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Safe Disposal of Batteries

Batteries power our daily lives, but eventually reach their end of life and must be disposed of properly. It is illegal to put batteries in the trash. 
 
Proper disposal of batteries helps prevent potentially hazardous materials in batteries (such as lithium, cadmium, and nickel) from harming the environment. It also protects waste workers and equipment from possible fires as batteries can get crushed inside recycling and/or trash compactors. On September 7, 2016, our recycling facility at the Shoreway Environmental Center had a 4-alarm fire that was likely caused by a  lithium-ion battery. Thankfully, all staff were evacuated safely, but it cost over $8.5 million in damages to our recycling-sorting equipment. 
 
Find out how you can dispose of batteries safely and easily in the RethinkWaste service area below. For more information about why safe battery disposal is important, read this N&R publication below about battery safety and safe disposal. 

Single-Family Households

Starting September 3, 2018, residents in single-family homes in the RethinkWaste service area can place household batteries (i.e. rechargeable, alkaline, button) in a sealed clear zip-top bag and place ON TOP OF YOUR BLACK GARBAGE CART on your regular collection day. Please tape lithium-ion batteries before placing in the zip-top bag. All single-family households were also mailed two transparent orange zip-top bags. Below are instructions on how to use the bags.

Household Battery & Cell Phone Collection Bag
Bolsa de colección de baterías del hogar y teléfonos celulares
家用電池和手機收集袋

  • Instructions on how to use the orange bag
    No car or lead acid batteries.

    1. Put household batteries and cell phones into bag and seal. Fill bag at least half way. For safety, please tape over both ends or each lithium battery.
    2. Place bag on top of your BLACK GARBAGE CART on your regular collection day.

    See list below for pick up locations OR use you may use ANY clear zip-top bag.
  • Instrucciones sobre cómo usar el bolso naranja
    Excepto baterías de automóvil o plomo-ácido

    1. Coloque las baterías domésticas y los teléfonos celulares en la bolsa y selle la bolsa. Llene la bolsa hasta la mitad. Para mayor seguridad, coloque la cinta sobre ambos extremos de cada batería de litio.

    2. Coloque la bolsa encima de su CARRITO NEGRO DE BASURA en su día regular de recolección.

    ¿Necesitas otra bolsa? Consulte la lista abajo para los lugares donde puede recoger mas bolsas O puede usar CUALQUIER bolsa con cierre.
  • 關於如何使用橙色包的說明
    不包括汽車電池或鉛蓄電池

    1. 把家用電池和手機放入收集袋中並封口。袋子至少要裝滿一半。為了確保安全,請用膠帶封住每個鋰電池的兩端。
    2. 在定期的垃圾收集日,把收集袋放在您的黑色垃圾桶之上。

    需要更多袋子? 請參閱下面的列表了解取件地點 或您可以使用任何透明的拉鍊袋。
Orange Household Battery & Cell Phone Collection Bag Pick-Up Locations
For use by single-family households ONLY.

BURLINGAME

City Hall at Business Office
501 Primrose Rd.

FOSTER CITY

City Hall
610 Foster City Blvd.

Recreation Center (City Info rack in hallway)
650 Shell Blvd.

HILLSBOROUGH

Town Hall lobby
1600 Floribunda Ave.

MENLO PARK

Arrillaga Family Recreation Center.
601 Laurel St.

Menlo Park Senior Center & Onetta Harris Community Center
100 Terminal Ave.

REDWOOD CITY

City Hall at Revenue Services Desk
1017 Middlefield Rd.

Community Activites Building
1400 Roosevelt Ave.

SAN CARLOS

Recology San Mateo County Offices
225 Shoreway Rd.

RethinkWaste Offices
610 Elm St., Suite 200

SAN MATEO

City Hall
330 W 20th Ave.

More locations to come!
Updated 9/20/2018

Multi-Family Residents

Residents in multi-family dwellings (apartments/condos) with five or more units can place bagged batteries into an orange battery bucket. Buckets are often found in common areas, such as a lobby, multi-use room, mail room, or clubhouse.

If you don't see one at your location, ask your property manager or owner to get a bucket for your building(s) from Recology San Mateo County for free! Note: only property managers/owners can request a bucket and coordinate pickups.

Drop-Off Locations

There are a handful of convenient and free drop-off locations in the RethinkWaste service area, including the Shoreway Environmental Center, to drop-off batteries. See the map below. Please call the location before heading out to make sure they are open and if there is a limit.

For more drop-off locations beyond just household batteries, check out RecycleStuff.org.

 

San Mateo County's Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility

If you have other hazardous waste to dispose of in addition to batteries, consider making an appointment for a HHW drop-off event near you. San Mateo County has a permanent facility in San Mateo that is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (except major holiday weekends) and temporary events throughout the County, including RethinkWaste member agencies such as East Palo Alto, Foster City, Menlo Park, and Redwood City. You can make an appointment by going to www.smchealth.org/hhw.

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