Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options
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Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options

San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program:

All County residents can dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) for free at San Mateo County's permanent HHW facility Thursdays-Saturdays (except holidays).

To participate, you must schedule an appointment at San Mateo County's HHW Program: www.smchealth.org/hhw or by calling (650) 363-4718, select option 3. The location will be disclosed once your appointment has been confirmed. No commercial waste is allowed. Limit 10 gallons or 50 pounds per appointment.

Accepted items include: cleaning products, fertilizers, pesticides, flammable liquids, fluorescent lights (compact and tubes), paint, acids/bases, aerosol cans, automotive supplies (car batteries, motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze, brake fluid), inks, and photo chemicals. All waste collected is reused, recycled, or stabilized for proper disposal to achieve zero waste and prevent any items from going to the landfill and contaminating our water and soil. No radioactive, explosive, or medical waste.

Other Options for Hard to Recycle Items:

Shoreway Environmental Center:

NEW! Residents can now conveniently dispose of expired or unwanted medications for free in a secured pharmaceutical drop-off box located at the Shoreway Environmental Center. Follow this link to read RethinkWaste's Press Release.

Batteries (household), cell phones, and fluorescent tubes are accepted from residents at the Public Recycling Center at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, anytime between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. Residents should enter at the Public Recycling Center drop-off at 333 Shoreway Road.

The following is the complete list of items that are accepted for FREE at the Public Recycling Center and accessible via Gate 1:

  • Plastic bags or "film plastic" –any type of plastic bag that stretches when pulled (including shrink wrap, grocery bags, dry cleaning, produce, bread, and frozen food bags)
  • Cardboard, Mixed Paper, Glass, Cans, & Plastic Containers
  • Electronics (computers, TVs, cell phones, etc.)
  • Household Batteries
  • Fluorescent light tubes (household only, 6 tubes per visit, must be less than 6ft)
  • Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
  • Used Motor Oil Filters
  • Used Motor Oil (up to 15 gallons)
  • Used Motor Antifreeze (up to 10 gallons)
  • Car Batteries
  • Cooking Oil (residential only-up to 15 gallons)
  • Latex paint (up to 10 gallons)
  • Scrap Metal
  • Sharps (must be in an authorized sharps container)
  • Used Clothing
  • Working Household Goods
  • Hard and Soft cover books

City Hall:

Batteries (household single use and rechargeable) and cell phones are accepted at City Hall from residents anytime between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Recycleworks:

Please visit the Recycleworks website for more information on how to recycle these household hazardous wastes and others such as motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze, car batteries, and latex paint.

Free E-Waste Collection:

Help keep Foster City ecologically clean! Bring your e-waste to 1221 E. Hillsdale Blvd. the last weekend of each month; 10 am - 5 pm, on Saturday or Sunday.  We will accept computers, monitors, televisions and any other electronic equipment. Please no appliances. This Free e-waste collection is co-sponsored by 5A Rent-A-Space and Geeks On Call. You may call (650) 341-2964, 9am-6pm daily, for more information.

  • 5A Rent-A-Space @ 1221 E Hillsdale Boulevard, Foster City, CA 94404, (650) 341-2964 
  • Brewer Island Elementary School @ 1151 Polynesia Drive, Foster City, CA 94404, September 15 - June 15, 8 am - 4 pm
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How to Recycle Batteries, Cell Phones, and Fluorescent Lamps:

All batteries, cell phones, and fluorescent lamps and tubes in California must be either recycled, taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, or taken to a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility, broker) or an authorized recycling facility. Batteries: All batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded. This includes all batteries of sizes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and all other batteries, both rechargeable and single use. Batteries are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials contained within. Batteries are potentially a valuable source of recyclable metal. Alkaline batteries, unless labeled low mercury, typically contain 1% mercury content. Although this amount seems small, due to the volume of batteries purchased and used, it can have serious impacts on the environment. Some estimates suggest that 88% of all mercury in the municipal solid waste stream is from ordinary non-rechargeable dry cell batteries such as the ordinary AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, and 9 Volt batteries.

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How to Recycle Cell Phones:

Cell phones contain toxic materials that threaten human health and the environment.

Both batteries and cell phones are classified as Universal Waste and are banned from disposal with garbage and must be handled properly.

Follow this link to learn more about Recycling Batteries and Cell Phones

Did you know? Recology collects used household batteries and cellphones curbside. Place your recyclable materials in a sealed plastic bag on top of your blue recycle cart for collection.

florescent lamp recycle logo

How to Recycle Fluorescent Lamps:

All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded because they contain mercury. This includes: Fluorescent tubes, including low mercury tubes. Compact fluorescents (CFLs), including low mercury lamps. When mercury-containing lamps or tubes are placed in the trash and collected for disposal, the lamps or tubes are broken and mercury is released to the environment. Mercury vapors from broken lamps or tubes can be absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. People who are particularly close to the breakage are especially at risk. Mercury from broken lamps and tubes can also be washed by rainwater into waterways. All fluorescent lamps and tubes should be recycled.

Please click here for a list of locations that accept fluorescent tubes and bulbs and safety tips for broken lights.

Did you know? Foster City residents can bring up to 6 fluorescent lights per household for proper disposal to the city's annual e-waste events. Go to the city's homepage to view the calendar of events for this year.

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Foster City, CA 94404
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