Reducing waste is the best way to limit the impact on our local landfills.
Food Waste & Food Donations
Food donors are protected from liability for their good faith donations under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. Edible food includes seconds from a grocery store or farm, leftovers from restaurants or caterers, or other unwanted foods from wholesalers. These foods can be donated to food shelters and other organizations. Second Harvest Food Bank accepts surplus food donations from various organizations.
Gleaning means having volunteers help pick and deliver leftover produce to nonprofit organizations and shelters from farms that are no longer economical to harvest.
Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition
San Mateo County participates in the Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition, whose latest outreach campaign focuses on reducing food waste.
ReThink Disposable: Assistance & Rebate
Ready to reduce food service ware costs and cut waste at your business or school? The ReThink Disposable team will meet with you on-site to assess your current use of disposable food service ware, discuss reusable alternatives and recommend waste-reducing practices. If appropriate, they will also help you apply for a rebate up to $500 toward the purchase of reusable food service ware products.
To apply for a consultation, please contact Anthony Guerra at Aiguerra@smcgov.org or (650) 363-4014
Reusing or repurposing items helps conserve natural resources and reduces the amount of waste that is disposed of in the landfill. The following are some ways that items can be reused.
Check out our handy Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Guide as a reference for where you can donate your unwanted items!
The Office of Sustainability’s Surplus Property program aims to find ways to beneficially reuse extra equipment from County departments, ranging from furniture to office supplies, computer equipment, medical equipment, and much more. Items are first circulated internally to determine whether other departments can make use of them, then offered to local nonprofits and agency partners, and then are finally released for sale to the public.
Purchasing products made from recycled products increases the overall demand in the world for recycling and strengthens recycling commodities markets, increasing the incentive for these materials to be recycled correctly.
Curbside collection – Reduce waste by recycling accepted items in the blue bin if you have curbside collection. Check our hauler map for more information about which services are available in your area.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Guide – Check out our handy Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Guide as a reference for locations that accept hard to recycle items!
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) – include items like batteries, paints, cleaning chemicals, medicine, and electronic wastes. These items cannot go in any curbside bin. For options on how to properly dispose of these items, please visit the County of San Mateo’s Household Hazardous Waste website.
Collection – Reduce your business’ waste by recycling. Check our hauler map for more information about which services are available in your area.
Start a Recycling Program – It’s easy to start a recycling program at work! Over 75% items that are thrown away at work could be recycled. See below for some of the tools that the Office of Sustainability can provide. If you’d like to have assistance getting a program set up, please contact your local hauler or give us a call at 1-888-442-2666 or send us an email at email@example.com
- How to start a recycling program document
- Announcement and reminder memos
- Resources page with posters and publications
- Green Business page
The 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot-Compost) Grants Program
The Office of Sustainability is offering funding assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions (e.g., schools, school/college districts, state university systems, etc.) through the 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – Compost) Grants Program. The 4R’s Grants Program was developed to help eligible organizations create and implement reuse, waste reduction, recycling, and composting programs in San Mateo County. The program offers two tiers of funding: (1) Mini Grant ($1,000 to $5,000) and (2) Mega Grant (up to $25,000).
Mini Grant: The Mini Grant (for funding requests from $1,000 to $5,000) is available to support and fund small projects that will educate and increase awareness around the 4R’s – including reducing waste, increasing recycling, increasing or implementing composting, and increasing reuse. The Mini Grant is designed to serve a variety of potential applicants who need access to small amounts of funding for a limited time and for a specific purpose.
Mega Grant (Formerly known as the 4R’s Grant): The Mega Grant (for funding requests up to $25,000) is available for qualified entities to help initiate or expand innovative programs that promote reuse, waste reduction, recycling, and composting or education about these environmental issues throughout San Mateo County (county-wide focus).
Examples of Grant Projects
- Classroom workshops, trainings, or activities by nonprofits
- School garden start-up funding, which includes funding for garden structures such as sheds and garden beds constructed with salvaged lumber
- Fixit Clinics or other reuse/repair projects
- Food waste reduction and reuse programs
- Materials associated with expanding/implementing a campus/facility-wide recycling, reuse or waste reduction program
- Environmental educational field trips to waste or recycling facilities, museums, etc.
- Books, materials and equipment, which will be utilized by teachers and students over the years
Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-2018 Grantees
The OOS has awarded a total of 24 grantees during FY 2017-2018’s 4R’s Grants Program, six 4R’s Grant (now known as the Mega Grant) grantees and 18 Mini Grant grantees, in the total amount of $200,239. You can find a full list of this year’s grantees, their project summaries and approved grant funding here.
Next Grants Cycle Information (FY 2018-2019)
A summary of the new 4R’s Grants recipients will be made available soon, so please stay tuned!
If you have questions regarding the 4R’s Grants Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-442-2666.
Next Gen Foodware Ordinances Workshop: A Policy Lab for Local Government
On December 5th, 2018, about 75 local government staff from all over the Bay Area came together at the Foster City Community Center and participated in a day-long workshop called the Next Gen Foodware Ordinances: A Policy Lab for Local Government, which focused on policy options for reducing single-use foodware items.
Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance
In collaboration with the County of San Mateo’s Environmental Health Division, the County’s Office of Sustainability (OOS) has developed a draft Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance (Ordinance) that will impact our food facilities in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. The objectives of the proposed Ordinance are to:
- Eliminate the unnecessary distribution and use of disposable food service ware that is not reusable or compostable;
- Improve the health and safety of our San Mateo County community members by eliminating disposable food service ware that is harmful; and
- Help meet our regional stormwater permit requirement by reducing litter on our streets that ends up in our stormwater discharges.
How Can You Learn More?
The OOS is seeking input from our food facilities in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County on this proposed Ordinance. Three public events have been scheduled to provide more information about this effort and gather feedback from our community members on the proposed Ordinance. The same content will be provided at all three events.
- Monday, June 10, 9:00-10:00 am
Please register for the webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8362494413294010114
Two workshops will be held in June:
- Monday, June 17, 2:00-3:30 pm, Half Moon Bay Library, 620 Correas St, Half Moon Bay, Community Room B
- Wednesday, June 19, 2:00-3:30 pm, Redwood City Downtown Library, 1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, Community Room
Please RSVP for any one of the workshops:
- By email / phone: email@example.com / 888-442-2666
We highly encourage restaurant operators and other food facilities in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County to attend at least one of the above events to learn more about this effort, ask questions, and provide feedback. Your input as a county food facility operator is important in helping us develop and finalize this proposed Ordinance. You can also submit your questions and/or feedback via email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org / 888-442-2666.
- Summary of Proposed Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance
- Proposed Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance
- Public Events Flyer (English and Spanish)
Please email email@example.com or call 888-442-2666.