Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have extras that will not fit in the cart?

All extras must be put into a heavy duty plastic trash bag and placed next to your cart. All refuse extras are subject to charges.

What if my carts are missed on collection day?

Please place carts out the night before to assure pickup. Please let our customer service know of your problem by calling 800-MY-GARBAGE (694-2722) or Click Here.

What if I need a different size or an additional cart?

Please let our customer service know of your request by calling 800-MY-GARBAGE (694-2722) or Click Here.

Do I set my cart out when it's not full?

Your refuse cart should be set out on each collection day, whether it's full or not. You may wait until your recycling and green waste carts are full before setting them out on their scheduled collection day.

What if I go on vacation?

You may contact customer service at 800-MY-GARBAGE (694-2722) our Click Here. to have your service placed on vacation stop. (Minimum 4 weeks)

What do I do if I move?

You may contact customer service at 800-MY-GARBAGE (694-2722) our Click Here. to have your service address changed or to cancel your service. Your carts will be picked up on your last day of service.

What is our Holiday schedule and how will it effect service?

There is no pickup on Christmas or New Years Day. Pickup will be on the following day. We will pickup on all other holidays.

What happens if my garbage is not picked up due to extreme weather conditions?

Our trucks do not run in extreme weather, such as heavy snow or flooding, for our safety and yours. Please leave your carts out and they will be picked up the following day or when conditions permit.

How do I clean my cart?

Simply rinse with mild soap and water and allow cart to dry.

Solid Wastes of Willits provides a variety of services in waste management and recycling. Who do I contact for specific information about one of your services?

SWOW’s Main Office can answer a variety of general information questions, and can route you as necessary in the event they cannot adequately answer your inquiry. Office staff is on hand five days a week, M-F, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. SWOW's Main Office can be reached at 800-MY-GARBAGE or by visiting us at 350 Franklin Ave. in Willits, CA.

Where is SWOW’s Solid Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Center? What are its days and hours of operation?

We operate 11 Transfer Stations and recycling centers, Please take a look at our locations page for more information about out transfer stations and items accepted at each location.

What forms of payment do you accept?

All of our transfer station accepts checks and cash. For collection services we accept check, cash, Visa, and MasterCard. Please view our Payment Page for more information.

What types of waste constitute Green waste?

Green waste is any type of foodwaste, brush or grass, from any type of plant. We are now accepting you can place food-waste in with your Green waste cart. In addition, most pallets are accepted in the green waste pile. Dirt, unpainted and untreated wood, sod, painted and treated woods, particle board and plywood are considered Solid Waste and should be disposed on the tip floor as garbage.

Green waste transported to the Transfer Station in plastic bags must be emptied before being disposed, and the bags disposed of as trash. Trash and dirt mixed with green waste loads must also be disposed as trash. These items, when disposed of in the Green waste Pile, increase the cost of properly disposing of the load; expenses that, if incurred regularly, will increase the cost to rate payers for the disposal of Green waste in the future.

So please, make sure to dispose of only food waste, grass, brush and tree limbs, twigs in the Green waste or curbside cart. No lumber in Green waste carts.

How do I apply for a job with Soilid Wastes of Willits, Inc?

During an open application period, SWOW welcomes and encourages all qualified individuals who wish to apply by filling out the application from employment using our process on Indeed.

What do I do with Medical Sharps?

Place sharps in an empty plastic detergent bottle or bleach bottle. Screw the lid shut, tape over it and label it “SHARPS”. Or you can use a special red-plastic sharps disposal container purchased at a pharmacy.

Unacceptable containers: Coffee cans, plastic milk jugs, plastic bags, soda bottles.

This program is not available to commercial businesses or medical offices. They should contact a medical waste disposal service.

Drop off locations:

Willits Transfer Station: 350 Franklin St., Willits-- Open Tuesday –Saturday 9am-4pm

Ukiah Transfer Station: 3151 Taylor Drive, Ukiah-- Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm

Caspar Transfer Station: 14200 Prairie Way, Caspar—Open Monday-Wednesday 9am – 2pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-4pm.

South Coast Transfer Station: 40855 Fish Rock Rd., Point Arena—Open Monday-Wednesday 12pm-4pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-4pm.

What do I do with Asbestos?

Due to the strict disposal requirements for asbestos, either for commercial or private use, you are best served by carefully reading the instructions found on the following document: Friable vs Non-Friable Asbestos

Solid Wastes of Willits’ transfer station at 350 Franflin Ave. Willits, CA accepts quantities of non-friable asbestos greater than 250 lbs. The transfer station requires the non-friable asbestos to be packaged in two 3mil contractor plastic bags, available for purchase at many hardware stores. If you are planning on transporting non-friable asbestos to Willits, call the transfer station at (707) 459-4778 the day before your drop off and let staff know the quantity of the load. The fee for disposal is the same as for refuse.

How does the curbside recycling program work?

