sizes.

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Cart and Bin Sizes

For cart and bin dimensions, please visit GreenWaste of Palo Alto's website.

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Missed Collection, Damaged or Additional Containers


 
To report a missed collection, broken or damaged containers or to request additional containers, please contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894.

Return to Business/School
Return to top of page

  

Container Placement and Maintenance

  • Recyclables, compostables and garbage 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.
  • Garbage, 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.

Return to Business/School
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Locks

To prevent misuse of recyclables, compostables or garbage containers, locks are available upon request for a fee. Please contact GreenWaste of Palo Alto 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

  

Debris Box Service

GreenWaste offers debris box service to customers in multiple sizes and for source separated and mixed materials. Please consider deconstruction and salvaging building materials for reuse before using a debris box.

Debris boxes can be ordered on an on-call basis or as a scheduled weekly service. Please contact GreenWaste Customer Service at (650) 493-4894 to schedule delivery of a debris box that will meet your needs for capacity, type of material and collection frequency. More information regarding debris box services is available on GreenWaste's website.

Return to Business/School
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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). These common items used every day contain substances such as antimony, arsenic, beryllium, butane, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, mercury, propane, pesticides, PCBs and zinc that can pose a risk to people and the environment if not managed properly. 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
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Clean Up Day

The Clean Up Day is a on-call collection program available to help you properly dispose of unwanted items. It is designed for the collection of bulky items and excess recyclable and compostable items. Business managers may schedule one per year. Go to the Clean-Up Day page for more information.

Return to Business/School
Return to top of page

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2013