Solid Waste Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to provide excellent customer service, educate our community, and answer your questions. If your questions does not appear below, please contact us by phone or email.

  • Does the District recycle?

    Yes, the District recycles over 60% of the trash collected! Customers can place a mixture of recyclables and miscellaneous trash in their Mixed Waste Carts, and both food and yard waste in the Organics Recycling Carts. CR&R collects the trash and transports the Mixed Waste to the Materials Recovery Facility, where it gets manually and mechanically sorted to recover the maximum amount of recyclables. Organics are taken to the Anaerobic Digestion Facility, where they are recycled into compost and renewable natural gas used to fuel CR&R’s collection fleet.

  • How am I billed for trash service?

    CMSD's customers pay for their solid waste and wastewater services through their property tax bill. Solid waste and wastewater fees appear on the property tax bill as special assessments. To view your property tax bill, visit the Orange County Property Tax website.

  • How many trash carts are included in my service?

    Standard service includes up to two 64-gallon Mixed Waste Carts and up to two 64-gallon Organics Recycling Carts per residential unit. Additional carts can be requested for an extra cost of $9.00 per month, per cart.

  • What can I put in my trash carts?

    Recyclables like glass, tin, aluminum, plastics, paper, and cardboard can all go into your Mixed Waste Cart, along with non-recyclable items like soiled paper, Styrofoam, and diapers. To reduce contamination between waste types, residents are encouraged to separate clean recyclables from soiled waste within the cart. The Organics Recycling Cart is used for organic materials like yard waste (grass, leaves, weeds, prunings, etc.) and food waste (fruit and vegetable scraps, old leftovers, meat, dairy, coffee grounds, etc.).

  • Where do I place my trash cans on collection day?

    Containers should be placed at curbside no later than 6:00 a.m. on collection day.  Containers must be placed side-by-side approximately 1' foot apart and at least 3' feet from any obstruction. (i.e. fire hydrant, cars, trees, etc.)  Containers should be placed with the handles and wheels facing away from the street. Containers should be removed from curbside within 12 hours after service.  Items not in containers will not be collected. 

  • Does the District collect all of Costa Mesa's trash?

    No. The Costa Mesa Sanitary District collects and recycles residential trash from single family residences and small multi-family residences (with 4 units or less).  The City of Costa Mesa is responsible for the collection and recycling of trash from larger multi-family residences and businesses. For information about multi-family and business trash collection, please visit

  • How do I transfer trash collection service to my name?

    CMSD collects its solid waste fees as special assessments on the property tax bill. The property owner is always billed, so there is no need to transfer services to another person. If a property is sold, the property tax bill will go to the new owner.

  • What is considered hazardous waste?

    The following materials are considered hazardous waste and must not be placed in your trash carts:
    Motor oil, motor oil filters, paints and solvents, transmission fluid, gasoline, medical waste (e.g. hypodermic needles), batteries, anti-freeze, pesticides and herbicides, cleaners (e.g. spot removers, oven cleaner, etc), e-waste (e.g. electronic devices, televisions, computers, fluorescent lamps and tubes, etc.). These items can be picked up curbside FREE of charge through the District's Door-to-Door HHW Collection program.

  • Can I have Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collected at my curbside?

    Yes. CMSD sponsors a FREE Door-to-Door HHW Collection program for all CMSD solid waste customers. Call CR&R Customer Service at (949) 646-4617 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to schedule a pick-up.

  • Where can I drop off sharps and medications for disposal?

    CMSD has drop boxes for both sharps and medications located at its headquarters (290 Paularino Avenue, Costa Mesa). In addition to this location, CMSD sponsors a sharps drop box at Ramsay Rexall Drugs at 2246 Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. Simply place sharps in a thick, puncture-proof plastic container, such as a detergent bottle, and place it in the drop box. CMSD solid waste customers can also have sharps collected doorside by calling CR&R at (949) 646-4617 to schedule a free pickup.

  • Can I request an additional trash can?

    Yes.  Additional cans cost $9.00 a month per can.  Please contact CR&R at (949) 646-4617 to request an additional trash can.

  • What happened to the larger 90-gallon trash carts?

    CMSD discontinued 90-gallon trash carts in 2015 when we rolled out the Organics Recycling Program. Those who had these larger trash carts prior to 2015 can continue to use them, but we no longer offer replacement if they are broken. Instead, a broken 90-gallon cart will be replaced with a 64-gallon cart.

    Despite the smaller size of the new carts, CMSD actually INCREASED the total available space for disposal! Before 2015, our standard trash collection service included up to two 90-gallon carts (for a total of 180 gallons). In 2015, standard service was modified to include up to two 64-gallon Mixed Waste Carts AND up to two 64-gallon Organics Carts (for a total of 256 gallons). This updated arrangement allows residents more space for yard and food waste to help encourage better recycling habits!

    We understand that some customers may have grown accustomed to the 90-gallon carts and/or may have special waste collection needs. If you’d like more information about how you can use up to 256 gallons of cart space and how you can take advantage of our numerous Special Collection Programs, please visit our Solid Waste Services webpage or contact us.

  • Which holidays result in trash collection delays?

    Trash collection will be delayed one day following the observed holidays below.

    New Year’s Day
    Memorial Day
    4th of July
    Labor Day
    Thanksgiving Day
    Christmas Day

    Please note:  If your regular trash service day occurs before a holiday, your service day remains the same.

  • Where can I redeem recyclables for California Redemption Value (CRV)?

    The Orange Coast College Recycling Center buys back CRV beverage containers. For more information, pelase visit our OCC Recycling Center webpage.

  • Someone left large items on the side of the road. Can the items get picked-up?

    Items that are dumped in the public right-of-way should be reported to the City of Costa Mesa at (714) 754-5000. CMSD solid waste customers can have large items collected curbside for free through the Large Item Collection Program by calling CR&R at (949) 646-4617 to schedule a pickup.


  • What are some best practices for handling my recyclables to make sure they have the best chance of being recycled?

    To help make sure your recyclables have the best chance of being recycled, please keep the following tips in mind:

    • We recommend not bagging your recyclables. Plastic bags create more waste and cause jams in the sorting machinery. (However, recyclables are sorted and recycled if they are bagged.)
    • We recommend rinsing any heavily soiled recyclables before placing them in your cart. Otherwise, food residue or liquids may contaminate that item and potentially a whole bin or load.
    • To recycle cardboard, please break down and flatten cardboard boxes, and cut up any large pieces of cardboard that would keep your cart lid from closing.

  • What can I do if loose trash/debris falls from CMSD carts during collection?

    Regarding any waste that doesn't make it into the trash trucks, we ask that you report these instances to us at You can submit a request for the trash truck to come back and pick up litter/debris by selecting "Solid Waste" and then "Trash Truck Debris/Oil Leaks." Or, you can always contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 645-8400 for any questions or requests.

Learn more about our solid waste services and programs HERE.