The Do's and Don'ts of Recycling in Albany

This column is written on behalf of the City of Albany’s Sustainability Committee, to provide info and local resources to improve impacts on the environment in a cost-effective manner.

We know, we know! .

You put the cans, bottles and paper in the right bin. You might even put your food scraps in the green bin, and possibly even have you own worm composter. 

But for most of us, there are those questionable items. 

Can I recycle Styrofoam peanuts? Can fish heads go in the green bin? 

November is recycling month, and we’re here to get the recycling facts “sorted out."

Albany’s residential and commercial recycling, garbage and composting collection service is provided of Alameda County.  

Alameda County has a website, stopwaste.org, which has a wealth of information on recycling, composting and waste disposal. 

Here is some basic information we gleaned and summarized:

DO RECYCLE: Newspapers; mixed paper; junk mail and catalogs; phone books; brown paper bags; egg cartons; cereal and shoe boxes; corrugated cardboard; steel and tin cans; aluminum cans; aluminum foil; empty aerosol cans; glass containers of any color; plastic containers (numbers 1- 7) including clamshells; scrap metal up to 10 pounds (must fit into cart with lid closed); bagged plastic bags and plastic film.

DON’T INCLUDE IN YOUR RECYCLING BIN: Styrofoam containers; Styrofoam “peanuts”; window panes; light bulbs.

DO PUT IN THE GREEN BIN: Vegetables; fruits; grains; meat; fish; dairy. Also, food contaminated paper, including: pizza boxes; paper plates and cups; paper towels and napkins; milk and juice cartons.

DON’T PUT OUT FOR COLLECTION: hazardous waste (this includes florescent light bulbs, household batteries, paint, cleaners, car products, pesticides, etc.).  You can take batteries to the Albany Community Center.  

Most household hazardous waste should be taken to the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste facility in Oakland. Electronics can be taken to the Alameda County Computer Resource Center. They’ll recycle just about anything that you can plug into a power outlet.


Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. See if you can go trash-free for a day!

The next time you see that empty can on the ground, remember that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.[1] Recycling is good for the economy and the environment. I bet you already knew that!

Coming in November: The Albany City Council has approved a . The agreement includes a number of new services and opportunities to increase the city’s waste diversion rate.

We’ll keep Albany Patch readers apprised of the new service opportunities!


[1] http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-recycling

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ross Stapleton-Gray November 05, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Yesterday I was walking down Curtis, when I saw a guy pushing a shopping cart and stopping to raid gray cans (that stretch of Curtis gets pickup on Mondays), i.e., going back on driveways to check cans for bottles, cans, etc. I debated calling APD to report him, when I noticed a homeowner a few houses up standing on the sidewalk with her cellphone... as I passed, I could hear her giving a description of the guy, so I figured it was unnecessary to do it myself.
Jim Beller November 05, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Thanks for the info on the cooking oil recycling program. The closest dropoff, 6.5 miles, is at the wastewater treatment plant by the end of the Bay Bridge. There is also one in downtown Oakland. Cooking oil causes problems in the waste-stream, it seems they could put a higher priority on getting it recycled.
Ari Soglin November 09, 2011 at 08:33 AM
How about aseptic packaging? Still not recyclable?
Bryce Nesbitt February 18, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Apparently aseptic packages are part of Albany's contract with waste management... but this is not reflected in the printed guide. These paper/plastic/foil contraptions thus belong with waste paper but not with green waste.
Ari Soglin February 19, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Bryce, good catch. The contract dated Nov. 1, 2011, (see link to PDF below) lists aseptic beverage boxes as a recyclable material under Section 1.33. However, Waste Management's service guide linked from Albany's web site says drink boxes go in the trash. It's not clear what we're supposed to do. Contract: www.albanyca.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=16967 Recycling guide: http://www.albanyca.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17482


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