Department of Public Utilities

Trash Disposal & Recycling

What goes where? Green. Gray. Blue.

Statement on SB 1383

In 2016, former governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 in an effort to reduce methane emissions in the State of California.  Landfills are the third largest source of methane in California while organic waste such as food scraps, yard clippings, and paper products make up about half of all the material in our landfills.  This organic waste generates methane as it decomposes.  SB 1383 will require residents to discard their food scraps in their green cart along with yard clippings.  Redirecting organic waste to recycling facilities will help reduce the amount of material in our landfills and repurpose organic waste into useful items such as compost, biofuels, and electricity.  The goal of SB 1383 is to reduce organic waste disposal statewide by 75% by the year 2025.

The City of Fresno’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is committed to complying with SB 1383, which went into effect on January 1, 2022.  DPU is currently working on a strategy to implement SB 1383 and outreach to our customers.  At this time, customers should continue to discard their food scraps in the gray cart until such time that the City and local haulers have established a protocol to accept organic food waste.

Fresno is a national leader in recycling, but our goal is to be number one! We can achieve this goal by following the rules of the green, gray, and blue residential carts.

Quick Reference Table – What Goes Where?


The following items can be placed in the green cart:

Photo of grass, branches, untreated lumber and leaves.


  • Fruit and veggies (from your garden)
  • Garden plants
  • Grass
  • Leaves
  • Live holiday wreaths*
  • Live Christmas trees*
  • Palm Fronds
  • Trees/branches*
  • Wood (untreated)

*Cut in 3-foot lengths

(Please make sure wood and prunings are less than 4 inches in diameter, cut to 3-foot lengths and the lid on the cart can close)


These items DO NOT go in the green cart:

  • Animal waste
  • Plastic bags
  • Treated wood
  • Dirt
  • Rocks

For disposal options or recycling resources, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111.

Backyard Composting
Backyard composting is nature’s way of recycling. Composting is fun, easy, and educational. Decomposed organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, twigs, fruit, and vegetables make a great soil conditioner. Compost made from leaves and yard trimmings is great for your landscaping.

To learn more about composting, visit California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecyle) or the Master Gardener’s of Fresno County website.

Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving the clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients back into your lawn. It’s simple, and it works! Grass clippings make up a big part of California’s waste during the growing season. To keep these out of the waste stream, try grasscycling!

Grasscycling provides free fertilizer and helps make lawns greener and healthier. It reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements which can reduce the toxic runoff that enters storm drains and pollutes creeks and rivers. Grasscycling reduces mowing time, too, since it eliminates the need to bag and dispose of clippings.

Finally, grasscycling reduces the amount of yard waste disposed of in landfills. Lawns can generate 300 pounds of grass clippings per 1,000 square feet annually.

For more information on Grasscycling, visit the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecyle) website.


The following items can be placed in the gray cart:

Food, Diapers, Styrofoam, Rubber Hoses, Animal Waste (Bagged), Cold Fireplace Ashes and BBQ Coals


  • Animal waste (bagged)
  • Broken glass
  • Carpet*
  • CDs/DVDs*
  • Clothing*
  • Cold coals/ashes
  • Diapers
  • Food waste
  • Plastic bags
  • Rubber/vinyl hoses
  • Small appliances*
  • Soiled napkins/tissues
  • Soiled paper plates
  • Styrofoam
  • Toys*
  • Treated wood

*Consider donating these items, or call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111 for recycling options


These items DO NOT go in the gray cart:

  • Auto and household batteries*
  • Electronics*
  • Concrete
  • Dirt
  • Hot BBQ coals
  • Hot fireplace ashes
  • Tires*
  • Toxic materials*
  • Rocks
  • Used motor oil/filters*

*For disposal options or recycling resources, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111.


The following items can be placed in the blue cart:

Paper, Plastic, Metal, Glass



  • Books
  • Cardboard
  • Cardboard boxes (please break down boxes before placing them in the cart)
  • Cartons
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Spiral Notebooks


  • Beverage containers
  • Detergent bottles
  • Food containers
  • Shampoo bottles


  • Aerosol cans (empty)
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Bi-metal cans
  • Paint cans (empty/dry)


  • Glass bottles (empty)
  • Jars (empty)


These items DO NOT go in the blue cart:

  • Auto and household batteries
  • Clothing
  • Diapers
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic packaging
  • Rubber/vinyl hoses
  • Single-use plastics
  • Soiled paper products
  • Styrofoam
  • Tires


Reduce – Reduce the number of products you buy. Buy wisely and buy less.

Reuse – Reuse whatever you can and donate good used items to a church or charity. Give your recyclable items a second chance.

Recycle – Recycle everything you can. Buy products that are recycled or that can be recycled.

