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Frequently Asked Questions

Published on: 9/4/2013 9:50 AM
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​Different companies serve different residential areas. Click on the link below for a list of the cities and portions of the Unincorporated Area, and the companies who provide garbage and recycling services for each.​  

Please click here​ to find your local garbage service provider.  You can also call the Santa Clara County Recycling Hotline at 800-533-8414 or go to RecycleStuff.org​ to help you find your current garbage service provider.  ​​

Garbage pickup once a week.

  • Regular curbside/can-side recycling pickups
  • No garbage, recycling or yard waste trucks on your street before 6:00 AM or after 6:00 PM
  • Prompt, thorough, lawful, neat, professional service
  • Missed pickups collected within 24 hours of your call to report it
  • Helpful and courteous customer service available between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday to Friday
  • A customer newsletter delivered to you at least 3 times per year
  • If you have a service complaint that you have not been able to resolve with your garbage company, call your city. Unincorporated area residents, call the County at (408) 282-3180 or email ReduceWaste@aem.sccgov.org
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Call your garbage service customer service number. A missed pickup should be collected within 24 hours (on the next business day) of your report that service was missed. If you cannot resolve your service problem with the garbage company, call your City or the County for the unincorporated area.
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​A number of landfills and transfer stations in Santa Clara County accept waste from residents. Disposal fees are based on the amount (weight) of waste, with separate charges for certain items, such as water heaters, refrigerators, mattresses, and tires. Landfills DO NOT accept hazardous wastes.​  For a list of Santa Clara County landfills, please click here​.​
​Illegal dumping is placing refuse, garbage, waste, or debris of any kind on any property not owned by the person placing the material at that property. Illegal dumping is punishable by fine or imprisonment.
  
​Write down the license number, a description of the vehicle and person dumping illegally, the date and time of the occurrence and call your local police NON-emergency dispatcher.
  
​Write down the license number, a description of the vehicle and person scavenging, the date and time of the occurrence and call your local police NON-emergency dispatcher.
 
Sale of the recyclable materials collected by your collection company helps to pay for the services you receive. Theft of these materials impacts your cost of service. City and County ordinances specify that recyclable materials are the property of the municipality once they are set at the curb by single family residents or placed in cooperative collection containers by multi-family residents. Violation of these ordinances is a misdemeanor and is punishable by fine or imprisonment.
  
The County of Santa Clara Household Hazardous Waste Program to make a drop-off appointment at 408-299-7300 or go to www.HHW.org​ 
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​Many household cleaning, gardening, and hobby supplies are hazardous. Hazardous materials include batteries, asbestos, aerosol cans, pool chemicals, automotive fluids, needles and syringes, paint and paint products, mercury thermometers, pressurized cylinders, gasoline/diesel fuel, contaminated dirt, garden chemicals, radioactive materials, ammunition, explosives.
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​Car batteries are highly toxic and should be handled as a hazardous waste. There are a number of options available for the safe disposal and recycling of car batteries. When you buy a new battery, the store should be willing to take your old battery (make sure to ask them about it if they don't mention it first). In some cases they will actually pay you for it. Used automotive batteries are accepted by your city's HHW program.
  
State regulations prohibit tires from being disposed in landfills. When garbage trucks or debris boxes contain tires in with garbage, the landfill operator charges a special fee for each tire because they must be separated from the rest of the garbage for processing and disposal.
 
The best alternative for disposal is to leave the old tires with the company that sells you new tires. There is usually a small tire disposal fee charged per tire. If that isn't an option, call a transfer station or landfill. Call first for hours of operation and disposal cost.
 

You have choices:

If it is in good working condition, you may be able to donate it to a charitable organization - look in the yellow pages under Social Service Organizations.

Is it worth repairing?  Check with a retail electronic shop about repair of your broken electronic equipment. Ask for an estimate to make sure the equipment is worth the cost of repair. When you buy a replacement, ask the retail store to take your old item.
 
Santa Clara County has over 200 recycling centers that accept a wide variety of products. To find the appropriate recycling center nearest you, call the County Recycling Hotline at 1-800-533-8414 or go to www.RecycleStuff.org​
  
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​To cut down on unwanted mail, follow the instructions in our online Junk Mail Reduction Kit.  You can download a Stop Junk Mail kit here​.  
  
