Welcome to Zero Waste 101 

Here you’ll find tons of resources to help you reach your zero waste goal including actionable tips that will improve your daily routine, the environment and your bank account – for years to come. If you choose to implement even one of these suggestions, you will soon see the enormous impact you alone can have on our environment. 

commercial recycling

Commercial Recycling

“With the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 341, businesses and public entities that generate four cubic yards or more of waste per week and multifamily units of five or more are required to recycle.  
Businesses are required to recycle on and after July 1, 2012.
Who Must Recycle?   State law requires the following businesses to arrange for recycling services:
  • Any business that generates 4 cubic yards or more of waste per week; and
  • Multi-family communities with five or more units
Businesses (which include but are not limited to: businesses, strip malls and public agencies including schools) and multi-family communities shall take one or any combination of the following actions in order to reuse, recycle, compost, or otherwise divert commercial solid waste from disposal:"
- Self Haul
- Subscrive to a hauler(s)
- Arrange for pickup of recycleables
- Subscrive to a recycling service that may include mixed-waste
  processing that yields diversion results comparable to
  source separation
More information on the Mandatory Commerical Recycling Law
california paint care program

California Paint Care Program

About PaintCare
"The American Coatings Association (ACA) has supported the passage of industry managed paint product stewardship programs to find a solution to properly manage leftover consumer paint. Until recently, the only option for consumers was costly government run household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs. Post-consumer paint can be collected for reuse, recycling, energy recovery, or safe disposal, but doing so requires public awareness and a convenient and effective infrastructure that exceeds local government budgets and capacity. The system must also be cost effective."
More information on the Paint Care Progrm

Marin County Locations

  1. Consumers of Paint
  2. Retailers of Paint – for All Retailers
  3. Retailers of Paint – for Drop-Off Sites
  4. Manufacturers of Paint and Coatings
  5. Municipal / HHW Programs
  6. Law and Regulations
  7. Program Plan




444 Du Bois Street
San Rafael
(415) 485-6739

Kelly Moore Paint

601 East Francisco Blvd
San Rafael
(415) 258-0627

Dunn-Edwards Paint

717 Francisco Boulevard East
San Rafael
(415) 259-0302

backyard compost

Backyard Compost

  • Transfer the organic waste (banana peels, apple cores, potato skin, egg shells, coffee grinds, etc.) from your kitchen compost pile to your backyard compost pile as often as possible.
  • Avoid adding grass clippings, leaves, twigs, straw, acorns, moss and algae that have been treated with pesticides and herbicides.
  • Do not fill your outdoor bin with meat scraps, fish bones, bacon fat, cleaning chemicals, pet waste or diseased plants, all of which are capable of attracting pests and spreading disease.
  • To speed up the composting cycle, place your compost bin in an area that will receive direct sunlight. Use a compost turner, pitch fork or shovel to aerate your pile every two weeks by mixing up the contents (as if you were tossing a salad).
  • If you have not switched to e-news and still receive newspapers in the mail, add them to your compost bin when you are finished reading.  Remember to shred them first! Shredding will speed up the composting process.


ZeroWasteMarin frequently offers composting courses to Marin County residents.  Information can be found here



  • Visit the Marin Computer Resource Center. This environmentally-friendly organization recycles computers, printers, monitors, TVs, VCRs, stereos, phones and most home and office electronics, in addition to all of their accessories.
  • If your gadgets are in good condition and are light enough to ship, try selling them on Ebay.
  • If you are not interested in receiving money for your unused gadgets, bring them to a Salvation Army, Goodwill, community thrift store, or buy/sell/trade retail establishment. Remember to keep a list of everything you donate – you’ll be able to write each item off when you file your taxes.
  • Plan for future donations. When you buy a new appliance, save the box it comes in, in addition to the manuals, warranties, controllers, power cords, earphones and all other accessories. These components will increase the monetary value of your donation.
  • If you have a large appliance that doesn’t work, find someone on Craigslist who can learn from it. Local repair shops, trade schools and hobbyists will enjoy dissecting your appliance and reusing any and all working components. 
construction and demolition

Construction & Demolition

Certified Construction and Demolition Facility List

Following solicitation, site inspections, and a certification process the list of Certified Construction and Demolition (C&D) Facilities was approved by the Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority’s (JPA) Board of Directors at their January 26, 2012 meeting.  The list of facilities that meet the criteria of the JPA’s Model C&D Ordinance is as follows:

*Facilities that do not have solid waste permits and handle only source separated non-solid waste materials.

