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.


Batteries Single-Family Homes Curbside Collection

Place household batteries (e.g. rechargeable, alkaline, button) and cell phones inside a sealed clear plastic bag, and place them on top of your closed black garbage cart on your regular collection day.




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 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
  • Grays Paint & Wallpaper, 783 California Drive, Burlingame, 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 freshwater? Please do your part to properly recycle your used motor oil and filters.

Single-Family Homes Curbside Collection
Place motor oil and filters next to your blue recycle cart for pickup on your regular collection day.  You may request up to five one-gallon plastic jugs for your used motor oil and up to five zippered plastic bags for your used oil filters, at no cost. You may also use your own clear zip-top plastic bags and clear plastic containers for used motor oil, such as a one-gallon milk jug.  Make sure that lids on plastic containers are tightly sealed.


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.  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 Recourse Board‘s list of approved landfills.