Recycling Collection Program

Starting January 1, 2022, the State of California, Alameda County and the City of Union City require that recyclable and compostable materials be separated and kept out of landfills under the State’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (Senate Bill 1383). In Union City, Senate Bill (SB) 1383 will be implemented under the Organics Reduction and Recycling Ordinance (ORRO) and Union City Municipal Code Chapter 7.24, in partnership with Republic Services, Tri-CED Community Recycling, and StopWaste.

Why Should I Recycle? 

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill and transforming these materials into new products. Recycling is important because it reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves valuable natural resources such as timber and minerals, prevents pollution and saves energy by reducing the need to collect new raw materials, helps create domestic jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries, and provides many other community and environmental benefits. 

Proper sorting makes a difference! When we recycle more of the right things the right way, we help our economy and the environment by ensuring quality recyclables can be recovered and delivered back into the economy instead of sent to landfills. We also help the City meet local- and state-mandated recycling goals. 

What Materials are Accepted in the Recycling Bin/Cart?

Acceptable items include:

  • Paper and paper products (clean and dry)
    • Magazines
    • Newspaper, including inserts, coupons, and store ads
    • Printing/writing paper
    • Junk mail
    • Catalogs and phone books
    • Shredded paper (sealed in a paper bag)
    • Cardboard (flattened)
    • Paper boxes (e.g., shoe and cereal boxes)
    • Paper egg cartons
    • Paper bags
  • Plastic bottles, jugs, trays, and tubs labeled #1-2 (clean and empty)
  • Glass bottles and jars (clean and empty) 
  • Aluminum and metal
    • Food/beverage cans and trays (clean and empty) 
    • Foil and scrap metal pieces (clean)

Proper sorting makes a difference! Avoid contamination by keeping recyclables clean, dry, empty, and loose. Rinse/wipe food residue and empty liquids from your plastic, glass, and aluminum containers. Do not bag recyclables.

What Materials are Prohibited in the Recycling Bin/Cart?

Compostable and landfill materials may not be disposed of in your recycling bin/cart as per California’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (Senate Bill 1383) and Union City Municipal Code Chapter 7.24. Compostable and landfill materials must be sorted and placed in the containers. Other prohibited items include: 

  • Plastic bags, film, and wrap (e.g., zip-top storage bags, shipping envelopes, bubble wrap, air pillows, and product wrap)
  • Plastic straws and utensils
  • Snack packaging (e.g., chip bags and candy wrappers)
  • Aseptic (shelf-stable) containers (e.g., lined juice, soup, dairy cartons and pouches)
  • Styrofoam products (e.g., cups, plates, meat/seafood trays, packing peanuts, and blocks)
  • Grease/food-soiled paper (place in the Compost Bin/Cart)
  • Food scraps (place in your Compost Bin/Cart)
  • Yard trimmings (place in your Compost Bin/Cart)
  • Mirrors
  • Ceramics
  • Hoses
  • Plastic or wire clothes hangers
  • Personal hygiene items (e.g., diapers, sanitary napkins, disposable gloves/masks)
  • Pet waste
  • Carpets, rugs, and mats (if these cannot be donated)
  • Shoes, clothing, and toys (if these cannot be donated)
  • Dirt, rock, asphalt, concrete, brick, and construction and demolition debris.

It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste such as chemicals, cleaners, fertilizers, paint, pesticides, propane tanks, sharps, and electronic waste in any curbside collection bin/cart. Hazardous waste materials require careful disposal by a certified facility. Safely dispose of hazardous waste for free at an Alameda County HHW Drop-off Facility or at County-sponsored events throughout the year. For drop-off facility locations, hours, and a list of accepted items, call (800) 606-6606 or visit

How Can I Become a Better Recycler? 

Follow these simple guidelines to keep the recycling stream clean and ensure the success of your Recycling Collection Program. We thank you for your efforts!

  1. Know what is accepted in Union City’s curbside collection program. Only place acceptable items in the Recycling and Compost Bin/Cart. Accepted materials include clean paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs labeled with resins #1 and #2, and metal cans.
  2. Keep all recyclables empty, clean, and dry (i.e., free of food and liquid). Rinse and wipe as much food residue and liquids from recyclables as possible so materials can be recycled into its highest and best use.
  3. Keep recyclables loose when placing them in the Recycling Bin/Cart. Do not bag recyclables. To secure shredded paper, use a paper bag and staple this bag shut before placing the paper bag in the Recycling Bin/Cart.

How Do I Start or Improve My Recycling Collection Program?

Download the Commercial Services Guide to learn what is accepted in the curbside collection program, how to properly sort your materials, and about other available programs and services.

Recycling specialists at Republic Services and Tri-CED Community Recycling are available to provide free technical assistance to help your business start or improve your recycling program, comply with State and local regulations, and realize potential cost savings. 

Free technical assistance includes:

  • Waste assessments to determine the optimal collection service level for your business and potentially achieve cost savings. Did you know? Subscribing to recycling and compost collection services may help your business realize cost savings as recycling and compost collection services cost 40% less than comparable landfill (garbage) collection service.    
  • Staff trainings to ensure proper sorting, share best practices, and to answer questions. 
  • Setting up indoor color-coded and labeled collection containers.
  • Educational materials such as posters and outdoor/indoor container decals to educate staff on proper sorting. 
  • General support to help your business maximize recycling opportunities and to reduce waste.

Contact your haulers today to request for free technical assistance!

For additional information and resources including how to order free indoor decals and customized signs, contact StopWaste at (510) 891-6575 (leave message for call back), ask a question through the online form, or email

Alternative Recycling Service? 

Businesses that have alternate arrangements for recycling and/or compost collection service (e.g., your business shares service, back-hauls recyclable or compostable materials, or self-hauls recyclable or compostable materials) must complete StopWaste's Certification of Recycling Service (CRS) form