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Recycling Truck Catches Fire in San Mateo

On April 2, 2021, a Recology San Mateo County rear end loader truck carrying recyclables experienced a fire at approximately 5:20 a.m. The driver is safe, though the truck could not be recovered due to fire damage. The fire occurred on East Santa Inez Ave near Highland Ave in San Mateo. The City of San Mateo Police and Fire departments arrived on scene and extinguished the fire inside the truck as well as some minor burning of bushes near the truck location. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

While we don’t know the exact cause of the fire that occurred inside the truck, it could have easily been due to a lithium-ion battery that was incorrectly placed into the recycling. RethinkWaste continues to emphasize the need for safe and proper disposal to avoid the hazards of fires, which can result in safety risks for our workers, environment, and even facility. In September 2016, our Shoreway Environmental Center’s Materials Recovery Faility suffered a four-alarm fire that caused nearly $8.5 million in damages likely due to a lithium-ion battery.

For tips or best practices on safe battery disposal, please visit RethinkBatteries.org and our social media channels for information.

Attention Atherton Residents: New Service Information

On September 16, 2020, the Town of Atherton’s Council voted in favor of exiting the South Bayside Waste Management Authority Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and to finalize contract negotiations with GreenWaste Recovery for recycling, compost, and solid waste services. 

This means that the current contract the Town of Atherton has with Recology San Mateo County for waste collection services will expire on December 31, 2020.  

Please review the GreenWaste Atherton webpage for more information about the transition and information about new services, rates, and more. General questions and answers for residents can be found below.

The Town of Atherton has been a longtime valued member of the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA/RethinkWaste) and we respect their decision.

Atherton customers can direct all inquiries regarding new services and rates that will begin January 1, 2021 to GreenWaste Recovery at (650) 798-5999 or by visiting the GreenWaste Atherton webpage.

This section highlights general questions and answers for Atherton residents to refer to.

1. Why will Recology no longer be my waste hauler?

The Town of Atherton decided at its September Town Council to exit the Joint Powers Authority. All information regarding the exit can be found here.

2. When will I no longer have Recology as my waste hauler?

Effective January 1, 2021, your new waste hauler will be GreenWaste.

3. What will happen to my carts?

Your Recology carts will be removed at the same time your new carts are delivered on your service day. According to Recology and GreenWaste, the cart replacement process will begin on January 18, 2021 and will occur during a 3-4 week period. Set all carts in their service location by 6:30am on your service day, even if they are empty. GreenWaste and Recology are using the same cart removal/delivery subcontractor to minimize the opportunity for disruption. You will receive the same size and number of carts you currently have based on the information in Recology’s database. More information on Recology‘s and GreenWaste‘s websites

4. Will my carts get serviced if my regular collection day falls on Christmas and New Year’s Day?

There are no collection services on Christmas Day. Friday customers, whose Recycling, Compost, and Garbage service falls on Christmas Day, will be serviced on Saturday, December 26, 2020 by Recology San Mateo County. Please have carts out by 6:00 a.m. for regular collection services.

There is also no collection services on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2021. If your service day is on this day, your service collection day will be on Saturday, January 2, 2021 by GreenWaste.

5. What do I do with my holiday tree?

Holiday tree collection services will occur through GreenWaste since Recology’s new holiday tree schedule is now January 2 – 31.

Households wanting to dispose of their holiday trees (non-flocked trees) before January 1 should place holiday trees inside their green compost cart. If the tree is larger than 8 feet, please cut trees in half and place inside green compost carts. Please remove all decorations and tree stands.

6. How will the waste hauler changing affect my costs?

All information about new services and costs with GreenWaste can be found on their website at: https://www.greenwaste.com/service_area/atherton/

7. Can I still drop off at the Shoreway Transfer Station and Public Recycling Center?

Yes, the Shoreway Transfer Station and Public Recycling Center are open to all members of the public.

Join Us for Rethink Recycling Days!

This year, we are celebrating Rethink Recycling Day by hosting two full days of virtual tours and workshops in partnership with local experts from community-focused businesses and organizations.

