Alameda residential service


Setout Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Click the question or statement to reveal helpful answers and suggestions.

Covid Information

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My collection container is damaged. Can I get a replacement?

Please contact us to arrange delivery of a new container.

I just moved to the area. How do I start my service?

Welcome to the City of Alameda!  A form is required in order to start/stop service.

How can I cancel service?

Service is mandatory in Alameda, but if you’re moving out, we are happy to close your account. Click here to download the necessary form.

How often do ACI’s rates change?

Rates are subject to change at any time but adjustments most often occur on July 1 of each year. The rate review process is outlined in our Franchise Agreement with the City of Alameda.

What can I do to make sure my carts are serviced each week? Is there a specific way I should set my carts out?

Our Residential Recycling Guide lists a number of setout tips.

  • Make sure you know your collection day. Log in to your account or contact us to find out when we service your area.
  • On your collection day, be sure your carts are at the curb by 5am.
  • Leave the carts at the curb until we’ve emptied them. Our trucks can arrive at different times each week.
  • Place your carts facing the street with wheels against the curb (if possible).
  • Leave 3 feet between each cart.
  • Do not place carts too close to parked cars, fire hydrants, low-hanging branches, and other obstacles.
  • Do not overload your carts. The lid should close completely.
  • Do not wedge or compact materials into your carts.
  • If you have extra waste, please contact us to arrange for additional service.

Will ACI push/pull my carts out for service?

Yes. ACI offers on-premise (backyard or sideyard) service for a fee. The fee can be waived for a resident with a documented disability (a form is required). Contact us for details.

How can I help keep shredded paper, packing peanuts and other items from littering the street after collection?

Here are some tips to keep those loose ends from escaping.

  • Put your papers inside a paper bag or box and seal with a staple or piece of tape before placing in your blue cart.
  • Bag all Styrofoam packing peanuts before putting in the garbage.
  • Place breakable items in the middle or bottom of the appropriate cart.

One or more of my carts did not get serviced?

Please leave cart/carts out at the curb. If your neighbors’ carts were all emptied or it’s after 6pm, then it’s likely we accidentally missed your cart. Contact us immediately and we will send a truck back around as soon as possible.

Can I exchange my recycling or organics cart for a different size?

Yes. Please contact us or login to your account to request an exchange. We offer 32, 64 and 96-gallon carts. Exchanges are done within a few weeks of request on your regular service day. Before requesting a smaller cart, be sure to give the larger one a try. Review the list of acceptable items in our Residential Recycling Guide and see if you can use the higher capacity. It is important to note that the large cart does not cost more than a smaller one.

Is there a charge to have a cart exchanged?

Every twelve months, we will do one exchange for no charge.

My 96-gallon recycling cart doesn’t fit in the space I have to store it. Will a smaller one?

The 64-gallon has a similar footprint to the 96-gallon cart. Consider getting a 32-gallon or creating a larger storage space.


What are the available garbage cart sizes?

Click here for garbage cart sizes/dimensions.

Proper Sorting Makes a Difference! Garbage belongs in the grey, recyclables in the blue, and, organics (yard trimmings, food scraps and food-soiled paper) in the green. Click here for our Residential Recycling Guide.

Click here for a searchable list of what belongs in each container.

I do my own gardening and could really use some good quality compost. Why should I give ACI all my organic waste?

You don’t have to give your organic waste away. In fact, many gardeners transform their kitchen scraps and lawn clippings into their own high quality compost. We invite you to do the same. Click here for information on how to start your own compost program.

I recently replaced my fridge (or my water heater, or my sofa, or my bed, or my …). What do I do with the old one?

You have several options. Assuming the unwanted item is still in reasonable shape, you can do the following:

  • List it for free on
  • Sell it on or a similar site.
  • Donate it to a local charity.

If you just need it taken away, schedule an On-Call Clean Up.

I have questions regarding my last invoice. Is there someone who can help me?

Absolutely. Please contact us at your convenience. We want you to understand how our invoicing works; and we want to correct any mistakes as quickly as possible.

What should I do with leftover paint, fertilizer, pool chemicals, and other toxic products?

Visit our Household Hazardous & E-Waste Program Info web page for info.

I’m doing some work on my house and have more garbage than usual. How do I get rid of it?

Look into scheduling an On-Call Clean Up or ordering a special bin or debris box. Whether you’re cleaning out your garage, re-landscaping your yard, remodeling your kitchen, or deep cleaning, we have just the right size bin to suit your needs. Contact us or check out the service menu for complete information.

I’m sick of all this junk mail! Is there a way to make it stop?

Visit To cut back on unsolicited catalogs, visit

I’m about to move/just finished moving. Where can I get/ get rid of boxes?

Post reusable boxes on or contact your local Uhaul to see if they will take them.

I cleaned out my closet and found lots of good stuff I no longer wear. What should I do with it?

Passing your things back into circulation helps other people AND keeps your landfill from overflowing. You can contact:
A local consignment store

I’m moving and have an entire pantry full of food I can’t use. I’d hate for it to go to waste- any suggestions?

Good for you. There’s too much need to throw away food. Visit the Alameda County Food Bank to pass on your bounty.

I’m looking for basic waste reduction and recycling information. Any good sites to visit?

Sure! Try these:

What should I do with my growing pile of empty bottles that have California Redemption Value (CRV)?

They can be placed in your blue recycling cart (along with other bottles, cans, jars, paper products and miscellaneous recyclables) for convenient curbside collection; ACI will make sure they’re recycled. Or, you can take them to a buy-back center where your deposit will be returned to you. For a list of locations and more information contact the California State Department of Conservation, call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit

I’m interested in teaching my child more about the environment. Any suggestions?

I’d like to reward companies that go out of their way to do the right thing. Is there a way to find local green businesses?

Yes! Visit

How can I safely dispose of fireplace and BBQ ash?

Make sure to place fireplace, stove and barbecue ashes in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Put the container outside and 10 feet or more away from your home and combustibles. Wet the ashes down. Once cold, ashes must be contained (so they do not blow away during collection) and then placed in your gray Garbage cart. For more information and additional fire safety tips, visit these websites:,, and

Still need help? Contact us for assistance or visit our Publications & Resources page.