Three cheers for our heroes

While we’re all doing our part to keep our communities safe as we shelter in place, we want to say “Thank you!” to the drivers, mechanics, and dispatchers on the front lines collecting your recycling, compost, and trash on schedule.

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It’s times like these when we truly appreciate the dedication and commitment of the folks who keep our service running smoothly.

To help keep trucks rolling:

  • Leave two feet of space between each cart (and three feet away from parked cars).
  • Put carts out the night before pick-up (trucks come as early as 6 am).

What’s more, Republic Services is expressing appreciation by providing weekly meals (including dinners to take home) for “front line” employees—ordering them from local restaurants that need support right now!

Our teams are out every day, making sure that “shelter in place” doesn’t turn into “smell-ter in place”! So give them a wave when you see them, and maybe a little applause!

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Travel tips to a garage paradise!

Our practical tips can help you turn that den of clutter into useful storage. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Shout out to Walnut Creek School District for banning Styrofoam trays, Buena Vista Elementary (shown above) for using compostable wooden sporks, and all the Green Teams working hard out there!

Eighteen schools have already received Wastebuster Awards for reaching (and going above!) our community-wide goal of recycling and composting 75% of all school waste.

Three ways to support your school’s recycling and composting program:


Give yourself enough time. It usually takes at least 2 days to reorganize your garage.


Divide and conquer. Bring the contents of your garage out onto the driveway and separate it into piles: Keep, Sell/Donate, Recycle, and Throw Out. Divide the Throw Out pile into hazardous and non-hazardous waste.


Sort smart. Designate areas of the garage for different categories, like Sports Equipment (bikes, golf clubs and soccer balls), Home and Garden Supplies, Camping, and Winter Gear, etc. That will help you see how much storage space you need for each category.


Resurrect rusty tools. You can remove rust by soaking overnight in vinegar and rubbing with steel wool; then sharpen the blades with a mill file. Zing!

Save that Donate pile for Reuse Day! While Reuse Day is on hold due to COVID-19 precautions, watch your mailbox. A brochure with complete info will arrive two weeks prior to your Reuse Day pickup. You can visit for a full list of acceptable items and service updates.

With a little time and can-do spirit, you can transform your garage into a storage Shangri-La!

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How it works

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timeline of the recycling of batteries
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During shelter-in-place, the Central San HHW facility in Martinez is temporarily closed. To prep your waste during this time, remember that original containers are best! You can place any small, leaking containers individually in zipper-top bags, and larger containers in separate, covered, and non-leaking containers.Then, if you pack containers into boxes lined with plastic garbage bags, they’ll be ready to transport when the facility re-opens. For Hazardous Waste updates: or 800-646-1431.

Keep calm and recycle on

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The current situation has transformed our daily lives—we’re scrubbing counters, ordering take-out, and treating toilet paper like a precious commodity… Our new normal raises a few questions about what goes where. Here’s a quick guide:

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  • Cleaning wipes—they have plastic fibers that ruin our pipes and they can’t be composted.
  • Paper towels with harsh cleaners or chemicals like bleach.
  • Paper containers with a shiny coating like coffee cups, takeout boxes, or ice cream tubs (that lining is almost always plastic).
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  • Matte paper (uncoated) takeout containers are perfect for composting!
  • Food-soiled paper napkins or paper towels, uncoated paper plates and pizza boxes are all compostable.
  • Your kitchen food waste makes great compost too!
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  • Cardboard boxes, broken down, go in the blue cart. (That means drivers don’t have to get out of their trucks!)
  • Flattened cereal boxes, tissue boxes with plastic removed, and paper grocery bags.
  • And always—recyclables must be empty, clean and dry.

A tip from Natalie s. in Rossmoor

Waste no wipes

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For my new cleaning obsession, I didn’t want to also create a bunch of waste. I cut old towels and t-shirts into 10- or 12- inch squares and keep a stack next to a spray bottle of bleach solution. Ta-da! Reusable sanitizing wipes.

I keep a set on the kitchen counter and one by my front door to keep surfaces pristine. Then I wash and reuse the rags! Take care, though, because they do have bleach in them you don’t want to mix them with colors or dark laundry.

Instead of using paper towels and other single-use products, I cleaned out my closet and got some new supplies!

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Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Send your ideas to

Kid's corner

Sticker Party

Kids! We need you to get the word out! Too many people are STILL putting fruit and veggie stickers in the compost. But the stickers won’t break down in our compost piles because they’re made of plastic. Can you help?

Please send in your artwork made with fruit stickers or make a poster to remind people that stickers are trash, not compost!

To enter: Ask an adult to send a photograph of your artwork or poster to

That’s it! We’ll select one to three winners to receive a Zero Waste picnic kit for you and your family: reusable straws, utensils, and our adorable RecycleSmart tote!

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