Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility City of Monterey, CA

Solid Waste & Recycling

REDUCE and REUSE what you can, then recycle.

Recycling is the last step after reduce and reuse.
Buy quality products and repair items instead of buying new. Or, give items to an organization that can refurnish, repurpose and resell them, as, Last Chance Mercantile or other reuse stores.

WGW-Logo200x200Get the WHAT GOES WHERE App!
For iOS and Android, What Goes Where App is Monterey County’s guide to help you determine how to recycle everyday materials. Plastic containers, pizza boxes, coffee cups, bags, paint – the app will guide you to curbside programs and nearby drop-off locations to maximize reuse and recycling options. Play the What Goes Where Sorting Game to learn how to separate materials in your carts! Get this informative and helpful app today!

Residential Guide

Commercial Guide
Commercial-MCDS-Guide - Copy (2)

Solid Waste Container Signage
Landfill-signage  Recycling-signage  Food-waste-signage

How to start a recycling program at your school
Contact us at (831) 646-5662 and we can set up an audit of your facility and help you design a program tailored to your school.

  • Commit To Recycling – A recycling program needs approval and support from those at the top. And that means support by the school principal, staff and students or by Owners or top management.
  • Recycling Coordinator – A Recycling Coordinator is vital to the success of the recycling program. The Recycling Coordinator should be someone who is enthusiastic and has good communication and organizational skills. The Recycling Coordinator serves as the point-of-contact between the organization and the waste hauler.
  • Determine what you are going to be collecting, how and where – Are you going to be collecting just bottles and cans, or all recyclable materials. Make sure to communicate this fact to your classmates and/or office mates. Designate a specific location for each type of recycling container and require that containers be returned to its designated location after emptying. Always place recycling bins next to trash containers, otherwise recycling containers will have higher contamination. Explain to staff and students how to keep recyclables separate from waste, and where various containers are located.
  • Plan how the recyclable will be moved from inside collection containers to the outside dumpster – Each organization is responsible for collecting recyclables from inside their building and placing them in the external recycling dumpster. Determine who (custodian staff, student club, etc.) will collect recyclables from the inside containers, and how and when collection will take place. Monterey City Disposal (or your local waste hauler) will pickup the recyclables from the external recycling container and transporting them to the Recycling Facility.
  • Involve, train and motivate – Involve as many staff & custodial service representatives as possible. Distribute clear and easy-to-follow guidelines on what can and cannot be recycled. Where possible, provide incentives such as office and/or classroom competitions or integrate recycling into office and classroom curriculum, staff meetings or vendor contracts. Publicize the program's success.
  • Monitor your Recycling Program – Monitor trash and recycling containers to ensure that recyclables are being placed in the recycling dumpster and not the trash dumpster. Also, check to ensure that trash is NOT going into the recycling containers.
  • Buy recycled! – Purchase items that are recyclable and that have a recycled material content. Eliminate the use of disposables whenever possible. Remember you are not closing the loop on recycling unless you buy recycled materials again.

the goal of zero waste
"If you are not for Zero Waste, how much waste are you for?"  - Gary Liss, Founder, National Recycling Coalition

Getting to Zero Waste means reducing consumption. The concept of Zero Waste is an end goal but with a caveat. The goal is to truly reduce total waste generation to zero, but the reality is average organization (Business, school, home, or city) attempting "Zero Waste" achieve approximately 90% diversion. The process entails the analysis of your total waste generation, then redesigning your business process to design the waste out. If you know that at the end you have large portions of X, then go upstream and change your process to eliminate all the residual of X. Design for obsolescence.

Reduce Food Waste
  • Reduce food waste and help food insecure families by donating edible food. The list of local organizations accepting donations can be found on our Edible Food Recovery page. Please refer to the organization's website, or contact them directly, for information on accepted donations and any specified collection days prior to drop off.
  • Utilize ingredients to their full extent. For example, vegetable scraps can be used to make vegetable stock.
  • Shop your fridge before making a trip to the store. 
  • Understand date labels. Learn the difference between "best by" and "use by" dates on packaging.
  • Store food properly. Store produce correctly to maximize its shelf life. If an item in your household has been over-purchased, freeze it if possible.
logo - toward zero waste
More information on waste reduction:


Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle

  • Prevent waste in the first place.
  • Choose durable goods and reusable products.
  • Look for "refillable" and "rechargeable" products, such as batteries, while reducing waste.
  • Stop Junk Mail now! Get off Junk Mail lists. Remember recycling is used when all else fails. Eliminate catalogs that you receive and do not read by contacting the companies or mailing back the tag with your name and information on it.
  • Buy bulk items, concentrates and products with less packaging. Packaging is nearly one-third of the cost of our purchases and an even greater percentage of our trash.
  • Switch to reusable bags, such as cloth bags. Recycle plastic bags in your curbside bin with the Bag your Bag and Tie Program.
  • Make all picnics, parties or family gatherings.
  • Switch to energy and water conserving appliances in your home or business. Rebate programs help offset the costs of switching and are yet another way to help you save energy, money and our environment's natural resources
  • Download a PDF version of the Recycle Guide poster.
  • Buy quality and repair items when possible.
  • Be creative -- find new uses for old things!
  • Donate packaging peanuts to local shipping supply stores. Donate hangers to local dry cleaners. Think of other items that could be reused by other people if you no longer need or want them.
Through the repair process, many are able to coax more life out of something that could have easily been thrown out. Explore online the many businesses that offer repairs to your favorite items. Give us a call if you need help finding a repair business.
Are you cleaning out closets, sheds or garages and would like to find ways to get rid of the stuff without throwing it in the trash? Donate it! If unwanted clothing or household goods still have useable life, donate them! There are many organizations around the peninsula (as well as around the country) that specialize in taking items that are still useable and finding them new homes.

When you donate your still useable items, they generate revenue for local businesses, offer more affordable fashion items for locals, saves landfill space and reduces green house gases! Check out the locations below for opportunities to donate your unwanted goods around the peninsula.

  • Goodwill, 571 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey - (831) 649-6056
  • The Salvation Army, 1850 Fremont Blvd, Seaside - (831) 394-6507
  • Last Chance Mercantile, Monterey Regional Waste management District, 14201 Del Monte Boulevard, Marina - (831) 384-5313
  • SPCA Benefit Shop, 216 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 373-5822; 26364 Carmel Rancho Ln, Carmel, CA - (831) 624-4211
  • St. Vincent De Paul, 1269 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA - (831) 899-2211; 214 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 642-9387
  • Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop, 26388 Carmel Rancho Ln, Carmel, CA - (831) 626-8480
  • Animal Friends Rescue Project, 560 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 333-0722
  • Church Mouse Thrift Shop, 204 17th Street, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 375-0838
  • Chatter Baux Shoppe Children's Clothing and Accessories, 157 Fountain Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 647-8701
Clothing Only -
  • Plato’s Closet, 402 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA - (831) 641-9919
  • The Cat's Meow, 801 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA - (831) 393-2287
  • Lunablu Trading Company, 176 Bonifacio Place, Monterey, CA - (831) 641-0616
  • Sweet Child of Mine, 299 Webster Street, Monterey, CA (831) 708-8687
  • Encore Boutique Consignment Shop, 125 Central Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA - (831) 375-1700
Sell it
  • Have a garage sale. - It’s a great way to meet neighbors and make money at the same time. Visit these Websites for helpful hints for a successful sale:
  • Sell it on eBay or Craig’s List. - eBay is an auction-type setting and Craig’s List allows you to place a dollar figure on an item and someone contacts you (or not) to purchase it.
  • Give it away. - Go to Freecycle, join up and post the items you want to give away and someone will take them away. They have certain parameters for you to follow, such as no selling of anything or posting of garage sales, for instance.
Last, but not Least RECYCLE! There are some items that you have no choice but to get rid of. Please be aware of those items that require special handling or that are banned from the landfills.

  • Follow the Household Recycling guidelines to understand what can go in your blue cart. Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy it would take to make a new one from scratch! The industry needs glass to make more glass.
  • Live in an apartment or condo and don't have recycling? Check out our Apartment & Multi-Family Recycling program.
  • Curbside recycling is available free of charge in the City of Monterey. If your apartment complex does not have recycling, ask your apartment manager to contact Monterey City Disposal Service to start service, it's free!
  • Household Hazardous Waste (including electronic waste, batteries & more) needs to be cautiously disposed or recycled.
  • Buy recycled products and materials. When you buy recycled content products, that's called Closing the Loop!