Household Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste, account 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.

Drop Off
Residents may drop off accepted items at the Recology of the Coast Recycling Yard.  Photo ID’s or a Recology bill may be checked upon arrival.

Accepted Items:

  • Water and oil based paint (five-gallon per month/per household limit)
  • Motor oil and filters (five-gallon per month/per household limit)
  • Anti-freeze (five-gallon per month/per household limit)
  • Car batteries
  • Household batteries
  • Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs
  • Sharps

Visit San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste to drop off other items and learn about recycling days in your area. You may drop off items at the monthly San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Day in Pacifica. Please call 650-363-4718 to schedule an appointment.

Commercial
Businesses may contact the County of San Mateo for more information on business hazardous waste disposal. Call (650) 372-6200 or visit smchealth.org/VSQG.

 

Batteries

Curbside Battery Collection
Put household batteries (e.g. rechargeable, alkaline, button) inside a tightly sealed plastic bag, and place on top of your closed recycling bin on collection day.

Apartment Battery Bucket Collection
Check to see if your building has a designated area for battery collection in your building. If you don’t see one in a shared location, contact your property manager to request a collection.

Property Managers
Establish a centrally located collection container at your property – a lobby, multi-use room, mail room or clubhouse – for residents to place their bagged batteries or cell phones. When you’re ready to schedule a collection, place them all in a sealed plastic bag and leave in the mutually determined collection location or on top of your blue recycle cart for collection.

Drop Off
Most Walgreens, Whole Foods and Radio Shack’s also accept old batteries and cell phones for recycling. We advise you to check with your local store first before you go.

Medications

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. Waste water 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
A drop-off container is available at many local police departments. Check with your nearest department for verification.

Paint

San Mateo County has retailers that provide take-back programs at no charge. Residents can drop off both latex and oil-based paints at locations listed by PaintCare. Please call ahead to confirm hours of operation and program parameters.

 

Sharps

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 includes: Hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for medical purposes.

Drop Off
Place home-generated sharps waste in biohazard containers (available for purchase at local pharmacies and some office supply stores) and bring them to Recology of the Coast Recycling Yard or contact your health care provider, local pharmacies, hospitals or clinics to ask if they offer a collection program.

Mail-Back Service:
Visit California Integrated Waste Board for a list of companies that are authorized to provide sharps waste mail-back services in California.

 

 

 

For other types of household hazardous waste:

Contact the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Hotline at: (650) 363-4718 or visit the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program.