Reduce waste

San Mateo County’s best sites for recycling and waste issues are RecycleWorks and the Shoreway Environmental Center


Give away

  • is a fantastic way of giving away your unwanted resuables. It can be as simple as moving boxes or a soccer ball, or as elaborate as kitchen cabinets. I posted our old kitchen cabinets, sink, and disposal. They all found new homes. See: Freecycle Belmont or Freecycle Redwood City

freecycle is free

  • Peanuts: The UPS Store will take clean Styrofoam or biodegradable peanuts for shipping. Just drop them by our local UPS Store on Laurel Street in bags or boxes


  • ReStore accepts gently-used home improvement goods, furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances for resale. The proceeds are used by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help build and renovate homes and communities
  • RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) is looking for items that can be used to help in the school room. It can be odd stuff that would make good craft projects
  • Recology’s bulky item pickup takes donations: You can separate the garbage from reusable items, tag them as a “DONATION” and Recology will donate them


  • If your stuff is so good it is worth selling, then think of the Annual San Carlos Citywide Garage Sale. It’s an annual event in the fall, and you can sign up over the summer on the website


  • San Carlos residents get free compost year round! The food scraps and yard waste you put in your green bin have been transformed into soil enriching compost, and you can get it from the Shoreway Environmental Center


  • Curbside Pickup: The list of recyclables continues to grow. See the Shoreway Environmental Center website for the latest
  • Recycling Sites: If you are interested in all types of recycling, check out the Northern California Recycling Association
  • Styrofoam: There isn’t a local place to recycle Styrofoam, but Waste to Waves has a program to recycle Styrofoam into new surfboards, with collection locations in San Francisco and Santa Cruz

Safe disposal

  • Hazardous Household Waste: San Mateo County has a curbside collection service for toxic materials such as paint, pesticides, herbicides, cleaning products, automotive parts, etc. Use the web form or call to schedule a pickup
  • Drugs: Drugs are difficult to dispose of properly. Fortunately, the San Carlos Police Department has a safe and convenient drop off container located at Police Headquarters in City Hall, 600 Elm St. NEVER flush any drugs down the toilet — they pass through our sewer system, so they end up polluting the bay and endangering the health of marine life. For additional disposal locations, see the County of San Mateo health system web site
  • Sharps: needles, syringes or lancets can now be easily disposed of at multiple nearby locations. See the Flows to Bay web site for latest details


  • The best site for keeping current on legislation related to recycling and waste is Californians Against Waste Their mission: “Californians Against Waste is dedicated to conserving resources, preventing pollution and protecting California’s environment through the development, promotion and implementation of waste reduction and recycling policies and programs”
  • The California Product Stewardship Council sponsors and advocates for legislation focused on producer responsibility. Their site has lots of information about current bills in the California Legislature and recycling/reducing waste for many types of products.