Collection Tips & FAQs

We’ve compiled the below list of frequently asked questions and answers.
Click on questions for answers. If you don’t see your question, please contact us.

Click here for FAQs, our services and COVID-19.

My cart is damaged, how do I get a replacement?

Please contact us to arrange the delivery of a replacement cart.

I just moved to the area. How do I start my service?

Welcome to Livermore!  A form is required in order to start/stop service.

How do I cancel service?

Fill out our form online.

What can I do to make sure my carts are serviced each week?

Our “How-To” brochure lists a number of set out tips, click here to download How-To brochure for easy reference.

Here’s a quick summary:

Collection Day/Map Service Area

  • On your collection day, be sure your carts are at the curb by 6am.
  • Leave the carts at the curb until we’ve emptied them. Our trucks can arrive at different times each week.
  • Place your carts facing the street with wheels against the curb.
  • Leave 3 feet between each cart.
  • Do not place carts too close to parked cars, fire hydrants, low-hanging branches, and other obstacles.


  • Do not overload your carts. The lid should close completely.
  • Do not wedge or compact materials into your carts.
  • If you have extra waste, please contact us to arrange for additional service.

If a product has the three arrows symbol on it, doesn’t that mean recyclable?

The three arrows symbol is not an automatic indication that an item can be recycled. The recycling symbol is unregulated, meaning that no authority controls who places the symbol on what product, be it recyclable or not.

For example, the plastics industry uses the chasing arrows symbol as an “in house” coding system to identify resin types, not recyclability.

It is important to follow the guidelines issued by the City of Livermore and Livermore Sanitation, not the labeling on the product. For service guides, posters, and a list of what goes where, click here.

The goal of zero waste is for everything that is manufactured to be recyclable. To accomplish this, a reliable end-buyer and use for the material is required. Product recyclability is dependent upon a demand and market for the material – for example, manufacturers buying products/materials back for the remanufacture of goods. The demand and available markets are what determine what can and cannot be accepted in recycling collection programs.

When an industry or manufacturer designs, produces, and sells a product without the recyclable material market in mind, it must use virgin materials to manufacture its products. Natural resources are used up and unrecyclable material (waste) is produced.

What can you do to help? Be mindful of your purchasing habits! Buy products that are made from or use recyclable materials. Do your best to reuse, repair, repurpose, and rethink what you have before you buy something new! Click here for more tips and ideas for buying smart,.

Does Livermore Sanitation provide backyard service?

Yes. Backyard/sideyard service is provided on request to all residents at the rates listed on our Basic Service Menu. Please contact us to sign up for service.  Residents with disabilities may apply to receive this service free of charge; a form is required.

How do I prevent litter on collection days?

Here are a few tips to prevent those loose ends from escaping.

  • Put your papers inside a paper bag and seal it with a staple. Place the sealed bag in your blue cart.
  • Bag all Styrofoam packing peanuts before putting in the garbage.
  • Place breakable items in the middle or bottom of the appropriate cart.

Today was my service day and one of my carts was not emptied. What should I do?

Please leave that cart out at the curb. If your neighbors’ carts were all emptied or it’s after 6pm, then it’s likely we accidently missed your cart. Contact us immediately and we will send a truck back around as soon as possible.

Can I exchange my recycling or organics cart for a different size?

Yes. Please contact us to request an exchange. We offer 32, 64 and 96-gallon carts. Exchanges are done within a few weeks of request on your regular service day. Before requesting a smaller cart, be sure to give the larger one a try. Review the list of acceptable items in our Residential Service Guide and see if you can use the higher capacity. It is important to note that the large cart does not cost more than a smaller one.

Click here for cart sizes.

Is there a charge to have a cart exchanged?

We will exchange your cart for a different size once every twelve months at no charge.

My 96-gallon recycling cart doesn’t fit in the space I have to store it. Will a smaller one?

The 64-gallon has almost the same footprint so might not fit either. Consider getting a 32-gallon or creating a bigger storage space.

Click here for cart sizes.

I’m not using the kitchen pail you provided. What should I do with it?

Use if for another purpose or place it inside your blue recycling cart.

What belongs in each of my carts?

Proper sorting makes a difference! Garbage goes in the gray, recyclables in the blue, and, organics (yard trimmings, food scraps and food-soiled paper) in the green.

Click here to download our Residential Service Guide.