Bulky goods is the term for items which are sturdy, large, awkward and typically won't fit into a standard garbage can, including furniture such as sofas and chairs as well as large appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and microwave ovens. The nature of items in the bulky goods category makes them difficult to recycle and/or dispose. Municipal programs to collect them are costly, even when some of the costs can be offset by sale of recyclable or reusable components. When buying large furniture or appliances, especially if they are delivered to your home, the company will often agree to take back whatever is being replaced. They may not tell you unless you ask; so be sure to ask!
 
If the item is in good, usable condition, you can donate it to a charitable organization (look in the yellow pages under Social Service Organizations) or, you can sell it at a garage sale.
 
You can call your garbage company to request a special pick up of your bulky items. Be sure to ask how many items can be picked up for the minimum charge and find out if there are any special programs for disposal of bulky items that are available to you.
 
There are various recycling centers throughout the county that accept bulky goods for a fee; contact the Recycling Hotline at (800) 533-8414 for more information.
  
​Santa Clara County has over 200 recycling centers that accept a wide variety of items. To find the appropriate recycling center nearest you, call the County Recycling Hotline at 1-800-533-8414 or go to www.RecycleStuff.org​ to find where and how to recycle your items.
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Although in theory everything can be recycled, in practice it is too costly to recycle some items and some types of wastes. Some items and wastes have so little value that there is no market for them; some are made of mixed materials that are difficult and/or costly to separate into clean materials for use in manufacturing new products; some are too costly to take to market. Recyclability depends on demand for the waste material for use in new products; value of the raw material; cost of collection, transportation, and processing; and value of the new product made with that material.
 
You can take other actions to reduce waste and increase recycling. You can reduce the amount of waste that you produce at home and at work. You can prevent waste by replacing disposable materials and products with reusable materials and products; by reducing packaging; by reducing the amount of yard wastes requiring handling by composting them at home; and using resources, such as paper, cardboard, and plastic, more efficiently.
 
You can reuse items instead of discarding them by choosing products designed to be used over and over again, instead of using those intended to be used once and discarded. Easy choices, such as avoiding use of paper and plastic tableware, make a big difference. Used clothing, furniture, and housewares can be donated to charitable organizations or sold at garage or rummage sales. Cardboard boxes and other packaging material can be reused both at home and at the office; cloth towels and napkins can replace paper goods.

Go to www.RecycleStuff.org or call 800-533-8414 to help you find the best way to reuse or recycle just about anything.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board can help.

Worms are available by mail from:

Sonoma Valley Worm Farm (707) 996-8561 or (800) 447-6996
 
Berkeley Worm Farm (510) 643-0440
All Santa Clara County residents can call 408-918-4640 or email compost@aem.sccgov.org to sign up for a composting workshop or for information on purchasing a home composting bin.
 
A compost bin can help you recycle your yard trimmings and kitchen scraps at home. The Home Composting Education Program has a limited quantity of Earth Machine home composting bins for purchase at only $55 each (tax included). Cash or checks accepted. Pick the bin up from the County of Santa Clara Service Center, 1553 Berger Drive, San Jose. Bin sales are on Mondays from 8:30am -11:00am and 1:30pm - 4:00pm.
 
The bin is made of high density polyethylene with U.V. stabilizers, made with 50% recycled materials. The Earth Machine will fit into an automobile for easy transportation, it comes packaged in two halves (no corrugated cardboard packaging) which nest inside of each other. There is a 10-year manufacturers' warranty.
 
Unit dimensions are 33" x 33" when assembled. Unit weight is 15 pounds. The product features an easy, snap-together assembly, enclosed design, locking lid, and a sliding door to make it easy to harvest finished compost.
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​Call the Rotline at 408-918-4640 or to go www.ReduceWaste.org/Classes​ to sign-up for an upcoming composting class in your area. 
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You can purchase finished compost made from local green waste at:
 
Guadalupe Landfill (408) 268-1670
 
Newby Island Landfill (408) 262-1401
 
Zanker Road Landfill (408) 263-2384.
  
​Call the Rotline at (408) 918-4640