Multi-Family Property Owners & Managers


Mandatory recycling in Alameda County has been in effect since July 1, 2012 for multi-family properties with 5 or more units as well as businesses and institutions with 4 or more cubic yards of garbage service.  Phase 2 of the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance begins July 1, 2014, which adds food scraps and food-soiled paper to the “Covered Materials” list and requires all businesses to participate. The Plant Debris Landfill Ban has been in effect since 2009.

For the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance, the scope of participation and implementation timing differs among the jurisdictions. A summary of compliance requirements is listed below, however not all requirements are effective in each jurisdiction. For more details about the compliance requirements in the various Alameda County jurisdictions, please visit Rules by City.


Compliance Requirements Overview

The following requirements apply to multi-family residential buildings in Alameda County with 5 or more units located in jurisdictions that have fully opted-in to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 requirements.  Requirements denoted with an asterisk (*) are not required in each participating jurisdiction.

The ordinance requires that building owners must:

  1. Provide containers and service of sufficient number, size and frequency for recyclable materials at the same or at an equally convenient location as garbage.
  2. Provide containers and service of sufficient number, size and frequency for organics (food scraps and compostable paper) at the same or at an equally convenient location as garbage.*
  3. Provide information at least annually to employees, tenants, and contractors describing how to properly use the recycling, garbage, and organics* containers, as well as no later than 14 days after move-in and no less than 14 days prior to move-out.

Recommended: Property owners and managers are also recommended to post prominent signs on or near the recycling and garbage containers clearly indicating which are for garbage and which are for recycling. Signs are available for download here.

Additionally, ACWMA Ordinance 2008-01 requires multi-family properties in Alameda County generating 4 or more cubic yards of garbage per week to separate all plant debris from garbage and recyclable materials. Those with on-site service must place plant debris in a designated organics collection bin. Multi-family property owners or managers can arrange for the removal of plant debris by their landscaper. The landscaper must haul to an approved facility and must deposit plant debris in the facility’s designated “clean green” area.  Four or more cubic yards of garbage per week correlates roughly to 16 or more housing units. To confirm whether your multi-family property is affected, review your solid waste bill to determine if the volume adds up to 4 or more cubic yards of collection per week or contact your waste hauler.

Who’s Responsible

Property owners and managers of multi-family buildings are only responsible for complying with the requirements listed above, and are not responsible for the recycling behaviors of tenants. If the property owner enters into a written agreement with another party that contracts or arranges for solid waste service (e.g., property manager), that party is also responsible for compliance.

Resources and Help Are Available

  • Information and assistance with recycling and garbage service: Contact the City or local service provider for assistance.
  • Visit the Multi-Family Support Materials page for resources to support your recycling and composting program, such as posters, decals, sample employee or tenant notification letters.
  • For questions or help complying with the ordinance, please contact us or call the Ordinance Help Line at (510) 891-6575.