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Aluminum Soda Can Top for recycling

Recycling service for all Commercial Businesses in the city limits is provided by 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.

Please contact the City for any recycling service issues such as, new service set-up, service requirements, or missed collections.

PHONE: 510.215.4350   EMAIL: [email protected]

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Free Recycling Consultation

The City of El Cerrito offers free consultations to help multifamily dwellings and commercial businesses recycle right. Contact the City directly by phone 510.215.4350 or email to set up and optimize your service.

Recycling Cart or Bin

  • Put all your recyclables (EMPTY, CLEAN & DRY) into your recycling cart.
  • Keep materials loose. Do not bag materials. They should come out of the cart easily when tipped into the truck. If you use a bag to collect recyclable materials inside your business, empty the recyclables loose into the collection cart and place the bag in trash.
  • 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.

Image: Recycle Blue Cart


What Belongs in Recycling

Keep it loose. Keep it clean. Keep it dry. 

Below are a few of the things that belong in your recycling cart. 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 (also Ok in the organics cart)
  • NEW TO CURBSIDE COLLECTION: ALL EMPTY, CLEAN & DRY 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”)*
  • Hangers*
  • Pots, pans & utensils
  • Loose metal lids from glass jars and bottles

*May also be dropped off at the Drop-Off Recycling Center.



  • Bottles & jugs: all CRV containers; 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



  • Bottles & jars: all colors, lids removed and recycled loose – (labels okay)


Image of materials that go in recycling: glass, metal, plastic tubs bottles, paper

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.

  • 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.
  • No clothing or textiles. Donate reusable items, make rags or as a last resort, these items should be dropped off at the Drop-Off Recycling Center.

*Styrofoam™ may also be dropped off at the Drop-Off Recycling Center. Proof of residency required.

What Doesn’t Go 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

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)
  • Bioplastics
  • 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)

Image: Recycle Blue Cart

Recycling Missed Collection

The City of El Cerrito provides your recycling collection and processing.

Please refer any questions about recycling collection to the City of El Cerrito Recycling Services at 510.215.4350.



Extra Recycling

Save up your extra recyclables and utilize the free, once-a-year curbside clean-up for households and businesses within El Cerrito. Learn more about this program offered by the City of El Cerrito. Need to get rid of recyclable sooner? Drop them off at the Drop-Off Recycling Center.

Food Compast Image

Recycling Laws

All residents and businesses must separate recycling and organic waste from garbage by law.

Thumbnail image of El Cerrito Residential Service Guide Brochure

Materials Guide

Check out the Materials Guide for information about recycling and garbage services in El Cerrito. Available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste

HHW cannot go in the garbage.

Tuesdays only HHW may be dropped off at the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center.

Wednesday – Saturday only HHW may be dropped off at the West Contra Costa County Household Hazardous Waste Facility.


We have been serving the El Cerrito Community for 80 years. The residents of El Cerrito can take pride in the fact that they are participating in a premier and cutting-edge waste management system and that East Bay Sanitary is working very hard to manage our resources and preserve our environment in the best ways possible.

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