California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 


Recycling Tips...

Where to Recycle | Schools and State Agencies | Resources

Recycling is the practice of recovering used materials from the waste stream and then incorporating those same materials into the manufacturing process. California has a robust recycling infrastructure that manages beverage containers, organic material, electronic waste, carpet, used oil, paint, and mattresses.

Many communities in California now offer residential curbside collection or drop-off sites for certain recyclable materials. For items you can’t recycle in your curbside bin, check out the Where to Recycle Map for the nearest recycling center near you.

The law also requires businesses and other public entities to recycle as much of the waste they generate as possible. AB 341 (Chesbro, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011) requires that businesses that generate four cubic yards or more of commercial solid waste per week or are a multifamily residential dwelling of five units or more must now arrange for recycling services.

About half of California’s waste stream is organic material like yard trimmings, food waste, and lumber. Organic material can be diverted from landfills into composting and anaerobic digestion facilities where it is transformed into rich soil amendments and biofuel. California is aiming to reduce the amount of organic waste by 50 percent by 2020 and by 75 percent by 2025. In order to achieve this target, commercial businesses are now required by law (AB 1826, Chesbro, Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014) to arrange for organic waste recycling services if they generate 4 cubic yards of organic waste per week.

Collecting materials is only the first step toward making the recycling process work. Successful recycling also depends on manufacturers making products from recovered materials and, in turn, consumers purchasing products made of recycled materials. Do your part--"close the loop" and buy products made of recycled materials whenever possible.

Where to Recycle

  • Where to Recycle Map. This interactive mapping tool shows the location of collection and recycling facilities for 14 different material types (beverage containers, carpet, electronics, household hazardous waste, inerts/construction and demolition, mattresses, medication, metal, organics, paint, paper, sharps, tires, used oil) throughout California.
  • Where can I recycle my batteries.
  • Beverage Containers. Find a beverage container recycling center where you will receive California Refund Value (CRV).
  • Carpet. California is the first state in the nation to establish a statewide Carpet Stewardship Program which helps ensure that discarded carpet becomes a resource for new products. Ask your retailer/installer about recycling options. Locate a carpet collector and/or processor near you to recycle or dispose of old carpet.
  • Construction debris. You can search for facilities by county that reuse or recycle types of construction and demolition (C&D) debris, such as asphalt, drywall, and metal, on our site.
  • Electronic Waste. Discarded electronic products can present environmental hazards if not properly managed. Search this directory to find an organization near you that may handle your unwanted electronics.
  • Mattresses. California is the third state to adopt a used mattress recovery and recycling program. Check out the mattress product stewardship page for information on CalRecycle's activities related to the end-of-life management of these mostly recyclable products. According to a 2012 CalRecycle-commissioned mattress case study recycling mattresses saves landfill space and is estimated to offset 45% of GHG emissions associated with the production and landfilling of these products. If you have an old mattress, you can find local recyclers at the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) website, the non-profit created by the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) to implement the requirements of SB 254, or For information and resources related to product stewardship for mattresses, see the Product Stewardship Institute's web page on mattresses.
  • Paint. As a result of the California Paint Stewardship Program, Californian's now have free access to leftover paint collection sites at retailers and other locations statewide. Locate the nearest drop-off site for your leftover paint to ensure it is recycled, re-used or disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion.
  • Plastic. You can also find facilities that reuse or recycle specific types of plastic, such as acrylic, nylon, high density polyethylene (HDPE), and low density polyethylene (LDPE) on our site.
  • Tires. When you buy new tires, leave the old ones with the dealer, who will see that the tires are reused, recycled, or disposed of properly. If you have old tires around your property, check with your city or county environmental health office to find out where you can take them. Keep an eye out for local clean-up days. In some communities, there may be free clean-up days, but in others, there may be a charge for picking up your tires.
  • Used Oil. Find out where you can take your used motor oil and receive 40 cents per gallon.
  • Vehicle Donation. Some organizations will accept your unwanted vehicle as a charitable donation. It’s another way to support California’s campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle, while supporting a worthy cause.
  • Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris. Among the recyclable items that might wash up on California shores as a result of the 2011 tsunami in Japan are wood, plastic materials and plastic/glass buoys. For information on where to recycle these and other materials, visit
  • The Waste Prevention Information Exchange recycling page includes a comprehensive list of recycling databases.
  • Find Your Nearest Recycling Center. Enter your ZIP code to go to the "Earth's 911" website and find local centers for recycling materials, including household hazardous waste.

Recycling for Schools and State Agencies

Resources and Tools

Last updated: October 19, 2017
Public Affairs Office, (916) 341-6300