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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What time should I place my garbage and recycling carts at the curb?
A. All carts must be placed at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your scheduled day of service.

Q. What are the hours of collection?
A. Service hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Q. My garbage and/or recycling service was missed. Whom do I call?
A. Customers should call customer service at (775) 329-8822. or report through your MyWM app.

Q. My cart/bin is damaged/missing. Whom do I call?
A. Customers should call customer service at (775) 329-8822.

Q. What if I have physical difficulty taking my carts out to the curb?
A. Residential carts can be collected from side yards for an additional fee, or no fee for qualifying disabled individuals. Call customer service at (775) 329-8822 for details.

Q. Is there a discount for senior citizens?
A. Seniors (70 years or older) are eligible to receive the senior rate. Waste Management will verify the customer’s age before processing the request through the system. Call (775) 329-8822 for details.

Q. What is single-stream recycling?
A. Single-stream recycling allows customers the ease and convenience of placing all acceptable recyclable materials into a single cart (customers also have a cart for their solid waste). This enhanced recycling program decreases the amount of waste generated and increases the diversion/recycling rate. Each residential customer is provided a cart for recyclable materials (a green cart with a blue lid) in addition to their garbage cart (green cart with a green lid) for garbage.

Q. Why is single-stream recycling being implemented?
A. Sparks residents have been asking for single-stream recycling for several years. As a result, the Sparks City Council approved the residential single-stream recycling program to make recycling easy and convenient for the residents and to increase recycling within the city.

Q. How do you know single-stream recycling will enhance curbside collection in Sparks?
A. The recycling participation rate in the City of Reno is approximately 75 percent. Based on the success of the program in Reno, experts believe Sparks will see similar results.

Q. What are the benefits to single-stream recycling?
A. There are several benefits to single-stream recycling:

  • Easy and convenient for customers
  • More recyclable items accepted
  • Enhances neighborhood beautification
  • Reduces recycling theft at the curb
  • Increases recycling within the City of Sparks
  • Improves worker safety

Q. Can I opt out of the single-stream recycling program?
A. All customers are billed for recycling, regardless if they use their single-stream recycling cart or not. However, participation is not mandatory. If a customer would like the recycling cart removed, call customer service at 775-329-8822. The cart will be scheduled for pickup.

Q. How do I know which week to place my recycling at the curb?
A. If you do not know when to place your recycling at the curb, please contact customer service at 775-329-8822.

Q. How often is my single-stream recycling collected at the curb?
A. Recycling is collected every other week.

Q. What can I recycle?
A. Single-stream recycling allows for the collection and processing of a wider variety of recyclable material, including:

  • Plastics bottles (#1 - #7)
  • Plastic containers (#1 - #7)
  • Cardboard
  • Paperboard
  • Paper
  • Junk Mail
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Glass bottles (without caps)
  • Glass jars (without caps)
  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel cans

Q. What can’t I place in my recycling cart?
A. The following items are not recyclable in the City of Sparks:

  • Food
  • Household Hazardous Waste
    • CFL light bulbs
    • Motor oil
    • Antifreeze bottles
    • Paint
  • Needles
  • Cords and wires
  • Clothing
  • Diapers
  • Broken cups and dishes
  • Plastic bags
  • Food Soiled Paper
  • Plastic serving utensils
  • Plastic cups and dishes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum trays
  • Paper towels
  • Electronics and batteries
  • Snack bags and wrappers
  • Polystyrene foam
  • Garden hoses

Q. Do I need to rinse out my recyclables prior to placing them in my recycling cart?
A. No liquids or loose food can be placed in the recycling cart. Food and liquids spoil the recyclability of paper and cardboard. If necessary, use a spatula to remove food from containers, but it is not necessary to rinse out the container.

Q. What will happen if I use my recycling cart as a garbage cart?
A. The effectiveness of the program will be a citywide effort. Contamination from just one resident can contaminate an entire load of recyclables. Therefore, if a customer places garbage in their recycling cart, that customer will be billed the contamination fee. This charge will be added to the next bill. Repeat offenders will eventual lose their recycling cart.

Q. How long have Sparks residents been recycling?
A. In 1991, Sparks City Council adopted mandatory recycling for residents as a result of a state recycling mandate. For the last 24 years, Sparks residential customers have participated in the source-separated crate recycling program.

Q. How long have Sparks residents been billed for recycling?
A. Sparks residents have been billed for recycling services since 1991, even if they don’t participate in the program.

Q. What was wrong with the old source-separated recycling program?
A. While source-separated recycling in crates used to be an effective method of collection, single-stream recycling has proven far more effective at increasing the recycling rate. In addition, many customers believed the old source-separated recycling program was not convenient. Customers want a simpler, more convenient recycling program that takes advantage of current technology, and allows the community to reduce the overall impact on the environment.

Q. What products are made from recyclables? 
A. A variety of everyday materials are made from recyclables. Newspapers and magazines make newsprint. Glass is used to create new glass bottles and jars. Aluminum cans make automobile parts and more aluminum cans, and steel cans make construction materials, such as I-Beams. Plastic bottles make toys, carpet, flowerpots, mugs and much more. 

