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HHW FAQ

General information

Appointment

Why do I need an appointment?

We are limited to how many cars we can handle at each collection site. The appointments allow us to manage this limit, as well as minimize your wait in line. 

Why do you need my contact information?

We send you an appointment confirmation that includes the address and driving directions to the drop-off location.

Where do I park?

You don’t! A technician will greet you when you drive up. As staff checks you off the appointment list, turn off your engine and unlock your doors. Staff will then unload your waste for you. Then you drive away.

How do I unload my waste?

You don’t! State regulation requires you stay inside your vehicle at all times. Staff will unload your vehicle for you while onsite.

How long does it take to make this drop off?

Upon your arrival, it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much you bring, and if there is another resident being serviced ahead of you.

What is the next available appointment?

The San Mateo facility is open Thursdays through Saturdays, so if you call a day ahead, you’ll get an appointment the next day. At other locations, it depends on the collection schedule.

Location

Where is the drop-off location?

There are multiple drop-off locations. After you make your appointment, you will receive a confirmation that includes the address and driving directions to the specific location you chose.

Why can’t I find the address for the drop-off on your web page?

The drop-off addresses are not listed in an effort to prevent illegal dumping when we are not open. It also minimizes unexpected drop-ins at collections that are already booked to capacity.

Transportation and Limits

How much can I bring?

A resident is limited to transporting up to 10 liquid gallons or 50 solid pounds of household hazardous waste.

Why is there a limit?

Regulations governing the HHW Program specifically state these volume limits for residential transport.

Can I make multiple appointments for the same day?

Yes! Just remember that you are still subject to the transportation limit per vehicle.

How do I figure out how much I have?

Do your best to estimate how much is inside the containers—the actual amount—not the size of the containers. So if you have a 1 gallon can of paint that is only half full, count that as half a gallon. 

Can I have someone else drive the waste in for me?

Technically, no. The regulation only allows the resident of the home where the waste is coming from to transport it. If you are unable to drive, call us for other options!

Acceptance

Do I have to tell you what I’m bringing?

For waste in the original containers with intact and legible labels, no. But if you have anything without a label, or not in the original container, yes. Please tell us what it is, or otherwise put some kind of label on it that indicates what it is.

Can I put everything in plastic garbage bag?

Actually, we prefer boxes or crates to plastic garbage bags. Boxes do a better job of keeping the waste containers upright for safer transport so that nothing spills.

Can I get my container that I put all my stuff in back?

Yes!  Just let the technicians know when they greet you which containers you want back.

Can I get my gasoline can back?

For gasoline cans, it’s best to come to the San Mateo facility where we can pour the waste into our larger drums while you wait. At other locations, please call us to make arrangements for getting it back.

Waste Management

What do you do with all the stuff you collect – does it go to the landfill?

Any product container we receive that is half-full or more, still has the original label on, is intact and not leaking is diverted to our FREE public Product Give-Away Program. Over 50% of the waste is recycled, while the remaining waste is either reused, burned for fuel energy, or otherwise properly disposed. Nothing goes to landfill. 

Administrative

Does it cost money for me to drop it off?

No. San Mateo County residents can bring their HHW to the drop-off location for FREE!  

What are the hours of operation?

We are open Thursday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the San Mateo location. We are open one Saturday morning a month in Pacifica and South San Francisco. Other cities are annual one-day events, on specified Saturday mornings.

Commands