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Using Translation

The County of San Mateo has added a translation feature developed by Google Translate to assist web visitors in understanding information on this website in a variety of foreign languages. Please be aware that Google Translate, a free third party service which the County does not control, provides automated computer translations that may not give you an exact translation. The County cannot guarantee the accuracy of translations through Google Translate so translations should not be considered exact and only used as a rough guide. Anyone relying on information obtained from Google Translate does so at his or her own risk. The County disclaims and will not accept any liability for damages or losses of any kind caused by the use of the Google Translate feature.

OOS Recycleworks: reduce, reuse, recycle photo

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reducing waste is the best way to limit the impact on our local landfills.

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.

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!

Posting your unwanted items on one of the sites or listservs below is a great way to give them away for reuse.


Fixit Clinics are fun community-based workshops where neighbors, friends, and families work collectively to learn how to repair broken items. We’ll provide a workspace, specialty tools, and volunteer Fixit Coaches to help you troubleshoot and provide routine maintenance to your household items and appliances! 

The Sustainability Department’s Surplus Property Program aims to find ways to beneficially reuse surplus equipment from County departments such as furniture, office supplies, and much more. Retired property is posted online for auction on GovDeals, where the public can purchase used and like new items at a discounted rate.

County of San Mateo Departments, cities, schools, and non-profit organizations may request retired property FREE OF CHARGE any time before the auction end by following these steps:

Requesting Items via GovDeals

  1. Visit to see the listings of all available surplus property.
  2. If you haven’t already, register for a bidder account and subscribe to the “Community Partners” tier by following these step-by-step instructions.
  3. Once approved for the “Community Partner” tier, your organization can bid on any available items at no cost.
  4. To request for items open to the general public, email with the item link. State the department or organization you are from, and your GovDeals username. We will pull the item from auction, and provide pickup instructions.
  5. Your organization is responsible for the removal, packing, loading, and transportation of surplus equipment.

Reuse Request Form

Need an item but don’t see it on GovDeals? Please complete our equipment Reuse Request Form for all desired items and we will contact you if it comes into circulation for immediate transfer.

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.

OOS recycling products

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.

Recycle cans and bottles – Learn how to cash back for aluminum cans, glass or plastic bottles here.

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 Sustainability Department 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

The Sustainability Department previously offered funding assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions (e.g., schools, school/college districts, state university systems, etc.) through the 4Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – Compost) Grants Program. The 4Rs Grants Program’s objective is to divert waste from being sent to the landfill by financially supporting eligible entities to create and implement projects in San Mateo County that focused on the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. The program offered two tiers of funding: (1) Mini Grant ($2,000 to $5,000) and (2) Mega Grant (up to $25,000) to many organizations in the community. Please click here to view past recipients of the 4Rs Grants Program.

disposable foodware

The County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors adopted the Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance (Ordinance) on Tuesday, February 25, 2020! This Ordinance aims to regulate and reduce the amount of disposable food service ware that is used by food facilities in unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. Please click here for additional information on the Ordinance.

The California Integrated Waste Management Act directs counties to prepare a Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP). This plan consists of the Source Reduction and Recycling Elements (SRREs), the Household Hazardous Waste Elements (HHWEs), and the Nondisposal Facility Elements (NDFEs) of each jurisdiction, the Countywide Siting Element, and the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Summary Plan. The CIWMP addresses waste management conditions and provides an overview of the actions that will be taken to achieve the diversion requirements of Public Resources Code section 41780 and to maintain 15 years of disposal capacity.

California statute requires the County of San Mateo to review its CIWMP every five years and then report on its adequacy to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB). The last review of the CIWMP was completed in 2019. For additional information on the 2019 review process, please click here.