RethinkWaste held a Hazardous Waste 101 Webinar on February 18, 2021 (National Battery Day). This page provides the webinar recording, presentation slides, links to more resources, and all of the questions (with answers) submitted by attendees. If you have additional questions, fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
Household Hazardous Waste
- To make an appointment with San Mateo County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program (residents) visit smchealth.org/hhw
- For businesses in San Mateo County, visit smchealth.org/vsqg
- Drop off some hazardous materials at the Shoreway Public Recycling Center
- Find a paint recycling location near you at PaintCare.org
- Learn about refillable propane tanks at RefuelYourFun.org
- Not sure how to dispose of an item? Check out RecycleStuff.org
- To learn how to reduce hazardous waste in your home check out bit.ly/reducehhw
Safe Home Cleaning
- San Mateo County Steps for a Healthy Home – smchealth.org/healthyhome
- Women’s Voices for the Earth
- US EPA List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus
Webinar recording and live Q&A
Questions and Answers
1. What do I do with pressure treated wood?
Pressure treated wood is now classified as hazardous waste. To dispose of it, residents can bring it to the San Mateo County HHW facility for proper disposal. Set up on this acceptance should be happening soon. Check for updates on treated wood waste disposal on the County website.
2. How do I get battery collection in my apartment complex?
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 for free. Please note that only property managers/owners can request a bucket and coordinate pickups.
3. What is the history of National Battery Day?
We’re unsure of the exact origins of National Battery Day, but for us at RethinkWaste, the day is meant for raising awareness around battery hazards, risks, and proper disposal.
4. What happens to all the stuff that is recycled at the County HHW facility?
Depending on the item, some are recycled or reused and some are burned as fuel. Very little goes to the landfill.
5. How do I dispose of batteries that are in electric toothbrushes, smoke detectors, etc?
If you can’t remove the battery from the electric toothbrush, it is called an embedded battery which needs to be brought to the County HHW facility. Smoke detectors can sometimes be sent back to the manufacturer if they have a takeback program, or you can bring them to the Shoreway Public Recycling Center.
6. How to dispose of scrap lumber, not pressure treated, from household? 2×4 scraps, etc?
Scrap lumber can be brought to the Shoreway Environmental Center and will be classified as construction and demolition debris. There may be a fee associated with drop off. For pricing information, click here.
7. Are rechargeable battery packs (such as ones used for phones) allowed to be disposed of curbside with other batteries?
Yes, you can place these batteries in a bag with other batteries and place on top of your black garbage cart on collection day. Double check if you need to tape these batteries if they are lithium-ion.
8. Where can we recycle portable tools that have a rechargeable battery?
These can also be brought to the Shoreway Public Recycling Center, hardware stores like Home Depot, or if you live in a single-family household, you can put them in a zip-top bag and place on top of your garbage cart for your regular collection day. If you live in an apartment or condo with an orange battery bucket, you can place these batteries in there as well.
9. How do I dispose of empty red plastic gas containers?
If this container has a chasing arrows symbol with a number #1-7, it can go into the recycling. If no chasing arrow, it should go in the garbage.
10. Do you have to use specifically distilled white vinegar for mold? Can you use other types of vinegar?
Other vinegars like apple cider vinegar have a stronger scent, so we haven’t tried cleaning with it. But distilled white vinegar usually comes in larger sizes, is cheaper, and works well in cleaning.
11. How do you wash windows?
Diluted vinegar with water, and a microfiber cloth will clean up grime and fingerprints on the inside and outside of windows.
12. Why use microfiber cloths?
Microfiber cloths catch dirt and dust, and dry quickly. Remember to hang dry microfiber cloths after washing and avoid putting them in the dryer.