Click here to review a comprehensive list of commonly disposed of items and where they go.
Blue Recyclables Cart and what belongs insideGreen Organics Cart and what belongs insideGrey Garbage Cart and what belongs inside

I’m not sure I want to use the kitchen pail. Is there another way to separate food scraps?

You can use whatever works for you! Try using a paper dairy carton, a different type of kitchen pail or can, or even just a paper bag. You might also consider freezing food waste and/or wrapping it in newspaper before placing it in your green cart.

I do my own gardening and could really use some good quality compost. Why should I give Livermore Sanitation all my organic waste?

You don’t have to give your organic waste away. In fact, many gardeners transform their kitchen scraps and lawn clippings into their own high quality compost. We invite you to do the same. Click here for information on how to start your own compost program.

I recently replaced my fridge (or my water heater, or my sofa, or my bed, or my …). What do I do with the old one?

Please review the information on our Cleanup / Bulky Item Collection Program page.

I have questions regarding my last invoice. Is there someone who can help me?

Absolutely. Please contact us by phone or using our online form. We want you to understand how our invoicing works; and we want to correct any mistakes as quickly as possible.

What should I do with leftover paint, fertilizer, pool chemicals, and other toxic products?

No liquid or hazardous items can go in any of our carts.  Please click here for what can go in our carts and bins.

Is it true that you provide curbside collection of household batteries? What about cell phones, unwanted clothing, and used motor oil/filters?

Yes! On your collection day, place your household batteries in a clear zipper-lock plastic bag and place it on top of your blue cart. We’ll collect alkaline and pile lithium batteries including A, AA, AAA, C, D, 6-volt, 9-volt, rechargeable, camera, watch, hearing aid, calculator and similar. Please put a piece of tape over the positive terminal on all batteries before placing in a bag.
We also have curbside pickup of these items:

  • Motor oil should be contained in 1-gallHazardous Household Itemson jugs that are clearly marked and tightly sealed. You can contact us to arrange for free delivery of oil jugs & filter bags. We’ll collect 1-gallon per household each week and will leave a replacement jug and filter bag behind. Please place your oil/filter next to (NOT INSIDE) your recycling cart for collection.
  • Cell phones should be bagged in a clear zipper-locked plastic bag (separately from batteries) and placed on top of your recycling cart on collection day.
  • Clothing (gently worn clothing and linens) should be placed in a clear bag next to your blue cart. We will only collect textiles during the first week of each quarter (January, April, July & October). The textiles we collect will be donated to a local charity.

I’m doing some work on my house and have more garbage than usual. How do I get rid of it?

Look into scheduling an On-Call Cleanup or ordering a handy hauler bin or a debris box. Whether you’re cleaning out your garage, re-landscaping your yard, remodeling your kitchen, or deep cleaning, we have just the right size bin to suit your needs. Contact us or check out the service menu for complete information.

What can I do about items that have been illegally dumped?

Report it! Use the online form on the “Contact Us” page.

I’m sick of all this junk mail! Is there a way to make it stop?

Visit To cut back on unsolicited catalogs, visit

I’m about to move/just finished moving. Where can I get/ get rid of boxes?

Post reusable boxes on

I cleaned out my closet and found lots of good stuff I no longer wear. What should I do with it?

Passing your things back into circulation helps other people AND keeps your landfill from overflowing. You can contact:
Or you can participate in our quarterly textile collection. Review our Residential Service Guide for more information.

I’m moving and have an entire pantry full of food I can’t use. I’d hate for it to go to waste- any suggestions?

Good for you. There’s too much need to throw away food. Visit the Alameda County Food Bank to pass on your bounty.

I’m looking for basic waste reduction and recycling information. Any good sites to visit?

Sure! Try these:

How do I dispose of e-waste?

Please review the information on our
Household Hazardous & E-Waste Programs page.

I’m interested in teaching my child more about the environment. Any suggestions?

Review our Resource List for teachers and our Suggested Reading List

I’d like to reward companies that go out of their way to do the right thing. Is there a way to find local green businesses?

Yes! Visit the California Green Business Network

How can I safely dispose of fireplace and BBQ ash?

Make sure to place fireplace, stove and barbecue ashes in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Put the container outside and 10 feet or more away from your home and combustibles. Wet the ashes down. Once cold, ashes must be contained (so they do not blow away during collection) and then placed in your gray Garbage cart. For more information and additional fire safety tips, visit these websites:,, and

Didn’t see your question?

Visit our Publications & Resources page or contact us.