Theft Of Curbside Recyclables

Theft Of Curbside Recyclables

What the law says about scavenging

Residents are allowed to sell or donate their recyclables. However, once you set them in your recycling cart and place the cart at the curb, the recyclables become the property of the City's waste hauling franchisee. It is unlawful for any person other than an authorized City employee or City franchisee to remove recyclables that have been placed out for recycling collection. Each removal shall constitute a separate and distinct violation, enforceable by Municipal Code 3-6-330. A conviction for a violation of this code shall be an infraction or misdemeanor.

What is the penalty?

  • A fine of up to $100 for the first violation.
  • A fine of up to $200 for a second violation within twelve (12) months.
  • If a third violation occurs within twelve (12) months, the violator will be charged with a misdemeanor and could be subject to a penalty of up to $1,000 or time served in the county jail.

Tips for protecting your personal information

  • Shred or tear papers containing personal information before throwing them away.
  • Unwanted mail may also contain personal information. For information about reducing junk mail, go to
  • Keep carts in a secure area on your property and hidden from public view.
  • Place your recycling cart on the curb by 6 a.m. on your scheduled collection day instead of the night before.
  • Be observant and report scavenging to the police department. Join your local neighborhood watch.

What to do if you see someone taking recyclables

If you see unauthorized people going through recycling carts, call the San Leandro Police Department non-emergency line at (510) 577-2740. Be sure to provide the location, a description of the person and the make, model and license plate number of any vehicle involved.

Requesting a cart label

The City offers a recycling cart label to deter scavengers from going through a homeowner's cart without their permission. The label should be affixed to the lid of the recycling cart facing the opening.

Homeowners can obtain a sticker by calling the City's Recycling Program Hotline at 510-577-6026 or sending an email to