Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options
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Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options

San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program:

San Mateo County residents can make an appointment to drop off their HHW in San Mateo on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. To make an appointment, please visit their website or call (650) 363 - 4718 and select option 3. For more information on what is accepted by San Mateo County's HHW Program, please click here.

Can't make it to San Mateo? View the list of 2017 HHW Collection Events offered at other locations throughout San Mateo County.

Other Options for Hard to Recycle Items:

Shoreway Environmental Center:

Conveniently dispose of expired or unwanted medications for free in a secured pharmaceutical drop-off box located at the Shoreway Environmental Center.

Batteries (household), cell phones, and fluorescent tubes are accepted from residents at the Public Recycling Center at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, 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 items that are accepted for FREE at the Public Recycling Center (enter 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

Used Motor Oil and Filter Recycling

The County of San Mateo highlights two easy and free options to safely dispose of used motor oil and filters together. To learn more about these options, please visit their website.

PaintCare Program:

Orchard Supply Hardware, located at 1010 Metro Center Boulevard, is a PaintCare drop-off site in Foster City. Households and businesses can drop off up to 10 gallons of paint with per visit. Paint is accepted at Orchard Supply Hardware during regular business hours, but it is recommended that those who are interested call in advance for the hours and to make sure that the store can accept the amount and type of paint being recycled. For information on what is and what is not accepted, please click here.  To find other PaintCare locations, click here.

City Hall:

Batteries (household single use and rechargeable) and cell phones are accepted at City Hall from residents between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday excluding holidays.

Foster City periodically hosts one-day e-waste collection events.  Watch our website or follow us on social media for the dates and times.

County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability:

Visit the Office of Sustainability website for more information on how to recycle household hazardous wastes such as motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze, car batteries, and latex paint.


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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.

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

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