Multifamily Recycling

Multifamily Recycling Service

Recycling in El Cerrito
Recycling service is provided in partnership with the City of El Cerrito.

The City of El Cerrito owns and operates the curbside collection of recyclables and provides recycling collection up to three (3) times per week for multifamily dwellings within the city limits. Recycling service is included as part of your service package with East Bay Sanitary.

Contact the City at 510.215.4350 to set up a free consultation, verify your multifamily dwelling's requirements, or to set-up recycling services.




Free Recycling Consultation

The City of El Cerrito offers free consultations to help multifamily complexes recycle right.

Contact the City directly to set up and optimize your service.

phone: 510.215.4350

Email the City

Recycling Cart or Bin

  • Put all your recyclables (empty, clean & dry) into your gray recycling carts or recycling bins.
  • Do not overfill; make sure that the lid closes securely when placed at the curb for collection.
  • Please place recycling carts on the street with the wheels against the curb the night before or by 6 a.m. on your collection day. Leave 2 feet between carts and place them 4 feet from cars.
  • Materials placed outside of the recycling cart will not be picked up.
  • It’s the law: California multifamily dwellings with five or more units must recycle.

What Belongs in Recycling

Only place recyclable materials that are empty, clean & dry in the recycling cart or bin.

Below are a few of the things that belong in your recycling cart or bin. This list is not exhaustive.


  • Cardboard (must be broken down and placed inside the cart)
  • Boxboard (such as shoe boxes, cereal boxes)
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines, catalogs & glossy paper
  • Paper bags
  • Paper packaging
  • Junk mail
  • Phone books & soft-cover books
  • Envelopes (labels or windows all okay)
  • Office paper (all colors)
  • Shredded white paper (compost in green cart)
  • NEW TO CURBSIDE COLLECTION: ALL RINSED CARTONS -- Ex. Milk, juice & tetra pak/aseptic (foil-lined)


  • Aluminum cans
  • Tin & steel cans
  • Clean aluminum pans & foil
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Scrap metal (up to 36")
  • Pots, pans & utensils
  • Loose metal lids from glass jars and bottles


Must be empty, clean, and dry.

  • Bottles & jugs: all CRV containers; all numbers & colors; rinsed & empty, leave caps on
  • Rigid non-bottle plastics, such as:
    • Tubs & containers (e.g. yogurt, margarine);
    • Buckets, pails & crates;
    • Clamshell trays & deli containers (please rinse and dry);
    • Laundry baskets


Must be empty, clean, and dry.

  • Bottles & jars: all colors, lids removed and recycled loose - (labels okay)
  • Must be Empty, Clean & Dry


Please note not all items accepted at the El Cerrito Recycling (Drop-Off) Center are included in the curbside program.

What Doesn’t Belong in Recycling

No food or garbage in your recycling.

It is very important that our recycling is clean and free of contamination. See below for more information.

Please note not all items accepted at the El Cerrito Recycling (Drop-Off) Center are included in the curbside program. Don't put the following items in your recycling cart instead bring them to the Drop-Off Center: batteries, fluorescent tubes & lamps (CFLs), electronics, large pieces of scrap metals, medications, needles & sharps, used cooking oil, non-perishable food for the Food Bank Donation barrel, and clothing / textiles & shoes.

Below are a few of the things that do not belong in your recycling cart or bin.

  • NO hardcover books, binders, tissues, towels, paper with plastic coatings (such as photographs or label paper), food-soiled paper, waxed paper, foil-lined paper, or plastic shipping envelopes.
    • PLEASE compost egg cartons and other food-soiled paper products such as take-out containers, napkins, pizza boxes, paper cups and plates.
    • Drop off hardcover books at the El Cerrito Recycling Center.
  • NO window glass, mirrors, crystal, Pyrex, ceramics, light bulbs, or fluorescent tubes / lamps (CFLs).  Window glass, mirrors, Pyrex, ceramics can be upcycled or worst case sent to landfill.
    • Drop off fluorescent tubes / lamps (CFLs) at the El Cerrito Recycling Center. Proof of residency is required.
  • NO Styrofoam or other polystyrene (#6 EPS plastic), PVC (#3 plastic), plastic bags or plastic film / wrap / flexible packaging, plastic straws, plastic utensils, and other small (under 2" x 2") plastic items.
  • PLEASE NO electronic or computer equipment.
    • Drop off electronics at the El Cerrito Recycling Center.


Does not belong in Recycling

Recycling Steps

3 Easy Steps to Prepare Recyclables

To make sure that your recyclables are ready for recycling, please be sure they are:





Recycling Contamination

Recycling Contamination

Contamination is the term used to describe anything that renders your recycled items non-recyclable. Besides ruining good material, contamination increases labor costs at processing plants as workers try to separate contaminated material from good material.

Contamination typically occurs when:

  • Non-recyclable items are put in collection cart.
  • Food waste or liquids are left on recyclables put in collection cart.
  • Bags of recyclables are dropped into carts rather than dumping the recyclables in loose. Bags are NOT torn open at the processing plants so the bag and all its contents end up in the trash.

Common Recycling Contaminants

  • Plastic bags and Packaging (should go into trash)
  • Garbage bags (only garbage goes into garbage bags, do not bag your recyclables)
  • E-Waste/Batteries (Hazardous Wastes)
  • Scrap Metal & Hangers (should go into trash)
  • Food (should go into your green waste cart)
  • Styrofoam (should go into trash)
  • Diapers (should go into trash)
  • Clothing (donate or goes into trash)



California Recycling Laws

Learn about the important recycling laws that impact multifamily residential units.

Learn More

El Cerrito Materials Guide English PDF

Get the Guide

Check out the Residential Recycling Guide for everything you ever wanted to know about recycling and garbage services in El Cerrito.

Download the Guide

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste

HHW must be dropped off at the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center.

Learn More