Frequently Asked Questions


  • 1. What does “clean" mean?
    • Answer:  “Clean metal, glass, or plastics" are empty and free of liquids or food residue.  “Clean paper" is free of food or grease. 
    • Reason:  Paper items such as pizza boxes and food to-go containers are recyclable when they are new or unused, but once they have leftover food, grease, oil, or liquids on them, they are contaminated and become garbage.  
    • What should I do?  Make sure metal, glass, or plastics are empty, clean, and dry before being placed in the recycling cart.  Contaminated items should be placed in the garbage cart.
  • 2. Should I put my recyclables into the recycling cart loose or should I put them in a plastic bag first? ​
    • Answer:  Loose! 
    • Reason:  Bagged items go to the landfill.   
    • What should I do?  Place recyclables loose in the recycling cart.   
  • 3. Should I place my leaves or grass clippings into the green waste cart loose or should I put them in a plastic bag first?   
    • Answer:  Loose!   
    • Reason:  Bagged items go to the landfill.  
    • What should I do?  Place green waste loose in the green waste cart. 
  • 4. Can I recycle garden hoses?
    • Answer:  No. 
    • Reason:  “Tanglers" such as hoses, ropes, cords, wires, and chains can get tangled in machinery and force a shutdown, requiring workers to climb into dangerous equipment to remove the material.  
    • What should I do?  Garden hoses should be placed in the garbage cart. 
  • 5. Can fruit from my tree or pumpkins be placed in my green waste cart? 
    • Answer:  No. The only items to be placed in your green waste cart are leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and pruning's less than 4" in diameter and cut to fit inside the container. 
    • Reason:  In our current program, these items are considered contaminants in the green waste carts since the receiving facilities are not contracted, permitted, or equipped to receive and handle this material​.
    • What should I do? All food waste should be placed in your garbage cart. 
  • ​6. How do I dispose of my household batteries, auto batteries, propane tanks, needles, or household hazardous waste (HHW)? ​
    • Answer:  Sacramento County residents can take these items for no fee to the County's North Area Recovery Station HHW Facility.  Other options include the City of Elk Grove's Special Waste Collection Center and the Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station HHW Facility. 
    • Reason:  These material require special handling to protect human health and the environment.
    • What should I do?  Residents and businesses can visit our hazardous waste website pages for more information including hours and locations.