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Household, Business & Multi-family Recycling

HOUSEHOLD Waste reduction & recycling
Sustainability starts at home with everyday decisions. Reducing household waste and recycling at home are the first steps in keeping waste out of the landfill, and helping Monterey reach its Zero Waste goal. Resources are available on the Monterey City Disposal Service (MCDS) website. Reduce what you use, reuse what you can, and recycle or donate the rest.What Goes Where logo

A few waste reduction and recycling best practices include (but are certainly
not limited to):
  • Ensure recyclables are clean and void of all food prior to placing them in the blue cart.
  • Recycling food scraps and yard waste in the green cart.
  • Reusing and/or upcycling everyday household items, such as jars.
  • Properly disposing of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), such as electronics and paint.
  • Using reusable bags while shopping and skipping disposable utensils with takeout.
  • Purchasing durable goods, or repairing items rather than sending them to the landfill.
  • Donating used items to thrift stores, selling items at garage sales, or giving items away through websites such as FreeCycle.
Not sure how to dispose of an item? What Goes Where offers jurisdiction-specific best recycling practices. Wishcycling is the practice of placing items in the recycling bin (e.g. plastic bags or polystyrene), hoping they're recyclable when they are actually a contaminant. Contaminated recycling or yard waste containers can result in the cart not being emptied, and potentially a contamination fee. The most common blue cart contaminants in Monterey include: plastic bags and film plastic, textiles, clamshell containers, food, paper towels and tissue, printer cartridges, paint cans, and diapers.2022-MCDS-Guide_Page_2

Preventing container overflow reduces litter and protects the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is considered one of the most pristine ocean environments in the United States. Ensuring adequate waste collection service and keeping container lids closed prevents litter from polluting our coast. 

AB 341: Mandatory commercial recycling
Mandatory Commercial Recycling focuses on increased commercial waste diversion as a method to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to 2008 Statewide Characterization data, the commercial sector generates nearly three fourths of the solid waste in California. Recycled materials can reduce the GHG emissions from multiple phases of product production, including extraction of raw materials, preprocessing and manufacturing. 

AB 341 and Monterey City Code (Chapter 14) require:

  • Businesses generating 4 cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week to arrange for recycling services.
  • Multi-family complexes with 5+ units to arrange for recycling services, regardless of how much solid waste is generated.

California law requires multi-family complexes with five units or more to arrange for recycling services. The good news is building owners or managers can sign up for free apartment recycling! Not only is recycling service free in the City of Monterey, but it can actually save your complex money! You pay to throw away, so the more you can divert to the recycling container, the less you will haul to the landfill. Recycling is a simple process, but multi-family dwellings with shared waste and recycling enclosures face challenges that can ruin the best of efforts. Thanks to a grant from California's Department of Conservation, recycling can not only be easy but can also provide cost savings for your facility.

To have recycling service at your apartment, you must have a storage area that is:
  • Hard, flat and level;
  • Convenient for tenants and collection vehicles to access or;
  • The ability to get your recycling bins to and from the curbside on your day of service.
Why participate in the program?
  • It's the law. According to California law, multifamily dwelling units (e.g. apartment complexes) of five units or more are required to arrange for recycling services.
  • Save money. It’s an easy equation: More Waste = Higher Disposal Costs! Recycling is offered at no cost to residents of the City of Monterey.
  • Help your community and the environment. Recycling conserves landfill space and saves scarce natural resources. It can also provide jobs and extra income to the community.
  • Make your building more attractive to tenants. Tenants, when educated properly, approve of efforts to reduce waste and lower maintenance costs.
This program is designed to support you each step of the way, and to help make your building’s recycling program a success. From planning to roll-out and ongoing maintenance, you receive a toolkit that is filled with hands-on instructions, as well as print-ready informational materials. There has never been a better time than now to implement recycling at your facility. This program provides the free infrastructure, education and staff assistance to develop, troubleshoot and implement your waste reduction program.

To add recycling service at your property, contact Monterey City Disposal Service at (831) 372-7977.

Requirements for All Businesses in Monterey 

California law requires businesses generating four cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week to arrange for recycling services. The ultimate goal is to divert waste from the landfill, as most landfilled waste generated in the City of Monterey is from the commercial sector. The good news is that recycling is free in the City of Monterey, and the Sustainability Office can help businesses reduce waste and establish best recycling practices. Recycling is a great way to save money - the more you recycle, the more you save by decreasing your bill for waste sent to the landfill! It's easy, and it's good business $cents$. 
Commercial-MCDS-Guide - Copy (2)

AB 827 mandates that businesses subject to Mandatory Commercial Recycling (AB 341) and Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling (AB 1826) provide front-of-house recycling and composting collection containers for customers. Containers must be clearly labeled, easily accessible, and adjacent to garbage containers. 
Signage is available on the CalRecycle website.

Are you a hospitality based business within The City of Monterey? Do you like to save money? This is a free program available to all tourist based businesses and venues.
The Goal: Targeting tourism-based businesses to transition the largest garbage generators into our largest recycling generators. We also want to make recycling a natural thing to do; when you see blue bins you know they’re for recycling, not trash.

The following are the types of containers that are typically offered through this program:

96 Gallon Exterior Recycling
23 Gallon Slim Jim
14 Gallon Recycling Box
7 Gallon Desk side Bin

For more information or to sign up, contact the Sustainability Office at (831) 242-8732.

large item pickup available by appointment
Large item pickup is available free of charge to MCDS residential customers.
Up to four large items can be picked up per appointment, and four appointments are allotted per year. Many items are collected at no additional charge, with some items (e.g. refrigerators, TVs, etc.) charged at the landfill's special handling rates. Large item collection is available to multifamily properties for a fee. To schedule an appointment, call (831) 372-7977, and place items on the curb by 8am on the scheduled collection day. 

Generally, as long as the items are clean, not soiled or drenched in paint, most textiles can be accepted. Less desirable pieces can be transformed into items such as polishing cloths or insulation. There are a few alternatives to discarding items no longer in use, such as:
  • Upcycling (e.g. turning beloved old sweatshirts into a memory quilt)
  • Goodwill at 571 Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey – (831) 649-6056
  • Salvation Army at 1491 Contra Costa Street in Seaside – (831) 899-4911
  • H&M at the Del Monte Shopping Center – (855) 466-7467
  • USAgain Collection Bins (
  • The Bra Recyclers (
Additionally, animal shelters will often accept donations to use for cleaning and bedding.

For information on building a new enclosure for solid waste containers, see the Waste Enclosure Standards guidance document. For more information, contact the Planning Office.

Looking for information on organic waste recycling? Visit the Organic Waste Recycling page.