Hazardous Waste - Recology San Mateo County
California Cont.
Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste accounts for significant amounts of toxic waste in landfills. Items such as electronics, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, paints, pesticides, cleaning products, old medications, and other chemicals are illegal to put in the garbage or pour down a drain or gutter because they contaminate our soil, drinking water, and air.

Although Recology San Mateo County does not handle hazardous waste, you can learn more about safe disposal with San Mateo County Health. For a list of acceptable items from the County program click here.

Looking for how to properly dispose of a specific item? Check out www.RecycleStuff.org for a comprehensive database of drop-off locations for your hazardous waste!

Recology offers a free Language Line with over 170 different languages through our Customer Service Department. Please contact us for more information. You can also visit the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability for general recycling and waste reduction information.


Apartment Battery & Cell Phone Collection Bucket Check to see if your building/complex has a designated area for battery and cell phone collection. If you don’t see one in a central location, contact your Property Manager who can request a free Recology Collection Bucket.

Property Managers: Establish a centrally located collection container at your property – a lobby, multi-use room, mailroom, or clubhouse – for residents to place their bagged batteries and cell phones, in a collection bucket provided at no charge by Recology San Mateo County. When you’re ready to schedule a collection, place the bucket in the mutually agreed upon collection area and call Recology San Mateo County to schedule your free pickup.

Drop Off:
Many local retailers also accept old batteries and cell phones for proper disposal. Please visit www.RecycleStuff.org for drop-off locations.  You may also drop off batteries and cell phones, along with other electronics, at the Shoreway Environmental Center at 333 Shoreway Road in San Carlos. To learn more about battery disposal, click here



When medications are disposed of in the trash or down the drain, they can end up in the wrong hands, or in our soils and waterways. Wastewater treatment facilities are not properly equipped to remove medicinal substances from the water. The result? A wide range of pharmaceuticals have been found in our rivers and lakes.

Drop Off:
San Mateo County has many pharmacies (including all CVS locations) and local police departments that provide convenient take-back of unwanted medicines at no charge.  Visit San Mateo County’s Safe Medicine Disposal Program and Med-Project.org for more information.



San Mateo County has retailers that provide take-back programs at no charge. Residents can drop off both latex and oil-based paints at the locations below:

  • Grays Paint & Wallpaper, 601 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA
  • Dunn-Edwards, 3580 El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA
  • Hassett Ace, 282 Woodside Plaza, Redwood City, CA
  • Hassett Ace Hardware, 545 First Avenue, San Mateo, CA
  • Grays Paint & Wallpaper, 783 California Drive, Burlingame, CA
  • Outdoor Supply Hardware, 2110 Middlefield Rd. Redwood City, CA

Visit PaintCare for more information and other locations.



Residents with medical conditions requiring the use of hypodermic needles are required to arrange for proper disposal. California law prohibits the disposal of “sharps waste” in trash or recycling containers.  Home-generated sharps waste include: hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for medical purposes.

Drop off:
Contact your health care provider, local pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics to ask if they offer a collection program. Bio-hazard containers used to contain sharps waste are available for purchase at local pharmacies and some office supply stores. Visit San Mateo County Health Department or Flows to Bay for information on sharps drop-off locations.

Mail-Back Service For more information, check out CalRecycle’s website for Mail-Back Services.


Did you know that just one quart of improperly disposed of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of fresh water? Please do your part to properly recycle your used motor oil and filters.

Visit FlowsToBay to find a motor oil drop-off location and learn more.


Universal and electronic waste are prohibited from the trash.


Electronic & universal waste includes:
Batteries, fluorescent bulbs, computers, monitors, cords, phones, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, microwave ovens, or iPods.

Drop Off:
Visit the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability or call 888.442.2666 to find the nearest location. You can also donate these items to several non-profit and local organizations.  You may also drop off electronics at the Shoreway Environmental Center.

GreenCitizen also recycles televisions, computers, printers, computer peripherals and a wide variety of other electronics. Everything is recycled in the United States, so there is no shipping of electronic waste overseas, and they have the e-steward certification! See a full list of what Green Citizen recycles.

Many manufacturers also take back their old equipment for reuse and recycling:

Additional Resources:
California Department of Toxic Substances Control
ReVolt Recycling


Treated wood is any wood that has been pressure treated with a chemical preservative to protect the wood against attacks from insects, microorganisms, or fungi. It is typically used in outdoor applications such as fences, decks, stairways, etc.  Unfortunately, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control Program governs the ways in which and where treated wood can be safely disposed of.   To properly and safely dispose of treated wood waste visit the California State Water Resource Board‘s list of approved landfills.