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Frequently Asked Questions For Residents
Table of Contents
New Services, Requirements and Rates
- Why are rates going up?
- What are my new services?
- Who are my collection service providers? Are they changing??
- My bill increase is more than I was expecting. How can I bring my monthly rates down?
- I’m a resident who produces very little trash. What is the minimum service level to which I can subscribe?
- I have been reducing my waste for years and already cut back to a 20-gallon trash container. I don’t produce much recycling or compost either. Why did I get the largest rate increase, when people who have bigger trash containers, like 96 gallons, got the smallest rate increase?
- I am a low-income senior, and recently I received notice that discounts for my services are going away. Is that true? Is there anything I can do to keep my rates lower?
- What services am I required to have?
- Where can I read the new garbage and recycling contracts?
Service Issues / Information Requests
- The new stickers on my cart were applied crooked and are already peeling off. How can I get a better sticker, and what is the City doing about this?
- I live in a condo or apartment building. How and when will I received access to compost service?
- How do I access the new bulky pickup services?
- How can I learn what kinds of material are compostable or recyclable?
- What happens if I put materials in the wrong cart?
- Can a resident or property owner appeal a contamination charge?
- I’m a property manager or owner of a rental residential building with tenants. Can I pass through to my tenants any of the increases to my trash, compost and recycling rates under Oakland’s new Zero Waste services?
- The new trucks are taller and bigger. They are hitting overhead trees and having a hard time making tight turns on narrow streets. Can this be fixed?
General Program Information
- May I leave my trash, compost and recycling containers out on the curb?
- When do I need to put my containers out at the curb?
- What if I am physically unable to bring my containers to the curb?
- I just moved to Oakland. How do I start trash, compost and recycling services?
- What should I do if I see someone other than the recycling company taking recyclables from my recycling container?
- What is my collection schedule during holidays?
- The wheel fell off my cart. What do I do?
- What do I do with syringes and hypodermic needles?
Visit the new OaklandRecycles.com to: pay your bill, request new service or make changes to existing service, find out what goes where, learn about upcoming events, or contact Customer Service.
For Multifamily Property Managers:
Frequently Asked Questions for Multifamily Property Managers | Multifamily Property Manager Assistance | Multifamily Property Manager Toolkit
New Services Overview for Businesses | Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses | Getting Started for Businesses | Business Trash and Compost Rates | Business Recycling Service Provider Directory
Frequently Asked Questions for Residents
What is Oakland’s Zero Waste program?
The program includes curbside trash, recycling and compost services for households and businesses in Oakland. In 2006 the Oakland City Council adopted a Zero Waste Goal and a Strategic Plan, providing a framework of policies and initiatives that guide the planning and decision-making process to achieve our goals of diverting all recyclable and compostable material away from Oakland’s landfills and into reusable streams.
Those plans and policies took a big step forward in 2014 when the City Council voted to approve new services from California Waste Solutions (CWS) and Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc., effective July 1, 2015. Under these new services, CWS will provide residential recycling services citywide, and Waste Management will provide trash and composting services (including food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant debris) for all Oakland homes and businesses.
New Services, Requirements and Rates
Why are rates going up?
Annual garbage rate increases over the past two decades have been very modest in Oakland, and in recent year have not kept pace with the cost of providing trash, compost and recycling services. As the old solid waste and recycling contracts were nearing their end, the City of Oakland held an open process in which companies had to make competitive rate proposals for the new services. The City expected that the service rates to jump significantly, based on the limited increases historically, and because neighboring cities had already experienced significant rate increases in the past few years. The City negotiated hard on behalf of ratepayers to secure the smallest possible rate increases and the best possible services.
For single-family rates, click here. For condo and apartment building rates, click here. For a table of sample service options for condo and apartment buildings, sorted by number of units per building, click here.
- Waste Management and California Waste Solutions are now running brand new natural gas collection vehicles in every neighborhood, reducing emissions and noise throughout Oakland. This is an important new benefit to community health and quality of life.
- Compost collection (food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant debris) is now available to all residents, including those who live in condos and apartment buildings.
- Annual curbside bulky pickup service is available to all residents.
- Free bulky drop-off events four times a year allow all Oakland residents to dispose of additional large items at Waste Management’s Davis Street facility in San Leandro. These events will be held the first Saturday of the month every February, May, August and November, beginning Aug. 1, 2015.
- Free compost giveaway events twice a year will provide residents a water-retaining soil amendment that is produced from Oakland’s discarded food scraps and yard trimmings.
- Residents of single-family homes can now choose from a wider range of cart sizes for trash, compost and recycling, including 20-gallon options for all three services.
- California Waste Solutions is the exclusive provider of residential recycling service citywide, including household battery recycling collection.
