Recycle Collection Program

California's Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (SB 1383) requires all residents and businesses to separate and keep recyclable and compostable materials out of landfills. When recyclable materials such as cardboard and compostable (organic) materials such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings are disposed in landfills, they decompose and produce methane, a climate change greenhouse gas contributor 80x more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills in California are responsible for 20% of statewide methane emissions. SB 1383 aims to address climate change by reducing the amount of recyclable and compostable materials sent to landfills by 75% by January 1, 2025.

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 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.

What Materials are Accepted in the Recycle Bin/Cart?

UC Recycle Poster 2022 FINAL - ENG Opens in new windowAcceptable 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 and beverage cans and trays (clean and empty) 
    • Foil and scrap metal pieces (clean)

Help ensure recyclable materials can be recycled into their highest and best use instead of being landfilled. Rinse/wipe food residue and empty liquids from your recyclables. Do not bag recyclables.

What Materials are Prohibited in the Recycle Bin/Cart?

Compostable and landfill materials may not be disposed of in your recycle bin/cart as per California’s Organics Reduction and Recycling Law (SB 1383). Compostable and landfill materials must be sorted and placed in the appropriate 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 mulit-layered containers (e.g.,  juice, soup, and dairy cartons and pouches)
  • Styrofoam products (e.g., cups, plates, meat/seafood trays, packing peanuts, and blocks)
  • Grease/food-soiled paper and paper products (place in the compost cart)
  • Food scraps (place in the compost cart)
  • Yard trimmings (place in the compost 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 household hazardous waste (HHW) such as chemicals, cleaners, fertilizers, paint, pesticides, propane tanks, sharps, and electronic waste in your curbside collection bins/carts. HHW materials require careful disposal by a certified facility. Safely dispose of HHW 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 ensure recyclable materials can be recycled into their highest and best use instead of landfilled. We thank you for your efforts!

  1. Know what is accepted in Union City’s curbside collection program. Only place acceptable items in the recycle and compost bin/cart. Accepted materials include clean paper and cardboard, metal and glass containers, and plastic bottles and jugs labeled #1-2.
  2. Keep recyclables empty, clean, and dry. Rinse/wipe food residue and empty liquids from your recyclables.
  3. Keep recyclables loose when placing them in the recycle 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 recycle bin/cart.

For additional options to reuse, repair, recycle or safely dispose of unwanted items, search StopWaste' online RE:Source Guide.

Have a Question or Request?

Visit our Multi-Family Publications & Resources page to learn more about waste prevention, how to properly sort your materials, and other available programs and services.

Multi-family Residents: Contact your property owner/manager for assistance with the following:

  • Large/bulky item collection appointments for items such as sofas, mattresses, televisions, and computers
  • Illegal dumping on premises
  • Missed collection
  • Overloaded/overflowing bins/carts
  • Graffiti
  • Broken bins/carts
  • Obtaining a free recycle tote to collect and carry recyclables to the shared recycle bin/cart or a free  Food Scraps Kitchen Pail to collect, store, and transport food scraps and food-soiled paper to the shared compost bin/cart. Limit one recycle tote and Kitchen Pail per household. 

Multi-family Property Owners and Managers: Dedicated recycling coordinators are available to provide free technical assistance to help your property start or improve its recycle and/or compost collection program, comply with State and local regulations, establish waste reduction practices, and realize potential cost savings. Free technical assistance includes:

  • Establishing recycle and/or compost collection service if these mandatory programs are not already in place. Subscribing to recycle and compost collection services may help your  property realize cost savings as recycle and compost collection services cost 40% less than comparable landfill (garbage) collection service.  
  • A waste assessment to determine the optimal collection service level and cost savings oppor. 
  • Decals - Technical AssistanceStaff/tenant 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, service guides, and outdoor/indoor container decals to educate employees, contractors, and tenants on proper sorting. 
  • General support to help your community maximize recycling opportunities and to reduce waste.

Contact your service providers today to request free technical assistance!

Republic ServicesTri-CED Community Recycling
  • Phone: 510.429.8030
  • Email:   
  • Customer Service Hours: Monday to Friday - 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

More Information?

When in doubt, find out! Visit our Multi-Family Publications & Resources page to learn more about waste prevention, proper sorting, and other available programs and services. For more information about the curbside collection program, call Union City Recycles at 510.675.5433.