This list will be updated on a regular basis.  Please contact the Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Joint Powers Authority at (415) 473-6647 to ensure you have the most recent version.

Full Certification Facilities

Commercial Waste & Recycling, LLC

Joshua Fookes, Owner/Manager
725 Independent Road
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 636-0852

Davis Street Transfer Station

Rebecca Jewell, Recycle Program Manager
2615 Davis Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 563-4214

Devlin Road Recycling and Transfer Facility

Steve Kelley
889 Devlin Road
American Canyon
(707) 256-3500 x1222

Marin Resource Recovery Center

565 Jacoby Street
San Rafael
(415) 485-5646

Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center

Jessica Jones, District Manager
8950 Redwood Highway
(415) 892-2851

West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill

Ritchie Granzella
1 Parr Boulevard
(510) 970-7246

Windsor Material Recovery Facility

Dustin Abbott
590 Caletti Avenue
(707) 838-2597

Administrative Facilities

The Away Station

Carrie Bachelder
109 Broadway Boulevard
Fairfax, CA 94930
(415) 453-4221

Building Resources

Sergio Traverso
701 Amador Street
San Francisco
(415) 285-7814

Daniel O. Davis, Inc.

Dustin Davis
1051 Todd Road
Santa Rosa
(707) 585-1903

Heritage Salvage

Karen Helms
1473 Petaluma Boulevard South
(707) 762-6277

Urban One

Dan Knapp
900 Murray Street
(510) 914-2701

junk mail

Junk Mail

  • When you receive a credit card offer, company catalogue, newsletter or coupon-booklet that you did not request, immediately contact the sender and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
  • Create an online account at CatalogueChoice.org to opt out of catalogues, credit card offers, coupons and circulars.
  • Contact your bank, credit card company, internet service provider, utility provider, homeowners association and/or landlord to inquire about paperless billing and email notifications.
  • Buy an e-reader so you can download magazines, monthly newsletters and coupon offers online.
  • Make a piñata and confetti for your next birthday party out of existing junk mail.
  • For a how to guide on how to opt our of various junk mail services visit StopJunkMail.org to download a Stop Junk Mail Kit.
kitchen compost

Kitchen Compost

  • ZeroWasteMarin hands out compost shuttles during many of the events in the area, including fairs, community events and farmers markets.  Keep your eye out for the ZeroWasteMarin booth and ask for your free shuttle!  

Compost shuttles are not available for home delivery.

  • If your hauler does not supply bins, buy one from your local hardware store or create your own. To create a countertop compost bin, all you need is an empty old coffee can with a sealable lid and a package of charcoal filters.
  • Fill your compost bin with organic waste: banana peels, apple cores, potato skins, eggshells and coffee grinds, to name a few. Do not fill your compost bin with meat scraps, fish bones, bacon fat, cleaning chemicals, pet waste or diseased plants.
  • Get specific. See exactly what items can go in your green cart.
  • Keep a secondary compost bin in your garage, if you do not have a backyard compost pile. A five-gallon bucket with a sealable lid (found at your local hardware store) is ideal. Empty the contents of your kitchen compost bin into your larger bucket two to three times per week.


    ZeroWasteMarin frequently offers composting courses to Marin County residents.  Information can be found here

packaged goods

Packaged Goods

  • Whenever possible, shop at grocery stores that offer unpackaged products in bins. Bins reduce the need for structured, stackable packaging that is generally found on shelves.
  • Handpick your fruit and vegetables from bins and barrels and place them directly in a reusable shopping bag. Avoid purchasing over-packaged produce that is sold at retail giants, such as the all-too-familiar, four-pack of apples in a plastic receptacle.
  • Buy groceries in bulk. Leftovers can usually be stored in reusable, airtight containers or frozen for use on a later date.
  • When packaging is unavoidable, choose lightweight. Lightweight packaging contains fewer materials, which reduces energy consumption during the packaging manufacturing process and cuts back on fuel used for transport.
  • Most toiletry and cleaning supply brands offer extra-large or refillable containers. Whenever possible, take advantage of these offers. For instance, buy one reusable hand-soap dispenser and a 56 oz. industrial-sized bottle of hand-soap, rather than a twelve-pack of 7.5 oz. bottles.  
paper towels

