Waste management authority halts hazardous waste pickup

Waste Management Inc. had planned to double the costs in five years

An underutilized program that picks up hazardous household waste materials for many Peninsula residents will be discontinued at the end of this month.

The program, called "At Your Door Special Collection," offers by-appointment pickup of household hazardous waste items such as paints, solvents, non-empty aerosol cans, cleaning products, insecticides, fluorescent lights, batteries, computer monitors, phones and other electronics.

Waste Management Inc. runs the program through a contract with Rethink Waste, a joint powers authority that provides waste management services to a number of Peninsula cities including Menlo Park and Atherton, parts of unincorporated San Mateo County including North Fair Oaks, and the West Bay Sanitary District.

According to Joe La Mariana, executive director of South Bayside Waste Management Authority, or Rethink Waste, the contract for those services will expire at the end of the year, and will not be renewed with the provider for several reasons.

First, he said, Waste Management said in negotiations that it planned to nearly double the costs of its curbside hazardous household waste pickup within five years.

Currently, the program's annual cost of $658,128 is spread across all households in the coverage area, which amounts to monthly costs of 47 cents a month for single-family homes and 22 cents a month for multi-family dwellings. The annual cost would have risen to $1.24 million per year by 2021.

Second, he said, the service is currently underutilized. Only about 5 percent of residents arrange to have their hazardous household waste picked up, he said.

Third, he said, residents already pay for San Mateo County's household hazardous waste drop-off program, which is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, by appointment. That service is located in San Mateo. A spokesman for the county environmental health services said the agency doesn't publish the address. Go to or call 650-363-4718 to make an appointment.

After a meeting with the board of Rethink Waste, Mr. La Mariana said, the agency is pursuing other ways for people to dispose of their hazardous material.

The agency will host eight hazardous waste drop-off events in 2017 at various locations, including some in Menlo Park and Redwood City. Mr. La Mariana said that the agency will send out postcards and the public in advance of the events.

Rethink Waste is also looking into the possibility of establishing a permanent household waste drop-off facility at the Shoreway Environmental Center at 333 Shoreway Road in San Carlos.

Long story short: people covered by Rethink Waste's services have until the end of the year to arrange a curbside pickup of their hazardous waste before the program ends. Mr. La Mariana said the process can take 10 days, so plan accordingly.

Go to the Rethink Waste website for more information.

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2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 4, 2016 at 6:07 pm

It's a shame Hazardous Waste/ paint cans are probably going to be dumped in our beautiful hillside communities. WDS & PV.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor2
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Dec 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

The decision didn't include Seniors. Dropping off Hazards may not be that easy for everyone. The board is short sighted in my opinion.

Like this comment
Posted by Dirty Laundry
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Just wait until the new EPA: they'll be delivering the hazardous waste to you - it's a feature, not a bug! Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Irish Hikers
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm

This is really a shortsighted decision on many levels. Even with increased prices, this program has been documented to be much cheaper than the County drop-off site program and much more convenient. And as another reader mentioned, this haz waste will likely be dumped in the landfill and who will pay for that environmental contamination?

The article also fails to mention that this program has proven to be very popular with residents. That participation level is actually high for this type of program; it's not like taking your recyclables or trash to the curb every week, this is a specialized collection service you only you use every few years.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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