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Recycling & Environmental Resource Center


Daylight Savings, Drop-off Hours
February 2 through October 31

Monday - Friday: 8:00am to 5:45pm
Saturday - Sunday: 9:00am to 4:45pm

Winter, Drop-off Hours

November 1 through February 1
Monday - Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: 9:00am to 4:45pm

Operations + Environmental Services
Administrative Business Office Hours
Daily: 9:00am to 5:00pm,  510-215-4350.

The Recycling Center and Offices are closed on the following holidays:
New Year's Day, Dr. MLK Jr. Birthday, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day (and the day after), Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, and starting at Noon on New Year's Eve Day. 

With the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, if one of the above holidays falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Center will be closed on the following Monday (in most cases, pls. check).

For a list of items NOT ACCEPTED at the Center, scroll to the bottom of this page.
The Recycling Center does not buy back any materials from the public.  For the location of California Refund Value (CRV) Centers, visit the CalRecycle website.

Materials ACCEPTED at the Drop-off Recycling Center

  • Cardboard: boxes must be broken down and flattened
  • Glass Containers: bottles and jars rinsed clean and sorted by color 
  • Hard Plastics: clean plastics containers, furniture, pipe, toys, etc.
  • Mixed Paper: white paper, colored paper, newspaper, shredded paper, file folders, junk mail, envelopes, etc.
  • Plastic Beverage Containers: clean plastics, all #s
  • Plastic Chemical Bottles:  plastics that contained chemicals, oils. (must be triple rinse)
  • Plastic Film: tightly bagged and tied off at the top; clean grocery bags, bread bags, cling wrap, etc.
  • Scrap Metals: Aluminum, Steel, Tin; large appliances: washers, dryers, and hot water heaters.  (no refrigerators or air conditioners)

Electronic Waste: [no fee]
  • Cameras and video equipment
  • Cell Phones
  • Computers, Computer Monitors, Televisions, Laptops, hardware, etc.
  • Electric shavers and toothbrushes
  • Appliances: Microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens
  • Hair dryers, curlers, and straighteners
  • Ink cartridges, toners
  • Phones and answering machines
  • Printers, Copy Machines, Scanners, and Fax Machines
  • Radios, stereo equipments
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Video games and consoles
  • Wiring and cables

The Exchange Zone  

The Recycling Center's Exchange Zone area promotes the exchange of re-useable items.  See list below for acceptable donation items.  Please ask for assistance in the Administrative Office Building or call us with questions regarding donations.  We can not accept any type of hazardous waste in the Exchange Zone area, including cleaners, paint, chemicals, cleaners, etc.
  • Art and office supplies
  • Corks:  barrel for corks
  • Garden pots - re-useable plastic and ceramic pots, planters.  Bin located by compost
  • Hangers: bin for metal, plastic, or wooden clothes hangers
  • Houseware: plates, cups, utensils, small appliances.
  • Media: Bins for Books, Magazines, CDs (we are temporarily not accepting VHS tape and cassette tapes as they damage processing equipment.)
  • Office Supplies: notebooks, paper, clips, pens, binders in good condition, etc.
  • Reading glasses: Lion’s Club donation drop-off box or office
  • Sporting goods: no large equipment
  • Small household items: lamps, small bookcases, trays. (no large furniture)
  • Tools and hardware
  • Toys and games

No Dumping of unaccepted items, including household hazardous waste, large bulky or broken items, carpet, food, mattresses, medicine, VHS / cassette tapes.

  • Hard to recycle items:
  • Aseptic cartons, tetra packs: (aluminum-lined soy-milk containers) rinsed    
  • Automobile Batteries: lead-acid cell
    Batteries: Alkaline, NiCad, lithium, and auto batteries
  • Bicycles:  Bicycle and bicycle parts - bin for donations / exchange. No Salvage Permit necessary
  • Carpet: Wall to wall carpet only - no area rugs or pads [fees apply, .10 sq ft]
  • Exercise equipment: scrap metal
  • Fluorescent tubes and CFLs:  residents of El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, and Hercules get free drop-off; businesses and residents of other cities charged a fee.
  • Food Donation: Non-perishable food donation for the Contra Costa Food Bank
  • Home healthcare equipment: scrap metal bins. 
  • Medicinal sharps: (in approved containers) locked container; please come into office for assistance
  • Pharmaceuticals:  Locked bin for medicine disposal: pills, liquids, inhalers, pet medicines bagged separately by type of medicine. Pills/Capsules: remove from containers and empty into zip lock plastic bag; Liquid medicine: secure contain in zip lock bag.  No controlled substances.
  • Packaging materials: useable bubble wrap and bagged peanuts only.
  • Plate glass: Remove frames (no mirrors)
  • Reusable household materials: cabinets, fixtures, tiles, hardware. Urban Ore trailer
  • "Styrofoam": clean white block Styrofoam ONLY, no cups or food containers. [no fees]
  • Textiles: Clothing, rags, and shoes. Goodwill trailer
  • Used cooking oil: no solid grease
  • Used motor oil and filters: 5-gallon container maximum

Items NOT ACCEPTED at the City's Recycling Center
  • Air Conditioners
  • Bricks, pavers, broken concrete, ceramics
  • Fiberglass
  • Foam Rubber
  • Food Soiled Paper, Plastic, and Cardboard
  • Garbage, Construction Debris
  • Green Waste: Wood, Grass, Yard Waste, Dirt, Food Scraps
  • Mattresses and Boxsprings
  • Mirror
  • Pressurized Tanks: Propane, Acetylene, Helium, Nitrous Oxide, or Aerosols
  • Paint of any type
  • Pyrex
  • Refrigerators, water coolers
  • Waxed Paper, Waxed Cardboard
  • Wood: lumber, broken furniture
  • Tires, auto or bikes
  • Toilets - Urban Ore store will accept toilets [fee applies]
  • VHS and audio cassette tapes (We are temporarily not accepting VHS tape and cassette tapes as they damage processing equipment. Please check back.)

For information on where to recycle or dispose of materials not accepted at the Recycling Center, call the office or visit Contra Costa County's website for recycle options.

Compost | Tours | Seed Library
    The Center sells recycled compost produced locally from waste materials. Compost is sold for $1.50 per cubic foot (~7 gallons), prices include sales tax.  The Center periodically gives away compost to El Cerrito residents for free.

    The Center offers free tours to the public on the first Wednesday of every month at 3:00pm, no reservation is necessary.  Tours lasts approximately one hour and space is limited.  Private tours are available for groups. Call the office 510-215-4350 or email for more information.  [fee applies]

    Seed Library
    The "Seeds of El Cerrito" library has two locations - the lobby area of the Recycling Center's Administrative Office building, located at 7501 Schmidt and the El Cerrito Public Library, located at 6510 Stockton Avenue.  The seeds are available for everyone - there is no membership and you do not have to return seeds. 

    The El Cerrito Community Garden Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a network of Community Gardens in El Cerrito.  For more information:

The Recycling Center's Rules and Regulations
  • Parking in the facility is limited to 30 minutes
  • 2-hour limit visit per day
  • No dumping:  do not drop off items that the City does not accept
  • Do not take any items without City permission - ask about Salvage Permits
  • Do not get in or move any bins or equipment
  • Supervise your children and leave pets at home
  • Place accepted items in designated areas only
  • Notify staff of issues and call 911 in an emergency


Recycling+ Environmental Resource Center
ph: 510-215-4350

7501 Schmidt Ln.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
City News
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You now have the opportunity to purchase greener, competitively-priced electricity from MCE. Call MCE at 1 (888) 632-3674 or click the link below for more details.
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