SWOW uses a three-cart refuse and recycling service that entails residential customers selecting a trash collection cart size which will determine their rates. They also will receive a blue recycling container and a green yard waste container. Residents should put trash and recyclables into separate collection carts, this simple action will capture more recyclable material and help us to decrease the amount of garbage going into our landfills. As part of this program Customers will receive:

• One Grey collection cart for trash (20-95 Gallon)

• One Green collection cart for green waste (65-95 Gallon) Note: Green waste carts are not available in all areas.

• One Blue collection cart for recyclable material (65-95 Gallon)

The recycling cart will be used exclusively for mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum beverage containers, steel or tin cans, aluminum foil, glass and plastic bottles.

Do I need to rinse out recyclables prior to placement in the recycling cart?

It is best that the recyclables be free of any food waste before they are placed into the recycling stream. This keeps the contamination down and allows a higher percentage of the materials to be recycled. If any cardboard or paper product is saturated in food or oil please dispose of it in the grey garbage container.

How can I keep the shredded paper from making a mess in the street if I place it in the recycling bin without a bag?

Using a paper bag to dispose of shredded contents is a simple way to secure shredded paper in your recycling container.

What should I do with plastics that do not have a #1-7 symbol?

Only plastics with the symbols #1-7 should be placed in the recycling cart. Plastic lids, water bottle lids and unmarked plastics are not recyclable and should be placed in the trash cart. Alternative disposal options could be available on

Can I use a plastic bag for my green cart?

No, plastic bags or any other content that is not compostable damage an entire green waste load; forcing the content to go to the landfill.

Why are we supposed to mix all our recyclables together?

SWOW has made a significant investment in building a state of the art Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to sort the recyclables, using the MRF SWOW is able to sort the largest amount of recyclable material and make it available for recyclers thus diverting it from the land fill. Residents are also encouraged to use SWOW’s buy back centers as well as other recycling resources and programs throughout the community. Studies show that allowing the convenience of mixing materials together is the key to getting more people to choose the recycling bin over the trash can and increasing the amount of recyclables collected. To see a video on how our MRF works Click Here.

If a product has the three arrows symbol on it, doesn't that mean it's recyclable?

The three arrows symbol is not an indication that an item can be recycled. The recycling symbol is unregulated, meaning that no authority controls who places the symbol on what product, be it recyclable or not. The plastics industry uses the recycling symbol as an “in house” coding system to identify resin types.

Technically, almost everything manufactured could be recyclable if there was a reliable end-buyer for the material. The existence of a recycling market is typically dependent upon a manufacturer buying the product back for remanufacture. When an industry distributes a product and then uses virgin materials to manufacture new products, it creates material without a recycling market. In order for a material to be recyclable, there has to be a demand for it on the market, and that’s what determines what can and cannot be accepted.

Where do corks go?

Corks should be placed in the garbage container.

What is the acceptable size/diameter of wood that is placed in the green cart?

Wood or branches placed in the green cart should allow the lid to close fully and be no more than three (3) inches in diameter.

I have a trash compactor, can I compact my recyclables?

Recyclables should not be compacted.

Can I recycle empty paint cans or other containers that had toxic chemical such as cleaning agents?

Only narrow neck plastic bottles.

What day of the week is the recycling or garbage picked up?

Customers should call the main office for schedules. Pick up days for recycling and yardwaste can vary from refuse pick-up days.

How should the carts be arranged for trash pick up day?

Carts should have a three foot clearance from any obstruction (trees, motor vehicles, basketball hoops) and between the carts.

What is the schedule of the Hazardous Material Pickup (HazMobile)?

The HazMobile is operated by Mendocino county and a there schedule can be found on their Website.

How do I dispose of unused or expired medication?

Some of these medications can cause environmental damage if disposed in the sewer system because they are not adequately destroyed by sewer treatment plants and can enter the water supply. Disposing medications down the sink or toilet is no longer recommended since many of the substances have been identified in the water supply.

You can help reduce this problem by bringing your medications to a Safe Medicine Disposal drop-off location. For more information on safe medicine disposal, visit the Russian River Water Association's Web Site.

The Mendocino County Sheriff has also started a program which allows community members a safe location to dispose of all unwanted and outdated prescription medications: Operation Medicine CabinetAll unused or expired medications should be safely disposed of when no longer needed. Never take any medication prescribed for someone else. Medications should be stored out of reach of children.

How should I dispose of my residential refrigerator, freezer, water cooler, room air conditioner or dehumidifier?

The refrigerant used in appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, water coolers, room air conditioners, or dehumidifiers must be processed by certified technicians. Therefore, if the retailer from whom you’ve purchased the new unit does not provide for proper disposal of these appliances, bring it to the one of our transfer stations that accepts Appliances, for a list of accepted material at each location Click Here.

Why can't pizza boxes be recycled?

Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard; however, the cardboard becomes soiled with grease, cheese, and other foods once the pizza has been placed in the box. Once soiled, the paper cannot be recycled because the paper fibers will not be able to be separated from the oils during the pulping process. Food is a major source of contamination in the various paper categories.