Tour Requirements

Important Notice

Due to increased concerns regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recently issued directives from San Mateo County Health, the Shoreway Tour Program is suspended until further notice. The health and safety of our visitors is our top priority and postponing tours is a temporary and precautionary measure to help prevent the possible spread of the virus.

RethinkWaste Staff is closely following the progress of this rapidly changing situation and will let everyone know when tours can continue. Please check back to our website or our social media channels for updates. These actions are in line with many cities and school districts in our RethinkWaste service area and we will continue to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and San Mateo County Health as our primary source of information and guidance.

Rules and Expectations

Special Notice for Tours Occurring Fall 2019 through Summer 2020

Thank you for your interest in touring the Shoreway Environmental Center! We are always looking for ways to improve our equipment and processes, and have just begun the installation of new, updated machinery. While exciting, this project involves major construction, major time commitments and major public safety concerns!

We are still able to school groups that arrive via bus. No-charge busing is provided for 3rd-5th grade classes in our service area of Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, parts of the unincorporated San Mateo County, and the West Bay Sanitary District. Due to space limitations we do not have space for multiple vehicles to park on site.

Please be advised that tour access to certain areas of the facilities may also be affected by construction activity.

We express our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience! If you have questions or inquiries about these changes, please contact us.

Appropriate clothing and shoes

  • All participants (adults and children) must wear closed toe shoes with a solid heel. Anyone in opened toe shoes will be turned away or not allowed to participate in the tour.
  • We encourage participants to bring a cloth (e.g. bandana) to cover their nose if they are sensitive to dust and smells.

Age limit

  • Children must be 4 years old to attend a tour. Note: we may limit the number of participants for tours with young children, depending on the age of the students, number of chaperones, and RethinkWaste staff availability.
  • Students in 2nd grade or below will not be allowed to walk through the recycling facility due to safety regulations, but may stand on a platform overlooking the inside of the facility.


  • 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.
  • The Shoreway Environmental Center 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.


  • Tour participants that engage in unsafe or disruptive behavior will be asked to leave immediately.
  • Visitors must follow all instructions of the tour guide. The Shoreway Environmental Center is a working facility with many trucks and heavy machinery in full operation – stay on designated pathways for your own safety and the safety of the workers!
  • Participants are not allowed in any part of the facility without the permission or presence of a tour guide or RethinkWaste staff member.


Reservations are required for all tours! Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants are required to sign a waiver upon registration.

Classes and School Groups

Schedule a tour for classes and students in 3rd grade or above via our online tour scheduler or by emailing A maximum of 40 individuals (students and chaperones) are allowed per tour.

Handicap and Special Accommodations

Handicap parking is available in the Tour Parking lot, located closest to the Shoreway Environmental Center.

The outdoor and indoor Education Center, Transfer Station and Rethinker Room are wheelchair accessible. From these locations, visitors can see and hear about operations at the Shoreway Environmental Center.

For inquiries about accommodations for other special needs, please contact RehinkWaste at



Coming from Shoreway Road, please enter in Gate 2 with signs for Tour Parking. We have limited space, but for safety reasons visitors must park 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.

If you are coming from south of San Carlos:

  1. Take 101 North (Bayshore Freeway).
  2. Exit Holly St. (Exit 411) and stay right to go towards Redwood Shores Parkway.
  3. Merge onto Holly St. and immediately move to the left lane.
  4. Turn left on Shoreway Rd., which is the first stoplight.
  5. Take Shoreway Rd. for approximately 0.4 miles. After passing Lyngsø,  turn right into Gate 2 at the Shoreway Environmental Center.


If you are coming from north of San Carlos:

  1. Take 101 South (Bayshore Freeway).
  2. Exit Ralston Ave. (Exit 412).
  3. Turn left onto Ralston Ave./Marine Pkwy and immediately move to the right lane.
  4. Turn right onto Shoreway Rd.
  5. Take Shoreway Rd. for approximately 1 mile. After passing Public Storage, turn left into Gate 2 at the Shoreway Environmental Center.