Goodbye winter gloom—hello, super bloom!

Springtime's the right time for green cleaning. But how can you clean AND cut back your paper and plastic waste Try these fresh ideas…

Green shirt with a recycle symbol hanging on a clothesline

Use dissolving laundry tablets instead of plastic-wrapped pods, and reusable wool balls instead of dryer sheets

Air dry your clothes for a bright, crisp feel

Cut up old shirts to clean—and cut down on single-use paper towels

Use non-toxic cleaners like vinegar, baking soda and lemons

Choose biodegradable soaps and cleaning products in refillable glass bottles

Want to replace more single-use paper and plastic items this spring? Do a trash audit! Keep track of what you trash during a week and choose one commonly used item to phase out and replace with a more sustainable option. Review and choose a new product to replace each month and watch how sustainable your habits become!

calendar icon

Bye bye mattresses

Has your old mattress lost its spring? Here's how to safely recycle this bulky household item:

Retailer Take Back
Getting your new mattress delivered? Ask your retailer if they can take your old one back at no cost.

Bye Bye Mattress
Central Contra Costa County residents can drop-off mattresses on Sundays for free at the local ByeByeMattress location:

1038 Shary Cir. Unit 7, Concord, CA 94518

For more information, go to

staff story

Ashley Louisiana, a white woman with blonde hair, smiling

Article Submission by Ashley Louisiana, RecycleSmart Program Manager

Growing up in Moraga, my mom would get excited when it was “pick-up day.” She would get up early and drive around picking up the goods she wanted from the curb that others no longer needed. The good news for our unsuspecting neighbors, she retired almost 10 years ago and doesn't live in the area.

Coming full circle and working at RecycleSmart, I carry on my mom's legacy of finding good homes for usable cast-offs,but in a more organized (and legal) way by assisting with managing the Reuse and Cleanup Days program.

The Reuse and Cleanup Days program started in 1999 to respond to the environmental, social and economic issues impacting Contra Costa County. Twice a year on pre-scheduled days, all 65,000 single-family homes in the RecycleSmart service area can set out gently used household items at the curb, at no additional cost, to be picked up by Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery (MDRR).

I recently visited the 18,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Pittsburg where all the reusable items collected from the curb end up. It was a bustling scene of incoming trucks and a sorting crew separating small furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, home décor, medical supplies, school supplies and books, scrap metal and batteries. The warehouse is more organized than many homes, thanks to dedicated MDRR staff Jim Nejedly and Adriana Medina.

Adriana had so many stories of where our Central Contra Costa reuse items end up, from the Paradise fire victims to Contra Costa schools needing sporting equipment. She happily connected me with “Make it Home,” a non-profit in Walnut Creek that Social Services uses to help furnish apartments for those previously unhoused or aging out of the foster care system. “Giving is not just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference,” Adriana said. “To pick up items, sort them, and to see the smiles on the faces of the families and charities who come in and get what they need from us is such a rewarding process.”

Since RecycleSmart contracted with MDRR in 2015, over 22 million pounds of reuse items have been donated to East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, St. Vincent DePaul, HOPE Solutions, Homeless Action Coalition, Uplift Family Services and many other charitable organizations. Over 32,000 homes placed reusable items at the curb in 2022, and RecycleSmart saw the program's highest participation in 2020-2021 when we all had plenty of time to clean house. Residents can also take advantage of the Cleanup Day provided by Republic Services, the day after the Reuse Day, for any junk or unusable materials.

Reusing materials is even better for the environment and the community than recycling. RecycleSmart is a national leader in curbside collection of reusable items and has inspired other communities to develop similar programs. We are proving the old adage that one person's trash is another person's treasure. To learn more about the Reuse and Cleanup Days Program, or to look up your upcoming dates with our new search tool, visit or scan the QR code.

White ceramic pitcher with painted blue flowers around the sides that is appearing to say 'I'm pitcher perfect for someone!'

New life for your old stuff

Ever wondered what happens to your household items after they get picked up? Have a look below!

Day 1 Reuse Day. Place all your reusable household items—clothes, shoes, books, sports equipment, electronics, furniture—that are not torn, stained or broken out onto the curb by 6 a.m. on your Reuse Day. Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery (MDRR) will come by and pick up the donatable household items to the MDRR warehouse where they are sorted. Usable items get distributed to families, thrift stores, and local charities. Day 2 Cleanup Day. The day after Reuse Day, put out any broken, non-recyclable items onto the curb by 6 a.m. on Cleanup Day. Republic Services picks up the items that MDRR wouldn't be able to donate that meet the Cleanup Day size requirements to take them to the landfill. Please note: Household Hazardous Waste, electronics (including batteries) and organics, including yard trimmings, leaves and wood, are not accepted on Cleanup Day. Visit for free disposal options.
TV icon

Extra Collection Services

In addition to the bi-annual Reuse and Cleanup Days, single-family home residents can call Republic Services at 925-685-4711 to schedule an on-call landfill cleanup once a year, and a recycling and/or organics cleanup up to four times per year.

For more information, visit

Orinda's outstanding on organics

One blue recycling cart, two green compost carts and one black landfill cart in a row in front of a house. An avocado peel and pit overlay the scene.

Residents in the City of Orinda have been doing their part to keep their recyclables and food scraps from going into the landfill. Their efforts have made a TON of impact—literally!

In 2022, Orinda collected 2,724 tons of recycling and 6,419 tons of organic waste from residents. The City's sorting efforts—which also included landfill, battery and e-waste— resulted in an impressive 70% diversion rate. Way to go, Orinda!

A tip from Matthew C., Orinda

Save paper—sign up for the digital newsletter

A laptop opened to the online RecycleSmart newsletter.

I love the RecycleSmart newsletter! I look forward to getting it so I can learn fun new tips on how to be a better recycler, composter and all-around good person to the environment.

I recently found out that instead of receiving the paper newsletter, I can sign up for an e-newsletter—that has all the same information as the print version—on the homepage.

Once I signed up, I emailed with my service address to stop my print service. It's that easy!

Now I get my quarterly newsletter delivered straight to my inbox so I can stay informed AND reduce my paper use.

email icon

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

Send your ideas to


Unwind with a word find!