Residential Recycling in Densely-Populated Areas

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The Solid Waste Ordinance was updated as of June 4, 2021 in unincorporated San Diego County. The Solid Waste Ordinance incorporates state laws regarding recycling and organics recycling (SB 1383).

Recycling requirements differ for the densely- and sparsely- populated areas of the unincorporated county. Based on census tract data, densely-populated areas include larger communities such as Spring Valley, Lakeside, Ramona, Fallbrook, etc., while sparsely-populated areas include smaller communities such as Campo, Boulevard, Warner Springs, Ranchita, etc. Click here to determine which area your residence is located.

This page will detail how residences (single family homes and multi-family complexes with 4 or fewer units) in the densely-populated areas can remain compliant with local and State laws.

If your residence is in the sparsely-populated area please visit this page. 

Single-family residences and multi-family complexes with 4 or fewer units in the densely-populated areas must separate and store designated recyclable materials and designated organic materials separately from solid waste and arrange for recycling of the following materials-

Designated Recyclable Materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Glass Bottles & Jars
  • Cardboard & Paper Products
  • Rigid Plastics (#1-#7)
  • Tin & Bi-Metal Cans
  • Large Appliances

Organic Materials:

  • Yard Trimmings
  • Nonhazardous Wood Waste
  • Food Scraps and Food Soiled Paper*

*when service is available in your area

Residents must:

  • Keep recyclables separate from trash.
  • Arrange for proper collection, storage, and transport of discarded materials.

How do I Comply?

Residents may demonstrate compliance by:

  • Subscribing to a 3-stream collection service with a non-exclusive franchise hauler, or contract with a Certified Recyclable Materials Collector for certain materials. 
  • Self-hauling materials. Registration with the County is required. Contact for information.

Waiver from Service Requirements

Single family residences in the densely-populated areas, including multi-family premises with 4 or less units, who manage all organic materials on-site may apply for a waiver from organic recycling service requirements. Learn more here. 

Curbside Collection Services

Private recycling and franchised waste companies provide curbside recycling and trash collection services throughout the unincorporated area.

Recycling Programs


Have a recycling question? Email or call: