Image: 75th Anniversary with collage of historical photos

About Marin Sanitary Service

2 historical images of Marin Sanitary Service founders back when they were called "scavengers"

We were never garbage men, we were scavengers.

Marin Sanitary Family BusinessAs a new immigrant from Italy, Joe Garbarino’s father and uncle formed the first Scavengers Protective Association in 1920. Hauling garbage in giant burlap bags on his back over the steep hills of San Francisco, John Garbarino quickly learned that people threw away more than they should, and most of it could be reused. He soon began scouring wine bottles, eyeglasses and shoes and reselling them.

MSS began in 1948 when together the families Garbarino, Segale, Zappetini, Marconi and Zanotti left San Francisco and ventured into the growing communities of Marin County to start a new garbage service. In 1994, the County of Marin granted a franchise for additional unincorporated areas around San Rafael. MSS currently services more than 33,000 residential and commercial accounts.

Now there are three generations of Garbarinos working at Marin Sanitary. The family has toiled long and hard over the years to get Marin County to recycle over 74% of all waste. The business has grown and expanded into three separate divisions in order to address every facet of waste management and recycling.

The Garbarinos practically invented recycling. Their innovative operations have served as a model for both the state and the nation. It has kept them at the forefront of the movement to reduce, reuse and recycle, and end waste as we know it today.

marin sanitary service today


Marin Sanitary Facilities

Since MSS was founded its evolution has closely paralleled that of Marin County itself. We have grown philosophically with our customers, and believe in the power of recycling to preserve our natural resources. As a result, we are well on our way to achieving our goal of zero waste.
Our company has grown and our divisions work together to provide comprehensive collection, recycling, and education services to our community.

  • Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) – Provides weekly residential and commercial waste collection, recyclables, and organic pick-up services as well as street sweeping.
  • Marin Recycling Center (MRC) – Accepts and processes collected recyclables including glass bottles and jars, aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles, jugs and tubs, waste papers, and cardboard. The center also provides community education and tours through the Environmental Classroom.
  • Marin Resource Recovery Center (MRRC) – Accepts and processes non-hazardous materials through a customized system of screens, conveyors, blowers, magnets, and hand-sorting. It also offers debris box rental.
  • Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility (MHHWF) – Accepts hazardous materials from Marin residents and businesses.

We are grateful to serve our community and appreciate your business.


We take great pride in serving our community and are honored to have received the following recognition from organizations, government and the media.

Pacific Sun: Best of Marin
Best Recycling Center

Pacific Sun: Best of Marin
Best Recycling Center

Pacific Sun: Best of Marin
Best Recycling Center

Leaders in Sustainability

Marin County Lion Dance Team
20+ Years Recognition of Appreciation

Global Student Embassy
Resource Conservation and Recycling Innovation

Pacific Sun: Best of Marin
Best Business that Promotes Going Green

North Bay Leadership Council
Paint the Community Green: Leaders of the North Bay

Marin County Board of Supervisors
Resolution of Commendation to Joe Garbarino

National Waste & Recycling Association
Joe Garbarino Inducted into the “Hall of Fame”

California Product Stewardship Award
Partner of the Year

California Climate Action Registry
Climate Action Leader

Pacific Sun
Heroes of Marin for “Innovation”

Marin Builders Association
Leadership in Sustainability Award

Novato Fire Foundation
“Heroes Among Us” for extraordinary Business & Community Leadership

San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
Large Business of the Year Award

Acterra Business Environmental Awards
Susanne Wilson Award for Pollution Prevention/Resource Conservation

North Bay Biz
Top 500 North Bay Companies

Governor’s Environmental Economic Leadership Award
Category: Climate Change

San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce
“Spirit of Marin” – Business of the Year Award

Marin County Board of Supervisors
Golden Spire Outstanding Business of the Year

Environmental Forum
Marin Environmental Golden Acorn Award

Pacific Sun: Best of Marin
Reader’s Poll: Best Green (Environmentally Conscious) Business

Family Works
Family Business of the Year

California Refuse Removal Council
The John P. Moscone Award

San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
Environmental Leadership Award

Falkirk Cultural Center
Good Company Award

Marin Conservation League
John M. MacPhail, Jr. Award
Recipient: Marin Recycling

Congresswoman Barbara Boxer
Outstanding San Francisco District Small Business Person

Congresswoman Barbara Boxer
Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Meritorious Achievement

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