Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options
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Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options

Residential Door-to-Door HHW Collection Program

Properly and safely managing residential Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) -- including automotive wastes, chemical wastes (pool, paint, cleaning, and gardening products) and other items such as fluorescent lamps, computers and sharps -- is now as easy as picking up the phone or sending an e-mail. Residents just need to follow an easy three-step process and At Your Door Special Collection will conveniently collect from your home your HHW and other eligible items that cannot be disposed of in your garbage or recycled in your curbside recycling program.

This program is for all Foster City residents (single-family, condos, townhouses and apartments). Residents do not need to pay a separate fee for using the Door-to-Door program, the costs are already included in your garbage bills. Residents may schedule as many appointments as needed.

Please click here for an instruction sheet on how to prepare the special materials collection or contact At Your Door, at 800-HHW-PKUP (800-449-7587) to schedule an appointment for a door to door pickup.

Accepted Materials:

  • Automotive Products (motor oil, anti-freeze)
  • Batteries (home & car)
  • Latex and oil-based paints, varnishes and stains
  • Paint thinners and degreasers
  • Pool and spa chemicals
  • Household cleaners and cleaning supplies
  • Aerosol spray cans (non-empty)
  • Furniture and metal polishes
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and garden chemicals
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Art and hobby supplies
  • Fuels
  • Propane tanks from barbecues
  • Mercury Containing Items (fluorescent light bulbs, old thermometers, etc.)
  • Consumer electronics, TVs, computers, laptops, cell phones

Not Accepted Materials:

  • Ammunition
  • Asbestos 
  • Biological Materials
  • Business-generated materials
  • Electronics
  • Explosives
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders

For a more complete list of items accepted through the City's door-to-door collection program, please go to

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.


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.

San Mateo County:

San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (SMCWPPP) partners with residents and businesses to prevent pollution of our local water bodies; such as creeks, the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. A comprehensive directory of automotive and household hazardous waste drop-off and buy-back locations is available online or to obtain further information contact San Mateo County Environmental Health Division at (650) 372-6200.

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.

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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.

For additional information, please download a copy of a brochure that provides key information on fluorescent bulbs including safety tips.

Follow this link for a list of locations to recycle fluorescent bulbs.

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.


City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200