Q. Where do recyclables go?
A. Recyclables are taken to a processing center where materials are sorted, screened for contamination and baled for shipment. They are then shipped to various destinations, where they are made into new products. Visit the WM Sustainability website for more information.

Q. Does Waste Management make money off residential recyclables?      
A. Yes and No. -. When commodity prices are high and markets are available, recyclables are sold and help offset the operating costs of the program. When markets are not available or prices are low we lose money on recycling.

Q. Why doesn’t Waste Management pay me for my recyclables?
A. Nevada does not have a redemption program like California and other states. The value of the commodities that are sold are used to help fund the recycling program.
Note: It is against Federal Law for non-California residents to take recyclables to California for monetary benefit.

Q. Do I have to use a Waste Management single-stream recycling and garbage cart? Can I use my own carts?
A. No. The City of Sparks has had mandatory use of garbage carts in place for over 25 years. The franchise agreement with the City of Sparks requires Waste Management’s  to provide all garbage and recycling carts. Waste Management carts are designed for pick up by our automated collection trucks.  The only exception would be if a customer uses an animal resistant container. Waste Management does not provide those containers, but will service them at the yard service rate.

Q. When will I receive my excess waste stickers?
A. 20 excess waste stickers are mailed to customers in January.

Q. How do I purchase more excess waste stickers or add an additional cart to my service?
A. Call (775) 329-8822 for specific pricing information based on the current service level or to purchase more stickers.

Q. What if I have extra waste that won’t fit into my trash cart?
A. Starting in January 2016, all garbage and recyclables must be placed in Waste Management carts.

Excess waste contained in a 32-gallon bag, box or bundle (not to exceed 3’ x 3’ x 3’ or 50 pounds) can be placed at the curb for collection, using one of the excess waste stickers. A sticker must accompany each 32-gallon bag, box or bundle. If customers regularly exceed the trash cart limit, customers should consider increasing to an additional cart to their service or purchasing additional stickers. Call customer service at 775-329-8822, to add another cart or to purchase more stickers.

Q. Do I have access to the Reno Transfer Stations  and the Lockwood Landfill?
A. Yes. City of Sparks residential Waste Management customers who are current with their bill may dispose of one standard pickup truck with municipal solid waste four times a year at no cost. Customers may utilize this service any day and time during normal business hours at the Stead Transfer Station, at the Commercial Row Transfer Station or the Lockwood Landfill. Customers may begin utilizing this program in January 2016.

Q. What should I do with bulky items or appliances that I want to dispose of?
A. City of Sparks residential customers who are current with their bill may dispose of one standard pickup truck with municipal solid waste four times a year at no cost. Customers may utilize this service any day and time during normal business hours at the Stead Transfer Station, at the Commercial Row Transfer Station or the Lockwood Landfill.

Bulky waste pick up is available at your home on an optional basis and charged at a per yard rate that is found in the rate table.

Q. How do I safely dispose of old car and household batteries, used motor oil or antifreeze, CFL bulbs and sharps?
A. Please contact the following businesses in northern Nevada:

Car Batteries:

  • Howard’s Chevron Inc.
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • American Auto Wreckers
  • Clean Harbors Environmental

Household Batteries:

Used Motor Oil:

  • O’Reilly Auto Parts Reno Drain Oil
  • Clean Harbors Environmental


  • Reno Drain Oil Services
  • Clean Harbors Environmental

CFL Bulbs:

  • Recycling Center - accepts screw in and pig-tail type CFL bulbs at no charge and $3 per CFL tube.
  • Lockwood Landfill – accepts screw in and pig-tail type CFL bulbs at no charge and $3 per CFL tube.


Q. How much does it cost to recycle acceptable electronic items at the recycling center in Reno?
A. There is no charge to dispose of certain Sony brand electronics. A collection form must be filled out in order to receive the payment waiver. For all other electronic waste items, there is a per pound charge. Please customer service at (775) 329-8822 for rates.

Q. Why does it cost to recycle electronics?
A. Electronics are considered a universal waste; therefore, there are additional costs to recycle these items. Waste Management responsibly disposes of e-waste. It is our commitment to prevent universal e-waste from entering municipal incinerators or landfills by preventing the exportation of universal e-waste to developing countries.

Q. What electronic items can I recycle? Where can I take my electronic waste?
A. Computers, laptops, computer peripherals (mice, keyboards, speakers, etc.), fax machines, photocopiers, printers, toner, ink cartridges, televisions (five per person per day), VCRs, stereos, DVD players, telephones, cell phones, microwave ovens, rechargeable electronics batteries and consumer electronics may be recycled and processed at the electronic waste drop-off center located at 1100 E. Commercial Row in Reno.

Q. What do I do with my green waste?
A. You can place your green waste in your garbage cart. If you have excess green waste, you can place a 32-gallon bag at the curb with one of your excess waste stickers. If you have a large amount of green waste, it can be disposed of at one of the two transfer stations or the Lockwood Landfill.

You may also add an additional waste or recycling cart(s) to your service for a fee by calling customer service at (775) 329-8822.