Some items that are labeled as recyclable cannot be placed in the City of Fresno blue recycling carts. For a list of these items and places they can be taken, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111 or download the Fresno County Directory of Recycling from the Fresno County Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal website.

For disposal options or recycling resources, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111.

Prohibited Items

The Following Items are NOT Allowed to be Disposed of in ANY Cart!

  • Batteries (household & car)
  • Chemicals
  • Dead Animals
  • Electronics/E-Waste
  • Light bulbs & CFLs
  • Medical Waste (sharps/pharmaceuticals)
  • Motor Oil
  • Pesticides
  • Tires

If you have additional questions or if you are looking for more information, contact Fresno’s Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111.


The Contamination Problem
Items such as diapers, clothing, or food waste are considered contamination when placed in the blue recycling cart. Fresno spends about $500,000 a year to remove contamination found in recycling carts.

Contamination is also a problem in green waste carts. For example, when people put leaves and grass in plastic bags prior to disposal, these bags must be removed by hand before the material can be processed. Plastic and trash of any kind contaminate the green waste cart.

Blue Cart Contamination Examples:
Blue Contamination
  • Carpet*
  • Clothing*
  • Food
  • Rubber Hose
  • Styrofoam
  • Used Paper Products
  • Wood

*For disposal or recycling options, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111

Green Cart Contamination Examples:
Green Contamination
  • Animal waste
  • Dirt
  • Fabric
  • Plastic Bags
  • Rocks
  • Styrofoam
  • Trash and Recyclables
  • Treated Wood

Violations & Fines
If contamination is found in your recycling or green waste cart, a notice or fine may be assessed. All fines assessed will appear on your next utility bill.

Instance Fine
1st Notice of Violation
2nd Notice of Violation
3rd $50
4th $100
5th $200
All violations thereafter $200, up to $1,500 (per fiscal year)

These fines will show up on your City Utility Bill.

Operation Clean Up, Special Hauls & More

Customers are encouraged to donate clothes and other reusable household items to local charities. There are several disposal options available for larger items that cannot be donated and need to be disposed of. Call the Recycling Hotline for resources at (559) 621-1111.

Operation Clean Up

If you have trash that is too bulky or heavy for regular curbside pickup, you can save it for our annual Operation Clean Up. You will receive a colorful notification flyer with instructions and various DO’s and DON’Ts approximately one to two weeks before the pickup date or call the City of Fresno’s 311 Center by dialing 3-1-1 within City limits or by calling (559) 621-CITY (2489).

Visit the Operation Cleanup Page or call Solid Waste at (559) 621-1452 for more information.

Special Haul

Special Hauls are an additional service offered to City of Fresno Solid Waste customers to haul away bulky items and/or green waste.

There are limitations and specific guidelines that must be followed for Special Hauls. Only the customer of record can make the request, customers must have no prior balance on their utility account, and there is a 30-minute minimum and 1-hour maximum time limit on the service. There are prohibited items, weight limits, length limits, and other limitations on the items to be picked up. The fee for a Special Haul is outlined in the City of Fresno Master Fee Schedule.

To request additional information or to schedule a Special Haul, call (559) 621-1452.

Used Motor Oil & Filters

To request the free program containers for residential curbside pickup of used oil and/or filters, call (559) 621-1452. Used motor oil and filters in program containers can be placed next to your blue cart on your service day for pickup.

Certified collection centers are also available for customers to drop off used motor oil and/or oil filters.

More information about used motor oil and oil filter disposal options can be found on the Hazardous Waste and Sharps Disposal – Motor Oil & Oil Filters (drop-down tab) webpage or by calling (559) 621-1452.

Live Christmas Tree & Wreath Recycling

After the holiday season, make sure your Christmas tree does not end up in the landfill. It can serve other useful purposes such as mulch or a compost additive. Recycling Christmas trees in your green cart helps the City reach recycling goals and saves landfill space.

Please note that plastic Christmas trees can be donated or placed in the gray cart for disposal.

Single Family Residential Customers

  • Please prepare your Christmas tree for recycling:
    • Remove all ornaments, lights and, tinsel
    • Remove the stand
  • Cut the trees into 3 foot lengths or less so our equipment can handle them
  • Place your tree in the green waste cart for collection
  • For additional information call (559) 621-1452

Apartments and Commercial Customers

Customers north of Ashlan Avenue contact:
Allied Waste Services of Fresno, (559) 275-1551

Customers south of Ashlan Avenue contact:
Mid Valley Disposal, (559) 237-9425

For Your Safety

Fire Officials warn that it can be dangerous to burn your tree in the fireplace.

No Littering

Dumping trees in vacant lots is considered littering. There are heavy fines for littering in the City of Fresno.

If you have additional questions, contact the Solid Waste Management Division at (559) 621-1452.