Close Panel
Click for weather info61°F

RecyclingCity Trash & Recycling

Recycling Services

In Santa Barbara, the blue bin is for recycling.

Download our Recycling Poster (PDF)

  • NEW: We accept cartons (like milk and orange juice) in your residential blue cart. Read more here.
  • All recyclables can be mixed together in the container.
  • Please flatten cardboard boxes.
  • Empty your recylables of their contents.
  • Emptying and rinsing containers is required because it keeps your recycling bin clean and makes the containers easier to recycle. Learn more: "How Clean Do My Recyclables Need to Be?"
  • It is not necessary to remove labels, rings, staples, paperclips or other items.
  • We DO NOT accept plastic bags in the blue bin and prefer you return them to a drop-off location or don't take them at all. Learn more about plastic bag recycling.

What Happens to My Recycling?

Join Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton in this video field trip all about the life cycle of recycling. Six minutes that explain what happens to our blue bin materials, including footage filmed at EJ Harrison in Ventura, where we send our cart & can recyclables. Reading Rainbow- How Trash Is Recycled with LeVar Burton



  • All Metal
    No liquids or food
    • Aluminum cans
    • Aluminum foil and trays
    • Caps and lids from bottles, jars and steel (tin) cans
    • Paint cans (must be empty or dry)
    • Spray cans (must be empty)
    • Steel (tin) cans, scrap metal, metal parts
  • All Plastic
    No Styrofoam, plastic wrap,  or plastic labeled "compostable" or "biodegradable"
    • Bottles
    • Bottle caps
    • Buckets (metal handle ok)
    • Laundry detergent bottles                     
    • Plastic Flower Pots and Trays
    • Plastic cups and food containers (must be entirely clean and dry)
    • Plastic Toys (without cords or batteries)     
    • Large plastic tubs 
    • Wine corks - plastic but no true cork
  • All Paper
    Must be clean, dry, and unsoiled
    • Paper Bags
    • Cardboard (non-waxed)
    • Cartons (dairy, juice, etc.)
    • Cereal boxes and Paperboard(remove plastic liner)
    • Computer and office paper
    • Egg cartons
    • Envelopes (windows okay)
    • Junk mail and magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Packing or Kraft paper
    • Phonebooks
    • Shredded paper, but not crosscut  
    • Juice or soy milk type boxes with foil liner
    • "Tetrapak" lined aseptic cartons - these are shelf-stable products like soy milk and soup.
    • Waxy paper milk or juice cartons
  • All Glass Containers
    No liquids or food
    • Glass bottles and jars only (metal caps and lids too)
    • No windows or broken drinking glasses
  • Non-Treated Wood / Pallets
    • Wood pallets (dumpsters only)


  • Batteries are taken in plastic bags placed on top or orange buckets for large buildings
  • Ceramic dishware or glassware
  • Clothing, linens and rags
  • Electronics
  • CD's, DVD's, CDROM & Cases (remove paper insert ) 
  • Foil-backed or plastic-backed paper
  • Food (residents can do backyard composting and businesses can sign up for our Foodscraps Program)
  • Glass mirrors and windows
  • Large items (furniture, appliances, etc)
  • Light bulbs: Incandescent, Fluorescents, CFLs, LEDs and HIDs
    Incandescent light bulbs can go in the brown bin to the landfill. Fluorescents, CFLs, LEDs, and HID bulbs contain mercury and must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Plastic bags or film plastic: saran wrap, pallet wrap, peel-away seals on food containers, food bags and wrappers, or any other type of flexible plastic wrapping.
  • Plastic labeled "Compostable" or "Biodegradable"
    If the plastic says 'compostable' on it and you are a participant of the foodscraps program please put this material in the yellow bin. 'Biodegradable' is not a certified standard for any method of disposal. Please reuse these materials or put them in the landfill.
  • Soiled paper (paper cups, plates, napkins, tissues, towels, take-out boxes and greasy pizza boxes)
    If you are part of the foodscraps program please put these materials in the yellow bin.
  • Styrofoam
    We are currently unable to recycle styrofoam. You might see a recycling symbol on it, but it is not marketable.
  • Waxed cardboard and paper
    If you are part of the foodscraps program please put these materials in the yellow bin.
  • Window glass
  • Yogurt Containers 


CRV Redemption

CRV is a State program that places a 5 or 10 cent redemption value on bottles and cans. Their website is

There are two official CRV redemption centers in the city of Santa Barbara:

Downtown Recycling "ABOP" Center— 132 Nopalitos Way

Santa Barbara Iron and Metal Recyclers— 709 East Gutierrez Street

For large quantities, these centers pay by weight, but a consumer has the right to be paid based on count instead of weight for up to 50 empty beverage containers of each material type.  This means you can bring up to 50 aluminum, 50 glass, 50 plastic, and 50 bi-metal California Redemption Value (CRV) containers in a single visit and request to be paid by count.

Last Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Top of Page