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.
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)
The OOS is excited to announce the call for applications for the next grant cycle! Information on the grants guidelines and applications is provided below. The deadline for all application submissions is Monday, February 4th, 2019.
- Mega Grant
- Mini Grant
- Q&A (English / Spanish / Chinese)
If you have questions regarding the 4R’s Grants Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-442-2666.
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.