- California Waste Solutions and Waste Management are opening local customer service centers located right here in Oakland.
- The new OaklandRecycles.com site will allow you to pay bills and request service changes from one convenient website.
Who are my collection service providers? Are they changing?
Waste Management remains the exclusive provider of trash and compost collection services for Oakland residents. California Waste Solutions is now the exclusive provider of residential recycling collection service citywide, expanding their service area to include East Oakland.
My bill increase is more than I was expecting. How can I bring my monthly rates down?
Waste Management’s customer service representatives have been trained to help you identify ways to right-size your service levels to control the cost of your bill. Please contact Waste Management customer service at 510-613-8710 or contact the City’s Recycling Program at 510-238-SAVE (7283) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a resident who produces very little trash. What is the minimum service level to which I can subscribe?
The minimum service level for residents is 20-gallons of trash service per unit. The bill you pay includes service compost and recycling service. You may adjust your service levels by calling Waste Management at 510-613-8710 for trash and compost service, and CWS at 510-OAKLAND (625-5263) for recycling service.
I have been reducing my waste for years already cut back to a 20-gallon trash container. I don’t produce much recycling or compost either. Why did I get the largest rate increase, when people who have bigger trash containers, like 96 gallons, got the smallest rate increase?
Rates for 20-gallon trash carts were set artificially low when they were introduced 20 years ago to incentivize residents to take up the practice of recycling. The current rates more accurately reflect the actual cost of providing service.
I am a low-income senior, and recently I received notice that discounts for my services are going away. Is that true? Is there anything I can do to keep my rates lower?
A previous discount program for low-income seniors ended on June 30. However, the City Council recently set aside funding to restore that discount for one year. The City and Waste Management are working on the logistics of applying that restored discount retroactively to the bills low-income seniors received in July. Those customers should pay their July bills in full, and look for a refund credited to their October bills. The City and Waste Management are also in talks about how the discount can be maintained in future years.
What services am I required to have?
Single-family residents are required by the Oakland Municipal Code to subscribe to weekly trash collection service that is sufficient to prevent accumulation. The 20-gallon cart is the smallest container allowed for trash collection. Residents are not required to use the recycling and compost collection services, but the costs of those services are included on the trash bill regardless of whether the services are used. Recycling right, by using your compost and recycling services may allow you to reduce your trash cart size, saving you money while you’re helping protect our environment.
Condo and apartment buildings are required by the Oakland Municipal Code to subscribe to weekly trash collection service that is sufficient to prevent accumulation, and no less than 20 gallons of weekly trash service per dwelling unit.
Compost and recycling service is mandatory. Property managers may order additional compost and recycling containers to serve your needs at no additional charge. For more information on rules and regulations for compost and recycling service in condo and apartment buildings, go to www.recyclingrulesac.org.
Trash and Compost – to obtain additional compost containers or adjust trash service levels call Waste Management at 510-613-8710.
Recycling – to start recycling services or obtain additional containers, call California Waste Solutions at 510-OAKLAND (625-5263).
Where can I read the new garbage and recycling contracts?
The contracts, as well as the Request for Proposals and all staff reports, and Council actions taken during the Zero Waste procurement process are posted at www.zerowasteoakland.com.
Service Issues / Information Requests
The new stickers on my cart were applied crooked and are already peeling off. How can I get a better sticker, and what is the City doing about this?
If you are experiencing problems with the new “how to” recycle and compost cart stickers, please call the Recycling Hotline at 510-238-SAVE (7283) or email email@example.com to report the problem.
I live in a condo or apartment building. How and when will I received access to compost service?
Waste Management is delivering green carts to these buildings throughout Oakland in June. All carts should arrive before July 1. Service will not begin until July 1, so do not use your green carts until then. Check with your building manager, owner, or homeowners association if you are unable to locate the new green compost cart after July 1.
How do I access the new bulky pickup services?
Single-family residents can call Waste Management to schedule their annual bulky pickup. Non-owner residents of 2-4 unit buildings must schedule the bulky pickup with Waste Management through their property manager or owner.
Residents of condo or apartment buildings should contact their property manager. Property managers can schedule bulky pickup services in several ways, customizable to the needs of their building(s). More information for property managers is available at http://www.ebrha.com/zero-waste, including a free toolkit that outlines all the options (also available in PDF format here). Property managers may choose to let residents schedule their own bulky pickups, by providing a signed waiver to Waste Management. The waiver is included in the free toolkit.
All Oakland residents can take advantage of the free bulky drop-off events. The first will be held Aug. 1, 2015, from 10am to 2pm at Waste Management’s Davis Street Transfer Station at 2615 Davis St., San Leandro. Maximum materials allowed: two (2) pieces of furniture, two (2) large appliances, unlimited electronics, four (4) passenger auto tires, and four (4) mattresses. No other household trash accepted. Bring an ID or a utility bill to prove residency. Future events will be held the first Saturday of every February, May, August and November.
