Photo Credit: Bonnie Betts, Mt. Diablo Recycling, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: NCRA does not provide tours to outside groups – such as classes or scout troops. If you are seeking a tour, contact your city or county via their contact page or recycling website.

NCRA usually offers members and their associates engaging and behind the scenes tours at cutting-edge facilities several times a year. Some are free, others are low cost.

Due to COVID our tour program was put on hold. Check out the many great samples below – videos of glass plants and C&D recycling – including robots as well as the details of a handful of food recovery tours!

Stay tuned for future tours and contact the office to suggest or offer to organize a tour.

Take A Virtual Tour!

In honor of our usual Zero Waste Week March tours, we have curated a list of virtual tours including robots! Enjoy!

Suggestions welcome!

Column I
Column II

Recology San Francisco

YouTube Channel



Recycle Central at Pier 96
Transfer Station and Recycling Center
San Jose

YouTube Channel

Photo Credit: Zen Robotics
C & D Recycling
Advanced C&D Processing System

3.5 minutes,  includes robotic sorting

Virtual Site Tour

23.5 minutes, includes robotic sorting

Zanker YouTube Channel
YouTube Channel
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Materials Recovery Facility, Landfill and more…

6 videos, 25 minutes total


YouTube Channel

Glass Recycling

4 videos, 15 minutes total

Alameda County

StopWaste Channel

YouTube Channel

Waste is a Verb:
City of Napa and Napa Recycling & Waste Services

2022, 15.33 minutes

Composting Facility

2021, 1.5 minutes

2020 Tours

Innovative Food Recovery in Action: Berkeley Food Network Tour

Tour the Berkeley Food Network Food Distribution Hub and learn about its innovative food recovery strategy that is helping the city comply with SB1383. BFN recovers food from retailers, distributors, and producers in Berkeley and beyond, processes it and distributes directly and through its over 20 member agencies to food insecure residents. Hear the story of how this organization came to occupy the former warehouse of a wine Ponzi schemer. After this one-hour tour you can pick up a bike share from Bay Wheels, take an AC transit bus, catch a ride share or drive to Chou Hall, UC Berkeley’s first LEED platinum building for the Chow Tour #2.

Chou Hall Tour

Tour Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, UC Berkeley’s newest and greenest addition to campus. The 80,000 square foot structure features such as efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems, rainwater cisterns, and 24,300 square feet of exterior windows make it the first academic building in the US designed for LEED Platinum certification and WELL certification (given to buildings that promote user health and well-being). Not only is the infrastructure set up for a smaller environmental footprint, the building is striving for zero waste operations. Our host will be Assistant Director of Operations at Haas School of Business, Danner Doud-Martin.

One Business’ Trash Is Another Business’ Treasure:
A Walking Tour of The Renewal Mill and O2 Artisans Aggregate

Renewal Mill is a next-generation ingredients company that makes sustainability a cinch by finding value in the overlooked and transforming it into delicious food. Our unique portfolio of premium, upcycled ingredients turns supply chain inefficiencies into profitable revenue streams. Partnering with today’s most forward-thinking brands, we’re building a new circular economy of food that’s better for people and the planet we love. Our first partner is Hodo Foods, a nationally-distributed tofu company, and we help them reduce their environmental impact by turning their soybean pulp, called okara, into a nutritious gluten-free flour.

02AA (O2 Artisans Aggregate) is an eco-industrial park located in West Oakland, is home to a network of artisans working collectively to develop and promote environmentally progressive projects. The systems created at O2 enable tenants and the community to utilize alternative energies & reduce and up-cycle various waste-streams. We’ll tour some of the tenants and spaces within the aggregate with a sneak peek inside. Come learn how 02AA is connecting businesses through maximizing their resource streams and supporting a sharing circular economy.

Welcome Reception and Urban Ore Tour
for the National Zero Waste Conference and 25th Recycling Update

Celebrating Zero Waste and all the R’s, Free
Self-Guided Urban Ore Tour – with staff stations for Q&A

Reuse, Repair and Recycle Business Networking
Recycling Pioneers Presentations
Special NCRA Players Performance
Finger foods and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.
This is a Zero Waste event! Bring your own napkin and cup!

North Bay Tour – Strategic Materials, Napa Recycling & Composting Facility and Napa Green Winery,

Many of you are well-schooled on collection programs and outreach, but what happens next? Come see the next steps in closing the loop.  We are lucky to have local Bay Area facilities with updated technologies to process collected materials into usable feedstocks.

