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Household Hazardous Waste

Overview

Household Hazardous Waste

What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?

HHW is waste from your home that is toxic, corrosive, flammable, or reactive based on its chemical properties. Products such as batteries, paint and paint thinner, pesticides and fertilizers, and poisons are considered hazardous waste.

Household Hazardous Waste

It’s illegal and unsafe to dump this waste in the trash or down the drain. San Mateo County’s HHW Program helps residents reuse, recycle, or responsibly manage residential hazardous waste for free. Learn about the multiple easy and free ways to safely and properly remove HHW from your home here.

If you have questions, contact us at hhw@smcgov.org or (650) 372-6200.

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Middle School Education Program

The San Mateo County Environmental Health Services Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Middle School Education Program has created a 30-45 minute interactive presentation that explores: 

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HHW Program Overview

San Mateo County’s HHW Program helps residents reuse, recycle, or responsibly manage residential hazardous waste for free. There are multiple easy and free ways to safely and properly remove HHW from your home. County residents can:

  1. Local Drop-off locations (no appointment needed): Find local recycling and disposal options for paint, electronics, fluorescent lights, medicines and more – no appointment needed!
  2. Curbside Pick up: Take advantage of battery and used oil pick-up on your recycle/garbage collection day. Check your hauler for details.
  3. Make an HHW drop-off appointment. Review the program rules and schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you.  
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HHW MOST WANTED

Batteries, Paint, Fluorescent Lights

Did you know that the top three most disposed of household hazardous waste items in San Mateo County are single-use and rechargeable batteries (such as AAA, AA, C, button cell, 9-volt, and lithium-ion batteries) paint, and fluorescent lights? 

General information

What Goes Where

Learn which types of waste are and are not accepted in the HHW Program. You’ll also find a list of alternative safe management options for hard-to-recycle and special items.

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Curbside Pick-Up Options

Depending on your hauler, you may have different curbside options available to you. All haulers below offer a household battery pickup program, and some provide additional services such as used motor oil and filters, used cooking oil, and compact fluorescent lights. Click on your hauler for more information.

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MOVING? THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

HHW can only legally be transported by the person or persons who generated that waste. If you’re moving out make sure to properly dispose of your HHW, and if you’re moving in—confirm that you’re not stuck with the leftovers. Products such as batteries, paint and paint thinner, pesticides and fertilizers, and poisons are just some examples of hazardous waste — and probably won’t make the move.

Moving creates a long list of to-do’s whether you’re buying or selling a home. Here’s a checklist to help you stay organized.

General information

Free Product Give Away Program

Too Good to Waste

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Free Product Give Away Program is open under current County COVID-19 requirements. 

Free Product Give Away Program

Many household products stored in the garage or under the sink often get forgotten about, take up valuable storage space, and can become a hazard to you, your children, or your pets. Give these products a second life by considering these more sustainable and safe solutions that are better for your wallet and your neighbor!     

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Where to Recycle Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights save electricity and are a good choice for energy conservation. However, all fluorescent lights contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. This means the lights are toxic and can’t be put in the trash.