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Public Open House Days

When:

Tours are offered to the public on the first and third Thursday of the month at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and run for an hour to an hour and a half. Additionally, public tours will be offered every Thursday in July to meet the high summer demand.

Reservations:

Reservations are required for all summer public tours. Follow this link to reserve your free spots! Tour maximum capacity is 25 individuals and will be closed once the limit is reached. Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants are required to sign a waiver upon registration. If you are not able to schedule online, call 650-802-3508 to reserve your spot over the phone.

What I need to know before coming:

  • Every participant needs to wear closed toe shoes with a solid heel. Anyone in opened toe shoes will be turned away.
  • We encourage participants to bring a cloth (e.g. bandana) to cover their nose if they’re sensitive to dust and smells.
  • When you arrive, please wait in the outdoor education area under the blue tarp, adjacent to the parking lot. Educators will come out and meet you to begin the tour.
  • This is an operating facility with trucks, heavy machinery, and public traffic. Please do not wander and stay on designated walkways.
  • Tours will begin on time. Please arrive 10 minutes early to park and be ready for the start of the tour.
  • This tour is open to the general public aged four and up. 

Coming from Shoreway Road, please enter in Gate 2 with signs for Tour Parking. We have a limited parking lot, but for safety reasons need to keep you and your car in this designated lot. If you arrive and the spots are all filled, please look for an educator in a bright orange vest to get further parking directions. You are not permitted to park anywhere else on site.

Public Tours Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • 1. Is there a minimum age requirement?
    Yes, there is a minimum age requirement of 4 years old. Please reference question 2 to see if the tour is appropriate for your child. All children 2nd grade and below will not be able to walk through the recycling facility for safety reasons. They will, however, be able to enter and stand on a platform that overlooks the facility.
  • 2. My four-year-old son loves garbage trucks! Is the tour appropriate for him?
    We love garbage trucks too! While young kids do enjoy seeing the trucks, machines, and piles of recycling, compost, and trash, the information we share is too advanced for children younger than 3rd grade. Approximately 60% of the tour is information sharing (talking) and 40% or less is viewing the action.
  • 3. This tour is for the public. What about school, community, and/or business groups?
    You can schedule a private tour for a group of 10 or more individuals 3rd grade and above by visiting our school tours page and businesses and community groups page.
  • 4. What does the tour consist of?
    • A synopsis of the solid waste operation in RethinkWaste’s service area
    • A visit to the Material Recovery Facility to see how our recyclable materials are sorted
    • A visit to the Transfer Station to see and learn about the transfer of compost, garbage, and construction and demolition (C &D) material
    • A description of what items go into each of the three bins
    • Information about the Public Recycling Center
    • Question and answer time
  • 5. Are tours of the Shoreway Environmental Center free?
    Yes, all tours are free. Please follow this link to schedule your spot today!
  • 6. Is the Shoreway Environmental Center wheelchair accessible?
    The outdoor and indoor Education Center, Transfer Station, and Rethinker Room are wheelchair accessible. From these locations, you can see and hear about operations of Shoreway.
  • 7. May I bring my stroller?
    Yes, the same information applies from question 6.
  • 8. What happens if I don’t register and I show up?
    If all 30 spots are not full, we will have you register through Eventbrite on the spot. If all 30 spots are full, you will be asked to schedule for a different day and time.
  • 9. Can I be asked to leave a tour?
    Yes. Any person engaging in unsafe or disruptive behavior on the tour will be requested to leave.
  • 10. Is the facility safe to tour?
    Our tours are safe for all community members, but we need your help to keep them safe. This is a working solid waste facility that receives over 3.6 million pounds of waste every day! This is an operating facility with trucks, heavy machinery, and public traffic. Please do not wander around the facility and please stay on designated walkways. Please also stay with the tour educators for the entirety of your tour and pay attention to safety rules.
  • 11. Is there a snack or bathroom break built into the tour for my child?
    No, please eat before or after the tour. The bathroom is located in our Education Center which we will be in for over half the tour.
  • 12. Do I need to bring anything?
    Closed-toe shoes are required. You will be provided with a safety vest, headphones, a radio, and hand sanitizer. We have masks and ear plugs available upon request. You may bring your own headphones with a 3.5 mm plug if you would prefer to use your own. We encourage you to bring a handkerchief or bandana if you are sensitive to dust/smells.
  • 13. I have further questions. Who can I call?
    You may call any one from our education team to further answer your questions: Madison at 650-802-3508; Nicole at 650-802-3502; Dennis at 650-610-1624; and our main line at 650-802-3500.

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