Want to know what happens to your glass bottles?  If you recycle a bottle in California, it goes to Strategic Materials – the largest glass recycler in the country.  Strategic has a large state-of-the-art facility in Fairfield, and on this tour you’ll see how glass is received, cleaned, and processed into cullet for production into new glass bottles and other products.

And what about food scraps, yard trimmings…and even packaged food from grocery stores?  The Napa Recycling & Composting Facility has a brand new aerated static pile composting system, as well as an organics de-packager, organics pre-processing line, receiving building, and all electric equipment to sort and process 100,000+tons/year of organics into feedstock for the onsite composting facility.   Many of us have seen MRF sort lines for recyclables, but you also need to see an organics sort line and processing operation to get insight into how California is going to get to the state’s lofty organics diversion goals.  And, while we’re at it, you’ll also get a glimpse into the newly renovated MRF as well (including the new glass cleaning system and sorting robot).

And, since we’ll be in Napa…we’ll finish the tour with a visit to a local, Napa Green certified winery! Light lunch will be provided for all tour attendees.

Livermore Compost Tour: Waste Management and Vision Recycling, CASP Systems and Wente Vineyard

We’ll begin our tour at Waste Management’s Altamont Landfill. WM opened the first industrial Covered Aerated Static Pile (CASP) composting facility in Alameda County in April 2018. The long-awaited facility provides in-county processing of up to 500 tons per day of residential green waste co-collected with food scraps.

Wente Vineyards will host our lunch break, with the option of bringing your own lunch or purchasing from one of the food trucks on site and joining a tasting of locally-made wines. Wente will share their on-site composting system and other efforts that make it among only 2% of California wineries to have achieved the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation for both its vineyard and winery.

Lastly, Vision Recycling a private compost and mulch producer with facilities around the bay area will host the group at their new compost site using an Extended Aerated Static Pile system (EASP) processing clean, self-haul only green waste into a variety of products. .

Please dress appropriately for facility tours (close-toed shoes, sun protection and layered clothing) and either bring lunch or be prepared to purchase from a food truck at Wente Vineyards.

Transit sponsored by Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. 

Earth Flow In-Vessel Composting at Full Cycle Bioplastics Tour



Come join Green Mountain Technologies (GMT) to tour one of their premiere Earth Flow composting systems! Full Cycle Bioplastics in Mountain View utilizes GMT’s In-vessel composting system and other cutting-edge technology to turn organic matter into compostable bioplastic. At a systems level, Full Cycle mitigates food waste from the landfill by transforming it into a high-quality product.

GMT’s award-winning Earth Flow system aerates and shreds organic matter, speeding up composting time, all while mitigating odors. It’s ease-of-use makes it the perfect system for on-site composting! On the tour, you will have a chance to meet with Van Calvez, one of the engineers behind the Earth Flow design, and learn more about its operation!

2019 Tour Summary:

2018 Tour Summary:

2017 Tour Summary:

Recycle Bicycle – West Oakland
West Contra Costa County Organic Materials Processing Facility
Strategic Materials and Napa Recycling & Composting, Fairfield and Napa
Pier 96 Processing Line, San Francisco

2016 Tours:

IMPERFECT and UNWANTED FOOD TOUR9b5c12fc5c6d4eafd4ec706865cbb9d4

Interested in what happens to our local food scraps? How about unwanted food? On Wednesday, March 23, NCRA will tour Marin Sanitary’s food scrap collection program and the Marin Sanitary/Central Marin Sanitation Agency’s Food To Energy Anaerobic Digestion Facility. After lunch in San Rafael, the tour will visit Imperfect Produce, an innovative Emeryville CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that delivers “cosmetically-challenged” fruit and veggies to homes and offices. Space is very limited for this tour, CONTACT US and our office will get you set up!

2015 Tours:

AERC is one of the largest universal waste and electronics recycler in Northern California.  Their facility is a R2/RIOS Certified Electronics Recycler location.

Resilience Climate Change Expedition

2014 Tours:

Berkeley Recycling hosted by the Ecology Center, Berkeley

2013 Tours:

Sunnyvale SMART Station, Sunnyvale
Tri-Ced Recycling, Union City

2012 Tours:

El Cerrito Recycling Center, El Cerrito
Shoreway Environmental Center, San Carlos
Sonoma Compost, Cotati
USAgain, Hayward
Newby Island Landfill and Compost Facility, Milpitas