Curbside Rules – Helping Us, Help You!

Curbside Rules – Helping Us, Help you!

By: Rebecca VanHorn, Customer Service Representative

Follow these simple curbside rules for proper recycling, compostables, and garbage collection.

Placement matters. Space your carts two feet apart, with the handles facing AWAY from the street. The carts need to be standing clear of utility poles, cars and other blockages.

Marin Sanitary Cart Placement

Get your carts to the curb on time. Put them out the night before your collection day, to ensure pick up.

Broken Carts. If a cart is damaged, the wheel fell off, or there is a hole in the body of the cart, we can exchange it. The driver won’t report that carts are broken; customers need to let us know. What’s more, regular collection vehicles are not equipped with extra carts; a separate truck will collect broken carts and deliver new ones.

Guidelines for cardboard. Small amounts of soiled cardboard may be placed in the green cart (for instance, a greasy pizza box). However, cardboard can get wedged inside the paper side of the dual recycling cart–which makes emptying it difficult. Please have your excess cardboard bundled 2’x2’x2’ placed next to your cart for service.


If you have a lot of cardboard, arrange for a pickup. A separate cardboard pickup can be arranged for your service day. If you have more than 15 flattened boxes give us a call before your service day so we can arrange a special pick up.


Don’t worry about putting cardboard out in the rain. Wet cardboard will be collected, no problem.

The divider in the residential recycling cart has a specific function. The divider keeps the different kinds of materials from contaminating each other. If your divider is broken or missing, just let us know, we can replace your recycling cart on your next service day.


It’s best to reduce the use of packing material as much as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot recycle Styrofoam or bubble wrap. They must be placed in your gray garbage cart. Styrofoam must be bagged and placed into the cart to avoid spillage on to the street.


Recycling Mistakes 2If there’s a triangle stamp on an item, that doesn’t always mean we can accept it. Even though many plastic items are theoretically recyclable, our facilities simply don’t have the capability to process every kind of plastic. Please stick to hard rigid plastics such as bottles, tubs, and jugs.


Don’t put broken windows in the recycling cart. While those shards are made of glass, they are not recyclable in our facility. Please wrap them securely in paper and place them in the gray garbage cart.

You left a note with special instructions, but no one read it! Our drivers service hundreds of households per day, and they often cannot examine carts for written directions. If do you have a request, please call the office so we can get the message to the drivers.

Your driver probably hasn’t forgotten you!
Drivers with automated trucks will generally collect carts from the right side of the truck only, since it’s hazardous for them to cross a street to collect carts from the opposite side. They will often service one side of the street, and then circle back to service the other side.


Substitute drivers don’t know your routine. If you’ve had the same driver for years, you may expect them to know your preferences–but a substitute driver won’t.


If you forget to take out the trash, don’t despair! We can return on the same day for a fee of $10. We can return on an off-service day for $25. 


Cart contamination. We cannot empty a customer’s cart if there are inappropriate materials or contamination present–for instance, if food waste is in the recycling cart, or if trash is in the compost cart. However, we are happy to collect those carts once the contamination has been removed. Give our office a call for more information!

Don’t overload your carts! If there is material sticking up out of the top of any of your carts, the drivers may not empty them. Keep in mind that overflowing carts put the drivers at risk, make sure the lid is closed.


  • Overflowing yard waste cart? Try to cut down your yard waste so everything fits in the cart. If need be, you can rent an additional green cart for a minimal fee.
  • Overflowing landfill cart? You may need to adjust your service level to accommodate your needs.
  • Too much recycling? Residential customer can rent additional recycling carts for a nominal fee.


A recycling cart overflowing with recyclables with a red line through it

Keep dirt out of the green cart. While a small amount of dirt from gardening is fine, a large amount of dirt is too heavy for our equipment to lift. It needs to be brought directly to the Marin Resource Recovery Center, or you can rent a dirt debris box.


Guidelines for wood. Pieces of wood that exceed 3” in diameter cannot be placed in the green cart. Wood pieces cannot stick up out of the cart; they need to be cut down so the lid closes.


If animals are getting into your carts, hot sauce works wonders! Try some cayenne powder or a little hot sauce around the top of your cart – serves as a great deterrent to sensitive noses!


No poop in the green cart! We cannot compost animal droppings, so please place bagged poop in your gray garbage cart.

Call us to have large items removed. For disposal of items that will not fit into your cart, please arrange for a bulky item pick up. 


Marin Sanitary Bulky Item Collection


If you need help remembering where an item goes, use our Where Does It Go, Joe? online tool and mobile app to find out. Just type in what material you’d like to dispose of and we’ll tell you what to do with it.

Where Does It Go Joe App

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