In-Person School Tours

School tours of the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos offer students an opportunity to learn first-hand what happens to their recyclables, yard trimmings, food scraps and garbage inside the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and Transfer Station. View our school tour requirements below.

All school tours are an hour and 15 minutes long. Teachers can schedule a tour below. Tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. No-charge bus services may be requested for 3rd-5th grade classes only in our service area of Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, parts of the unincorporated San Mateo County, and West Bay Sanitary District. Please make a note below when signing up if your class qualifies. Bus requests must be made at least two weeks (10 business days) in advance of scheduled tour date.

Tours for school groups are currently offered Monday through Friday in the morning and early afternoon (see available tour dates and times in calendar below).

A standard tour includes:

  • A visit to the Transfer Station, Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), and Education Center
  • Waste education and overview of the 4Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot) that are aligned to the State Common Core Standards

Tour requirements:

  • Children must be in 3rd grade or above (at least 8 years old) to attend.
  • To ensure the safety of all visitors, a maximum of 20 individuals (students and chaperones) are allowed per tour. We recommend approximately 1 adult chaperone for every 5-8 students (depending on student ages).
  • All participants (adults and students) must complete permission forms BEFORE joining the tour.
  • All participants are required to wear a face mask for the entire duration of the tour, as social-distancing of 6 feet is not always possible in all parts of the facility.
  • Additional tour details and requirements, including appropriate attire and parking instructions, will be sent via your confirmation email.

If you have any questions regarding tour requirements, please contact us at tours@rethinkwaste.org.

The tour program seeks to engage students and increase their knowledge through active learning experiences. The curriculum goal is to educate kids in resource conservation and encourage positive behaviors to empower them to reduce reduce waste in their everyday lives, practice recycling at their schools and residences, and share their waste expertise with their families and larger communities. The tour activities are based on the best practices in environmental education and provide connections to the California State Common Core Standards.

Pre-Tour Materials

View tour availability and sign-up using the calendar below. Tour booking is open 3 months in advance. If you are interested in a tour date not currently offered, please inquire at tours@rethinkwaste.org.

School In-Person Tours – 1 slot


This 75 minute virtual tour will give your group an inside look at how recyclables are sorted in our recently upgraded Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and how compost and garbage are consolidated at the Transfer Station. RethinkWaste Staff will also provide an overview of how to sort your materials properly, a discussion about reuse and reduction tips, and answer questions about hard-to-recycle items.



Thank you for your interest in touring the Shoreway Environmental Center! Tours of the award winning state-of-the-art Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos offer students and business/organization groups an opportunity to learn first-hand what happens to their recyclables, yard trimmings, food scraps, and garbage at a working Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and Transfer Station. Tours are about 75 minutes long and take place weekly, every:
  • Monday at 1pm
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, 10am and 1pm
  • 2nd, 4th, and 5th Thursday at 10am
  • Friday at 10am