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Apartment Move-Out Waste Reduction Program

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  In order to ensure that we do not spread COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution, the City is not offering the AMOWRP in 2020. Instead, we are shifting our focus during turnover time to recycling and the proper disposal of hazardous waste items.


The Apartment Move-Out Waste Reduction Program (AMOWRP) is a partnership between the City of Davis (Public Works Utilities and Operations Department) Recycling Program and property managers at apartment communities in Davis. It is an effort to reduce the amount of good, usable material that typically ends up in the landfill during the yearly August move-out. The State of California requires all cities to divert 50% of their waste from the landfill. In order to maintain that goal, we need to recycle as much material as possible, and reduce the amount of material going to the landfill.

How does the program work?

Donation stations are set up at participating apartment properties for residents to leave good, usable items for reuse.

  • Step 1: City Recycling Program staff invites managers of large apartment properties to participate in the AMOWRP. Interested managers sign up for the program.
  • Step 2: City program staff will supply the participating managers with a flier for their residents and posters advertising the program. Managers pass out the fliers to their residents and hang up the posters in a common area so that residents will know about the event.
  • Step 3: When the program begins (usually the second to last week of August), City Recycling Program staff will mark off the donation station (usually the area next to the dumpsters) with blue recycling “caution” tape and signs. Blue frames with bags and signs are set up to collect donated clothing (the #1 donated item year after year!).
  • Step 4: During the Move-Out Program, residents bring reusable items to the donation station (clothes, furniture, household goods, home décor, etc.). Local non-profits, residents moving in, current residents, and apartment staff are free to take whatever they want from the donation station. The donation station becomes a swapping area. Volunteers recruited by the City of Davis assist City staff in keeping the donation station neat and tidy. Volunteers are also encouraged to take donated items if they wish.
  • Step 5: The program ends on September 1st. City staff will remove the donation station signs, traffic cones and caution tape.

Why should apartment properties participate?

Donation_stationProperties that participated in the 2008 AMOWRP saw a 40% reduction in waste during move-out, as compared to the amount of waste produced in 2007. This resulted in immediate savings for many. Residents and apartment staff that have participated in the past felt the pride and satisfaction of “doing the right thing” and wasting less. Local non-profits benefit from the items they receive from the Move-Out Program (in 2008, 10 different local non-profits were involved with the program). The program generally reduces the amount of mess and litter that occurs during the yearly move-out, and usable items and recyclables are kept out of the landfill. Residents also benefit from taking their pick of the free items that are left in the donation station. For some, it is a free way to furnish their new home!

The main goal of the AMOWRP is to keep good, usable material out of the landfill. If all of the bed frames, computer desks, sofas, lamps, clothes, etc. are not thrown away, but donated and reused—apartment managers should see a reduction in their disposal fees because the dumpsters will not fill up as fast, necessitating fewer pickups and saving on disposal cost. As mentioned above, in 2008, despite the large number of move-outs (many properties were experiencing a 50% turnover rate) and apartment renovation projects contributing to the amount of waste generated, participating apartment communities saw a 40% reduction in waste during move-out. It just makes sense—if things are being donated and reused, then there is not as much to throw in the trash.

Is there any fee for apartment properties to participate?

No, there is no fee. The City Recycling Program only asks for help and cooperation with this project. There are over 100 apartment properties in Davis with 10,000+ units. While the City will be recruiting volunteers to assist with the move-out program, the City does not have the resources or staff to be on-site supervising each donation station 24/7. The City needs the help of the property managers and their maintenance staff in order for this program to work. The City can create fliers for apartment residents, but will need the help of property managers to copy and distribute the fliers among their residents. Equally important, property managers are asked to verbally encourage their residents to participate in the program by bringing good items to the donation station instead of throwing them away. The support of the maintenance staff is also important to be sure those good items left outside the dumpsters are not thrown in the trash, but are moved into the donation station. Maintenance staff is also needed to help keep the area around the donation station tidy. City recycling staff and volunteers will be by to help tidy up and sort through the material that is donated, but help from maintenance staff is also important to keep the area clean.

How do the donated items get to the non-profits?

The City Recycling Program gives the interested non-profit groups a list of all participating properties. Some will stop by the donation stations and take the items they want. Some volunteers will have “wish lists” from local non-profits and will collect and deliver items from the wish lists. Clothes and shoes are collected by the City recycling staff and dropped off at various local non-profits.

Non-profits groups that wish to receive items from the AMOWRP can contact the City Recycling Program at 757-5686 or by email at

How can I help?

move-outVolunteers are needed to help keep donation stations tidy. This program relies on the assistance of volunteers!

The program usually runs the last two weeks of August. During that time, volunteers are needed to work whatever hours they can (morning, afternoon or evening) to help keep the donation stations organized (place cushions on sofas, stack books neatly, throw trash in the garbage, tidy-up the area, etc.), and sort materials (separate clothes, linens, shoes, from house wares, etc.). Volunteers are invited to keep any items they wish that have been donated. Interested volunteers are asked to commit to work at least 2 hours during the AMOWRP (either 1 hour on 2 days, or 2 hours in one day).  More information about volunteering for the AMOWRP.  If you are interested in volunteering, contact the City Recycling Program at This is a great opportunity to help the community, reduce waste and take home a lot of free stuff!

How can I find out more about the AMOWRP?

If you are interested in participating in the AMOWRP or you just want more information about the program, please contact the City of Davis Public Works Utilities and Operations Department at (530) 757-5686 or by email at

What if my apartment doesn't have a donation station?

Only residents living in apartment communities that are participating in the AMOWRP may use the donation stations. Since the donation stations are on private property, public use would be considered illegal dumping. If you are moving out, there are other ways to reuse and recycle your unwanted items. Household goods, clothing and furniture in good condition can be donated to several local non-profit groups and thrift stores. For a full list of places to take your unwanted items for reuse, check out the City of Davis Recyclopedia or call the Public Works Utilities and Operations Department at 757-5686.

Can I take stuff left in the donation station?

Residents and staff at the apartments are encouraged to take what they want from their donation stations. Although reuse and recycling is encouraged, the City cannot invite the general public to come to the donation stations as they are set up on private property. Most local residents already know about the “move-out madness” in Davis, and have seen all the furniture that is left behind every year. As a result, many people have made a habit of driving around the city from property to property gathering up furniture and other items. Please be aware that scavenging through dumpsters to find usable items can create a big mess and create more work for maintenance staff trying to stack things carefully into the dumpsters to save space.