How can I learn what kinds of material are compostable or recyclable?
Single-family, condo and apartment residents have all been sent a service brochure with clear outlines of what materials go in which carts. Single-family residents should find the brochure attached to their trash carts. Condo and apartment residents have been sent brochures via direct mail. These brochures are available online in PDF format: the single-family residents brochure is here, and the condo and apartment residents brochure is here.
What happens if I put materials in the wrong cart?
Most importantly, you’re missing out on a chance to contribute to Oakland’s Zero Waste effort and to protect our environment. When you put items in the wrong carts, it contaminates that the compost and recycling, adds to the cost of providing the service and places workers at risk of injury.
You may be subject to contamination charges when California Waste Solutions or Waste Management repeatedly find the wrong materials in your recycle or compost containers. Look for and pay attention to non-collection or correction notices that California Waste Solutions or Waste Management leave on your containers, in order to correct the problem and avoid contamination charges.
*Action taken if 3rd incident is written within six months of the 1st incident
** Action taken if 4+ incident is within six months of the 3rd incident
Can a resident or property owner appeal a contamination charge?
There is no formal appeal process for contamination charges. However, the City may reverse the assessment of contamination charges if it is evident that the California Waste Solutions or Waste Management did not follow the requirements for customer notification and contamination charge assessment.
I’m a property manager or owner of a rental residential building with tenants. Can I pass through to my tenants any of the increases to my trash, compost and recycling rates under Oakland’s new Zero Waste services?
For questions regarding the process of passing through your utilities rate increase, contact the City of Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238-6246, or go online to http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/hcd/o/RentAdjustment/.
The new trucks are taller and bigger. They are hitting overhead trees and having a hard time making tight turns on narrow streets. Can this be fixed?
The new trash and recycling trucks are 8” taller. The new trucks are not longer or wider. Some of the difficulties observed in recent days may be due to new drivers becoming familiar with routes. The City is working with the service providers to identify where there are low hanging tree branches causing an unsafe condition to address.
General Program Information
May I leave my trash, compost or recycling containers out on the curb?
Oakland's Blight Ordinance requires that you remove your containers no later than noon the day after your collection and that you place them at the curb no sooner than noon the day before. To help reduce scavenging, please place containers out in the morning.
Large apartment buildings must place garbage cans, dumpsters and recycling carts at the curb no earlier than 5:00 p.m. on the day before collection, and containers must be removed by 9:00 p.m. on the day of collection.
What if I am physically unable to bring my containers to the curb?
If you're physically unable to take your garbage, yard trimmings, and recycling containers to the curb, you may be eligible for backyard service at no extra charge. Call Waste Management of Alameda County at (510) 613-8710. They will send you a simple application for this service.
I just moved to Oakland. How do I start trash, compost and recycling services?
Only property owners may establish residential trash, compost and recycling services in Oakland. If you own your home, contact Waste Management of Alameda County at 510-613-8710 to start weekly garbage and compost and recycling collection services. If you are renting, contact your landlord or property manager to start service. Note: your call to Waste Management will start all three services, but your recycling collection service will be provided by California Waste Solutions.
What should I do if I see someone other than the recycling company taking recyclables from my recycling container?
Get a description of the person and/or the make/model of the vehicle and call the police non-emergency number at (510) 777-3333.
What is my collection schedule during holidays?
There is no trash, compost, or recycling collection on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. During weeks when these holidays fall on a weekday, pickup is one day later for the rest of the week, including Saturday. For example, if your regular service day is Tuesday you will get service on Wednesday, or if your regular service day is Friday you will get service on Saturday.
Trash, compost, and recycling collection schedules are not affected by any other holidays.
The wheel fell off my cart. What do I do?
Call Waste Management of Alameda County at (510) 613-8710 for repair to your trash and compost carts. Call California Waste Solutions at (510) OAKLAND 625-5263 for repair to your recycling cart. They'll replace or repair broken carts at no charge.
What do I do with syringes and hypodermic needles?
They cannot be recycled or thrown in the garbage and must be disposed of properly. Please call Waste Management of Alameda County at 510-613-8710 for proper disposal instructions.
Last updated July 30, 2015
If your question is not answered here, or elsewhere on our website, please contact us at
(510) 238-7283 (SAVE) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oakland Public Works
Environmental Services Division, Recycling Program
250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Suite 5301
Oakland, CA 94612-2034
Phone: (510) 238-SAVE (238-7283)
Fax: (510) 238-7286
TDD: (510) 238-3254