Residential waste collection services

What goes in each cart?

Blue recycling cart

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Magazines and junk mail
  • Metal cans and aluminum foil
  • Milk and juice cartons (no juice, soup, or soy milk type boxes with foil liner)
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Paper bags only (no plastic)
  • Cardboard egg cartons and newspaper
  • Plastic containers numbered 1 through 7 (except black plastic, plastic bags or polystyrene foam)

Green organics cart

  • Food scraps (meat and bones, dairy, fruits and vegetables)
  • Food contaminated paper products (plates, napkins and chain store coffee cups)
  • Coffee grinds and filters
  • Paper ice cream containers
  • Paper takeout boxes and containers
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Yard trimmings (grass clippings and pruning) 

Please no cooking oil, animal waste, treated wood or diapers. Use a kitchen pail for collecting food scraps in your home.

Only biodegradable bags certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute are acceptable. All other bioplastics, even if they are labeled compostable, are no longer be accepted.

Black garbage cart

  • Cat litter and bagged animal waste
  • Black plastic
  • Ceramics and glassware
  • Diapers
  • Juice and soup boxes with foil liner
  • Mirrors and window glass
  • Nursery plant containers
  • Packaging peanuts
  • Plastic bags and film
  • Polystyrene foam packing
  • Snack bags and wrappers
  • Plastic utensils and straws

These items cannot be placed in the black garbage cart

  • Batteries or cell phones
  • Fluorescent lights, tubes or CFLs
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Medicines
  • Motor oil or filters
  • Sharps, needles, syringes or lancets
  • TVs, computers or monitors 

Visit the Shoreway Environmental Center and San Mateo County Health to drop-off items not accepted in the black garbage cart.

How to properly set out residential carts

Carts must be placed curbside (in the street) before 6 a.m. of your service day, with wheels against the curb, or roadside, with about 2 to 3 feet apart between each cart. Arrows on lids should point toward the street. To set up or change the cart sizes, please contact Recology

Holiday tree recycling 

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, holiday trees will be picked up curbside from homes and businesses. To recycle trees during this time:

  • Remove all decorations and tree stands (flocked trees are accepted).
  • Trees may be up to 8 feet in length. If the tree is longer than 8 feet, please cut before placing out for service.

Single-family homes

  • Recycle your tree on your regularly scheduled compost collection day
  • Place your tree next to your green organics cart

Apartments and businesses

  • Please call Recology or visit the Recology San Mateo County website to arrange for tree collection.
  • Trees can be collected in a predetermined area (in a pile) or in a "drop box" for no additional charge.


After Jan. 31, trees must fit into curbside organics carts for collection.

Please contact Recology directly for information regarding service changes and inquiries, cancellations and billing.


How can I find out my waste collection, recycling, and/or organics service day?

Recology of San Mateo County can inform you of your waste collection, recycling, and/or organics service days by calling 650-595-3900 or visit Recology's website.

Who can I call for waste collection service changes or questions about my bill?

Recology of San Mateo County can answer billing questions at 650-595-3900.

How can I recycle hazardous wastes such as oil, antifreeze, pesticides, computer monitors, sharps, fluorescent tubes, and bulbs?

Residents of San Mateo County can recycle their household hazardous waste with the San Mateo County Environmental Health Household Hazardous Waste program. To set up an appointment, please visit SMCHealth website or call 650-595-3900.

How do I recycle organics properly? I am not used to placing food scraps out for recycling.

The organics recycling cart is simply a large compost container. Place your food scraps in the bin with yard trimmings for weekly pick-up. Common household items that can be placed in the bin include coffee grounds, breads, pasta, eggshells, fruit, meat, pizza boxes, and wine corks. For additional information on how to compost, please visit the Recycling, Compost & Garbage Page.

Are plastic bags acceptable in organics containers?

Compostable bags certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) are acceptable in the organics program. For detailed information on these bags, please visit the South Bayside Waste Management Authority's website.

I am doing construction / remodeling on my property. Do I need to obtain a debris box from Recology?

Debris from construction, demolition, or remodel of a building is not included in the Franchise Agreement between the City of Menlo Park and Recology. This means that any company can be used for construction, demolition, or remodeling projects. If a project requires a deposit because of the Construction and Demolition Ordinance, be certain that recycling tags show Menlo Park as the City of Origin and that recycling requirements are met.

What is the proper way to dispose of prescription medication?

Prescription drugs should not be placed in the trash. The City of Menlo Park offers a free, safe, and convenient location for residents to dispose of unwanted or expired medication. A secured drop box is located in the Police lobby at 701 Laurel St. Drop-offs can be made during regular business hours.

Contact Recology

Recology San Mateo County

To add, change or for questions about garbage, recycling or composting services