If you want to see where your waste goes, heal your sick houseplant, keep your food fresher for longer, or fix a broken appliance in your home, join us virtually on Saturday, November 7th and Saturday, November 14th for these no-cost offerings:

  • Virtual Shoreway Tours
  • Houseplant Care & Home Herb Garden How-To – Presented by Lyngso Garden Materials
  • Waste Bingo & Crafts for Kids!
  • Virtual Fixit Clinic
  • Sourdough for Starters – Presented by Zero Waste Chef
  • Food Safety How-To’s: Storing, Identifying Imperfect Produce & Jamming – Presented by Master Food Preservers
  • Mental Health Resiliency & Coping w/ Climate Change – Presented by Resource Innovation Group
  • Get to Know Your Community Partners – Presented in conjunction with Recology San Mateo County, South Bay Recycling, Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County Parks & Office of Sustainability
  • Happy Hour w/ RethinkWaste Executive Director & Poster Contest Winner Recognition

Sign up for the workshops are required and information on how to sign-up and more information about Rethink Recycling Days can be found at: rethinkwaste.org/rrd

RethinkWaste COVID-19 Updates

General RethinkWaste information

  • Where can I find updates about RethinkWaste’s actions on COVID-19?
    • You can find updates on the Latest News section of our website. You can also follow our social media channels for updates!
  • Are Brown Act meetings still occurring?
    • Brown Act meetings (such as Board of Directors, Technical Advisory Committee, Finance Committee meetings, etc.) are still occurring virtually. For more information, visit our meetings page.
  • Is the RethinkWaste administrative office above the library still open?
    • No. The City of San Carlos has directed that the library building remain closed, so all Staff have been working remotely.
  • I have questions for RethinkWaste, how can I best contact you?
    • You may email us at info@rethinkwaste.org or leave a voicemail at our main line (650) 802-3500. Staff will return emails and voicemails within one-two business days.

Shoreway Environmental Center/South Bay Recycling Information

  • Can I still drop items off at the Public Recycling Center in San Carlos?
    • No. The Shoreway Public Recycling Center in San Carlos is temporarily closed. Check Latest News or social media channels for updates.
  • Can I still drop items off at the Transfer Station In San Carlos?
    • Yes. The Shoreway Transfer Station in San Carlos has reopened to the public. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m. -6 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. All site employees and visitors are required to use masks and observe all mandated social distancing measures while on site.
  • Can I still pick up free compost?
    • Yes. Now that the Transfer Station has reopened, residents of the RethinkWaste service area can obtain up to two 50-pound bags of compost free of charge. Bags and shovels are provided, though residents are welcome to bring their own gloves, shovels, and residents must load the compost themselves. Find more information here.
  • Are recyclable items still being sorted?
    • Yes. Recyclables are still being sold to domestic and international markets.
  • Are there precautions in place for South Bay Recycling workers at the Shoreway facility?
    • Workers at the Shoreway facility are practicing physical distancing with required protective equipment with increased cleaning and sanitizing of workspaces and common areas.
  • Can I put my masks, gloves, wipes, or other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the recycling or compost?
    • No, these always belong in the garbage even if the label says biodegradable. They contaminate the recycling stream and provide a health risk for facility workers.

Collection Services/Recology Information

  • I was notified that Bulky Item Collections (BIC) have been paused. When can I reschedule?
    • BIC services resumed on May 4th. Recology will complete all previously scheduled appointments that were suspended first. New appointments will be booked and serviced beginning the week of May 11th.
  • Have the kinds of items that go into the recycling cart changed?
    • Items that belong in each cart has not changed. Please continue to use your recycling, compost, and garbage carts as normal. If you need help knowing which item goes where, check out our residents page.
  • Are all three streams (compost, recycling, garbage) still being collected?
    • Yes. Compost, recycling, and garbage are all still being collected by Recology San Mateo County and processed at the Shoreway Environmental Center.
  • Will my service schedule change due to COVID-19?
    • At the moment, there are no service schedule changes for residential customers.
  • Can I still dispose of household batteries by placing them on top of my black garbage cart?
    • Yes. Residents in single-family homes can still place batteries in a clear zip-top bag on top of your black garbage cart on your regular collection day.
    • Some apartments or condominiums participate in Recology’s battery collection program. If so, collect batteries in a clear zip-top bag and place inside the orange bucket normally found in common areas such as a lobby, multi-use room, mailroom, or club house. 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.

Bulky Item Collection Temporarily Suspended

Updated May 2, 2020

Recology has reinstated the Bulky Item Collection Program to new requests. Please be patient as there may be a backlog of residents wanting to use this program.

March 30, 2020

To prioritize the safety of their employees, customers, and the communities they serve, Recology San Mateo County has taken the precautionary measure to temporarily suspend the Bulky Item Collection Program in the RethinkWaste service area as of March 30, 2020. The Bulky Item Collection Program requires human handling of the materials, whereas weekly garbage collection is performed by mechanical means. The temporary suspension of this program avoids further risk of exposure of Recology Staff, while still providing other essential waste collection services, such as recycling, organics and solid waste collection services.

For more information, please visit the Recology website.

Please check back here or our social media channels for the latest updates on when the service will be available again.

Please note that recycling, composting, and garbage services are still occurring for residents and businesses by Recology San Mateo County in the RethinkWaste service area as this is an essential infrastructure service. Please continue to place carts out the night before your normal collection day to ensure proper service.