Batteries power our daily lives, but eventually reach their end of life and must be disposed of properly. It is illegal to put batteries in the trash.

Proper disposal of batteries helps prevent potentially hazardous materials in batteries (such as lithium, cadmium, and nickel) from harming the environment. It also protects waste workers and equipment from possible fires as batteries can get crushed inside recycling and/or trash compactors.

On September 7, 2016, our recycling facility at the Shoreway Environmental Center had a 4-alarm fire that was likely caused by a  lithium-ion battery. Thankfully, all staff were evacuated safely, but it shut down our facility for four months and cost over $8.5 million in damages to our recycling sorting equipment. Find out how you can dispose of batteries safely and easily in the RethinkWaste service area below. For more information about why safe battery disposal is important, read this N&R publication below about battery safety and safe disposal.

Single-Family Households

Residents in single-family homes in the RethinkWaste service area can place household batteries (i.e. rechargeable, alkaline, button) in a sealed clear zip-top bag and place ON TOP OF YOUR BLACK GARBAGE CART on your regular collection day. Please tape lithium-ion batteries before placing in the zip-top bag. No car or lead acid batteries. 

See list below for pick up locations for orange battery bags OR use you may use ANY clear zip-top bag.

Orange Household Battery & Cell Phone Collection Bag Pick-Up Locations

For use by single-family households ONLY.

Atherton Town Hall – Front Office Reception Desk & Police Dept. Dispatch91 Ashfield Rd.Atherton
Belmont Public Works lobbyOne Twin Pines Ln., Suite 385 (3rd Floor)Belmont
Burlingame City Hall – Business Office501 Primrose Rd.Burlingame
East Palo Alto City Hall2415 University Ave.East Palo Alto
East Palo Alto Permit Center1960 Tate St.East Palo Alto
Foster City City Hall610 Foster City Blvd.Foster City
Hillsborough Town Hall lobby1600 Floribunda Ave.Hillsborough
Arrillaga Family Recreation Center601 Laurel St.Menlo Park
Menlo Park Senior Center & Onetta Harris Community Center100 Terminal Ave.Menlo Park
West Bay Sanitary District Office500 Laurel St.Menlo Park
Redwood City City Hall – Revenue Services Desk1017 Middlefield Rd.Redwood City
Redwood City Community Activities Building1400 Roosevelt Ave.Redwood City
San Mateo County Office of Sustainability455 County Center, 4th FloorRedwood City
San Carlos City Hall – Public Works Desk600 Elm St., 2nd FloorSan Carlos
Recology San Mateo County225 Shoreway Rd.San Carlos
RethinkWaste Admin Office610 Elm St., Suite 202San Carlos
San Mateo City Hall330 W 20th Ave.San Mateo

Multi-Family Residents

Residents in multi-family dwellings (apartments/condos) with five or more units can place bagged batteries into an orange battery bucket. Buckets are often found in common areas, such as a lobby, multi-use room, mail room, or clubhouse. 

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 for free!

Note: Only property managers/owners can request a bucket and coordinate pickups.

Drop-Off Locations

There are a handful of convenient and free drop-off locations in the RethinkWaste service area, including the Shoreway Environmental Center, to drop-off batteries. See the map below. Please call the location before heading out to make sure they are open and if there is a limit.

For more drop-off locations beyond just household batteries, check out

San Mateo County’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility

If you have other hazardous waste to dispose of in addition to batteries, consider making an appointment for a HHW drop-off event near you. San Mateo County has a permanent facility in San Mateo that is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (except major holiday weekends) and temporary events throughout the County, including RethinkWaste member agencies such as East Palo Alto, Foster City, Menlo Park, and Redwood City. You can make an appointment by going to