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Davis Recycling - Zero Waste Together


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Have you seen strangers rummaging through your recycling cart? They are usually looking for valuable California Redemption Value (CRV) materials, like soda cans and water bottles. This is theft and scavenging recyclables is a violation of Davis Municipal Code Section 32.01.060.

Why is scavenging a problem?

Scavenging causes a number of problems.

  • Your recyclables end up in the trash. As scavengers search through recycling bins to find CRV, they will often move items from the recycling bins to the trash, filling your trash bin up with recyclables.
  • Increased litter. As scavengers search for recyclables in trash and recycling bins, they sometimes leave trash on the ground, contributing to litter problems.
  • Identity theft. Scavengers can be looking for more than just CRV. Some scavengers in Davis have been found to have identity theft backgrounds. When someone is searching through trash and recycling, they have access to any mail you have discarded.Always be sure to shred any documents with sensitive information before recycling or disposing of them.
  • Removing recycling program funding. Scavengers are not only stealing from Recology Davis, they’re stealing from the residents and business owners of Davis, because the revenue generated from the sale of recyclables goes directly back to the rate payers in the form of lower service rates. Recycling service is provided at no extra cost to Davis ratepayers because the revenue from the recyclables subsidizes the cost for the collection. When scavengers steal the recycling, however, they remove that revenue and cut the funding to the recycling program.

The problem isn’t just here in Davis. It’s an issue throughout California, which is why Assembly Bill (AB) 1778 was passed, requiring scrap yards that buy $100 or more of CRV bottles and cans or $50 or more of newsprint to document transactions and to pay for these materials by check. AB 1778 is designed to reduce organized recycling theft in California.

Locally, scavenging recyclables is a violation of Davis Municipal Code 32.01.060. Violators may be prosecuted and are subject to a fine.


“Recyclables placed at the curb shall become the property of the city or the city’s authorized recyclables collector at the time of the placement at the curb.” (Davis Municipal Code 32.01.060(c))

 Recyclables placed inside of commercial containers shall become the property of city-authorized waste collector at the time they are placed in the container.” (Davis Municipal Code 32.01.060(d))

“Garbage and other containerized solid wastes shall remain the property of the generator until the material is removed from the container by the city or the city’s authorized collector.” (Davis Municipal Code 32.01.060(a))

What can you do to prevent scavenging?

You may be setting out $6 or more worth of CRV containers in your recycling cart each week when you roll your cart to the curb for collection.  To keep scavengers away from your recycling cart, try these tips:

  • Keep CRV out of your recycling cart
    • Cash in your CRV. You can recycle those CRV bottles and cans for money at the locations listed below in Davis. You can keep the money or choose to donate it to a local charity.
      • Recology Davis Recycling Center, 2727 2nd Street 756-4646 Redemption Center Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am - 2:00pm, Sat 8:00am - 4:00pm
      • Santana Recycling, 400 Mace Blvd. (916) 856-4734
    • Donate your CRV. You can also donate your CRV bottles and cans to a local charity that collects CRV as a fundraiser.
    • Drop-off your CRV for recycling. You can bring your CRV bottles and cans directly to the Recology Davis Recycling Center at 2727 2nd Street for 24/7 recycling drop-off.
  • Set your cart out in the morning. Most scavengers come at night or very early in the morning. Setting your recycling carts out on the curb the morning of your scheduled pick-up instead of the night before makes it harder for them to get to your cart before it’s emptied.Just make sure your cart is at the curb before 7AM so you don’t miss the recycling truck.


If you see someone removing recyclables from a cart or bin, get the license plate number of the vehicle and a detailed description of the individual. If it is safe to do so, take a picture (send the picture to, and call the City of Davis non-emergency Police Department number (747-5400) to report the crime.  Recycling theft is an infraction with fines up to $500 ($100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third and any subsequent offenses).

Download a No Scavenging Sign.