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Residential Recycling Service

Marin Sanitary Service operates a dual-stream recycling program, meaning paper is collected separately from glass, plastic and metal containers. Collecting materials this way produces cleaner, higher-quality recycling material.

For our residential customers, we provide split-carts for weekly recycling curbside service so that you can easily keep your recycling materials separated. The blue side of the split-cart is for paper and fiber recyclables, the brown side of the cart is for containers made of glass, aluminum and plastic.

Visit our Residential Services page to review the cart options and set out rules for residential customers.

Please help us in reaching Marin’s zero waste goals by making sure that what you put into your recycling belongs there and not in the garbage or compost receptacles.


It can be difficult to know what material goes into what container, but it’s very important that we avoid contaminating our recycling or compostable streams.

When in doubt, use our handy “Where Does It Go, Joe?” online tool to find out what material goes where.

Where Does it go, Joe? tool

Below we’ve listed some general guidelines about what can and cannot go into your recycling split-cart, but the list isn’t comprehensive. When in doubt, please use the Where Does It Go, Joe tool above to look up a what cart a specific item should go into.

WHAT CAN GO IN THE BLUE SIDEMarin Residential Split-Cart Recycling

The blue side of the cart is for clean paper products only.

Please keep all paper separate from other recyclables before placing in the split cart to prevent contamination.

Office paper (any color)
Newspaper & magazines
Paperboard (like cereal & shoe boxes)
Junk mail and catalogs
Paper tubes
Paper egg cartons
Paperback books
Shredded paper in a paper bag
Cardboard – Cardboard must be packed in 2’x2’x2′ bundles or smaller and tied with twine or string (no plastic tape please) if it does not fit into the blue cart. If it easily fits in the blue cart, cardboard does not need to be bundled.


Waxed or plastic-coated paper or cardboard
Paper towels or tissues
Wrapping paper
Food soiled paper
Blue print or carbon paper
Juice, soup, soy, milk boxes & cartons
Paper cups



The brown cart is for clean bottles, cans and containers only.
Marin Residential Split-Cart Recycling

Glass bottles & jars (clean)
Aluminum cans & foil (clean)
Tin & bi-metal cans and food trays (clean)
Pressurized aerosol cans (empty)
Clean plastic bottles, jugs & tubs


Styrofoam (with or without the triangle arrows label)
Compostable plastic (with or without the triangle arrows label)
Light bulbs and CFLs
Plate glass, windows or mirrors
Plastic bags
Juice bags & pouches
Metal hangers*
Paint cans -metal*
Pressurized aerosol cans* (if full or partially full)
Propane tanks*

*These items can be dropped off at Marin Recycling or the Marin Resource Recovery Center.

Marin what/what not to recycle


In this short video, we explain how the mantra “bottles, tubs, and jugs” will help ensure that you’re putting the right plastic in your recycling. Remember: keeping your film plastics out of your recycling may feel like a small contribution, but when it’s multiplied by the entire community, it makes an enormous difference!


In this short video, we explain how contamination can ruin your best recycling efforts.

Marin Recycling Videos m Marin Sanitary Recycle Guide m Recycling Contamination


Missed collections must be reported within 48 hours of the service day. MSS will make every effort to return that same if the miss is reported by noon or the following day if the miss is reported after noon. Any misses reported after 48 hours will be subject to a fee for collection.

Contact us to report a missed collection. You may also call our office Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (415) 456-2601.



Extra recycling may be placed in a separate container or paper bag/box beside your recycling cart. Please keep paper products separate from your glass, plastic and aluminum containers. Extra recyclables are collected at no additional charge for our residential customers. If you find you consistently have extra recycling, please call our office and request to rent a second split cart for a nominal monthly fee.

Extra cardboard is collected at no additional charge but must be broken down and either stacked into 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft bundles tied with twine or stacked into another small box.

See Extras, Clean-ups, Bulky Items & Other Services for more information.


Theft of recyclable materials is illegal and may even put you at risk for identify theft. The cities and towns we serve are partnering with Marin Sanitary Service to help prevent future theft. Please help us out.

For your safety, if you see someone other than an employee of Marin Sanitary Service removing recyclables from your cart or bin, DO NOT confront the recycling thieves. You may report this information to the number for non-emergency crime reporting, which is 311, or go to your local police force’s website for their crime reporting procedures. If it is not an emergency do not call 911.

Non-emergency phone numbers for:

  • San Rafael – (415) 485-3000
  • Larkspur – (415) 927-5150
  • San Anselmo – (415) 258-4610
  • Fairfax – (415) 453-5330
  • Ross – (415) 453-1453

When you call to report the theft, please try to have the following information:

  1. License Number
  2. Good description of the vehicle & person(s)
  3. Time of theft (this is helpful for those who are not in a vehicle: who visit the same street, week after week)
  4. Location/Address