Paper Towels

  • Reinvent your old t-shirts, sweatshirts, pajama pants, bath towels, beach towels, sheets and socks – turn them into reusable rags. Then spill, wipe, rinse, and wash – it’s that simple.
  • Consider adding a rag bin in your basement, garage or laundry room. A forty-liter garbage can, which holds around 100 rags, is ideal for a family of four.
  • Buy cloth napkins and use them with every meal. Bring your family shopping with you and have each member choose their favorite. Consider buying two sets, just in case one is in the wash.
  • Buy an additional set of cloth napkins and set them aside for guests. For a lasting impression, choose white napkins – you’ll be able to bleach them time and time again.
  • If you absolutely must purchase paper towels, reach for the ones made from recycled content
plastic bottles

Plastic Bottles

  • Keep your reusable water bottle in the front and center of your refrigerator, so you’ll never forget it.
  • Place a spare reusable water bottle in your car, gym locker and office.
  • Fill your reusable water bottle with more than just water – add sliced fruits, vegetables and herbs. Consider fresh cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, oranges, limes, honeydew melons, mint, basil, rosemary or rose petals. For a tangy twist, add a splash of cider vinegar.
  • Beware of BPA. Some reusable water bottles contain Bisphenol A, a potentially harmful chemical in plastic that is suspected of causing cancer. If the label says “BPA free,” you’re good to go.
  • Embrace tap water. Believe it or not, most tap water is cleaner than bottled water. Tap water is monitored by the EPA, state and local authorities, while bottled water is only monitored by the FDA.
recycled products2

Recycled Products

  • Next time you shop, look for products that are made with recycled content. These products will usually mention their recycled content. Remember, the more post-consumer content the better.
  • Encourage others to help our environment by gifting recycled content. Take it a step further by wrapping your presents in cloth or in cool old newspapers. Sometimes the content in an old news story can spark a conversation.
  • Before buying your next necessity or accessory, check online to see if a recycled version of the specific item exists.
  • Visit TheThriftShopper.com to locate the Salvation Army, Goodwill and/or community thrift store closest to you. No matter which retail establishment you visit, you’re sure to find interesting items, many of which have never been used.
  • Acquire recycled items for free – online sites like Craigslist, Freesharing and Freecycle offer everything from thumbtacks to automobiles. 
shopping bags

Shopping Bags

  • Reusable shopping bags are capable of holding more than just groceries. Use yours when you shop for clothes, shoes, electronics, jewelry, cosmetics – you name it.
  • Start each shopping list by writing, “1. Bring reusable shopping bags.” Keep a reusable shopping bag full of reusable shopping bags in the trunk of your car. That way, you’ll be prepared for spontaneous shopping-sprees and unavoidable red-tag sales.
  • If you accidentally forget your reusable shopping bag, ask yourself, “Can I carry this?” before requesting a plastic or paper bag from the cashier.
  • Don’t forget to wash your reusable shopping bags on a regular basis, especially after carrying meat or dairy products.
takeout containers

Takeout Containers

  • Planning ahead cuts down on waste – pack tomorrow’s lunch today. Don’t forget to include a set of non-disposable utensils.
  • For a refreshing drink at lunch with your homemade sandwich, freeze your reusable water bottle tonight and let it defrost from the moment you get up to the moment you eat lunch.
  • Buy a travel mug and use it every time you drink coffee. For best results, measure the diameter of your car cup-holder and buy a mug that fits accordingly. If you forget to bring your mug, ask for a non-disposable cup – most coffee houses will accommodate you.
  • Keep a tote bag with three to five reusable food containers in your pantry, in your trunk and under your desk at work. Bring your bag of containers with you when you dine and use the containers for leftovers.
  • If a single-use disposable container is unavoidable, make sure you recycle it!