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Watch what happens to your recycling in San José

Order a free recycling sheet
Check out these recycling tips
(Watch in Spanish | Watch in Vietnamese)

San Jose Recycling CartRecycling bin
San Jose Garbage CartGarbage bin
Yard trimmings cart or pile
Yard trimmings pileSan Jose Yard Trimmings Cart
Items that don't go in recycling or garbage


When recycling plastic, empty and scrape all containers. All plastic items labeled 1 through 7 inside the chasing arrows.*
  • Beverage bottles - instructions: empty your bottles, crush them, put the lids back on, and place them in the recycling.
  • Compact disc cases
  • Detergent bottles
  • Flower pots
  • Hard plastic toys
  • Juice and milk jugs
  • Large reusable water bottles
  • Medicine bottles
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe
  • Soda, water, mouthwash, and mustard containers
  • Spray bottles
  • Squeezable bottles (e.g. honey)
  • Yogurt and margarine tubs
plastic shampoo bottleplastic water bottle
*Return clean plastic bags to grocery stores for recycling. If your grocery store accepts them, you can also take air pillow packaging materials and other thin film plastics there for recycling; otherwise, put them in the garbage cart. 

Put Polystyrene foam (Styrofoam™) in the garbage cart.

Paper & Cardboard
Flatten boxes and secure loose material (e.g. shredded paper) in clear plastic bags. Cut large boxes small enough to fit loosely inside the recycling cart or bin.
  • Cardboard
  • Catalogs
  • Cereal and cracker boxes (remove liners)
  • Egg cartons
  • Envelopes (plastic windows OK)
  • Gift wrap (no metallic or foil)
  • Magazines
  • Mail
  • Newspaper
  • Newspaper inserts and advertisements (glossy OK)
  • Office paper (e.g. construction paper, printer paper)
  • Paper bags
  • Shoe boxes
  • Shopping bags (remove handles)
  • Telephone books
Learn about sorting packaging materials.

Empty and scrape all containers.
  • Tin, aluminum, and steel cans and lids
  • Food and beverage cans (e.g., soda, tuna, soup, pet food)
  • Empty aerosol cans
Spray Paint Can, Dog Food Can, Soda Can and Soup Can

Empty, scrape, and flatten all containers.
  • Beverage cartons and boxes (e.g. juice, milk, cream)

Empty and scrape all containers.
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
Glass Jar and Glass Bottle

Scrap Metals
Metals should be clean and dry.
  • Clean aluminum foil and trays
  • Small metal appliances (e.g. toaster, waffle iron, blender)
  • Keys
  • Metal lids and caps from glass bottles
  • Metal pots and pans
  • Empty paint cans (let paint dry out, then remove and place in garbage cart)
clean aluminum tray

Tie clean textiles inside a clear plastic bag.
  • Clean cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, and wool fabrics
  • Blankets and sheets
  • Clothes
clear bag of textiles

Garbage Cart

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Pumpkins
  • Cooking oil, grease and fats 
Food waste and organic materials are removed from your household garbage during processing and then composted. You can also compost fruit and vegetable scraps and/or yard trimmings at home. Discounted compost bins are available for purchase to residents.

Soiled papers & containers
  • Carbon paper
  • Padded or Tyvek® envelopes
  • Paper soiled with anything such as motor oil, paint, or food/grease
  • Paper take-out containers
  • Photographs and photo paper
  • Pizza boxes
  • Thermal fax paper
takeout containers and wrappersgreasy pizza box

Polystyrene Foam
  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Egg cartons
  • Packing "peanuts" (tie securely in plastic bag)
  • Take-out containers

Household items
  • Bubble wrap
  • Carpet and rugs (cut into small pieces)
  • Ceramics
  • Compact discs
  • Cookware
  • Credit cards
  • Disposable diapers
  • Down-filled items
  • Drinking glasses
  • Electric blankets
  • Foil pouches
  • Hangers (wood, metal, plastic)
  • Hardware (bolts, nails, nuts, screws)
  • Hoses
  • Incandescent light bulbs
  • Leather
  • Mirrors
  • Nylon
  • Pillows
  • Pools
  • Rubber
  • Shoes
  • Soiled plastic bags
  • Straws
  • Stuffed animals
  • Tarps
  • Toys
  • Utensils
  • Vinyl
  • Windows
  • Wood
disposable diaperceramicsshoesstudded animalhosewood

Yard Trimmings Cart or Pile
Yard trimmings collection includes:
 Graphic of the word yes and a check mark
  • Branches (5 feet or shorter in length and
          6 inches or less in diameter)
  • Flowers
  • Grass clippings (or grasscycle them instead)
  • Leaves
  • Palm fronds
  • Small prunings
  • Sod (remove as much soil as possible)
  • Holiday trees
 Graphic of the word no and the letter x
  • Ashes
  • Concrete or Rocks
  • Dirt
  • Fruit or Vegetables
  • Lumber
  • Pumpkins
  • Pet Waste
Learn more about yard trimmings collection.

Items that don't go in recycling or garbage
syringecompact florescent bulb (CFL)
household hazardous waste

Learn what happens to your recycling
Learn what happens to your recycling