If not, try searching on WhatBin.com - Recology's search engine for what goes in what bin.
Recycle (Blue Bin)
Yes, it is preferable that shredded paper be placed inside a paper bag and then in the recycling bin to prevent spillage and littering when the bins are picked up.
Yes, the envelopes with plastic windows can be recycled and go in the blue bin.
Yes, colored cardboard boxes can be recycled in the blue bin.
All our recycling is taken to the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos where it is sorted. The machines there cannot identify black plastic and it ends up being thrown away in the garbage. We hope improvements in the future will allow for black plastic.
Empty plastic food containers from restaurants are recyclable and should go in the recycling blue bin. Generally, only paper food containers (like Chinese carry-out boxes) or containers that are clearly labeled as compo stable should be composted in the green bin.
Milk and juice cartons are recyclable and go in the blue recycling bin.
No, the tin foil does not need to be cleaned. Shake off any food debris, crinkle the tin foil into a ball, and toss into the blue recycling bin.
All plastic containers and lids that have the symbol of the chasing arrow on them and are numbered 1-7, and are not black, may be recycled. The types of plastics used in products varies greatly and only certain types of plastic can be recycled. Check for the chasing arrow and numbers on plastic products to know whether they are recyclable.
Yes, its preferable to remove the foil and wraps from yogurt containers and give them a quick rinse or wipe to prevent leakage and contamination in the recycling bin.
No, the bottles may be recycled as is. Container labels do not need to be removed.
To recycle spiral notebooks remove the spiral and then recycle the spiral and paper separately in the blue bin.
Cartons may be recycled or composted as long as they have no plastic components. If they do have a plastic spout or other plastic element they should be recycled. In general, Recology does not have a recommended preference whether plastic-free milk and other cartons are recycled or composted.
Recology drivers are trained to keep an eye out for battery collection on residential recycling cart. They have a special compartment on trucks to store the collected batteries. If you are still in doubt, you may hand deliver your used batteries to the collection container at City Hall or another recycling center.
- If it isn't black, please leave the cap attached to the plastic container and toss it in the recycle bin.
- If the cap is black, please discard in the trash since the machines at the Shoreway Environmental Center cannot identify black plastic.
- To dispose small amounts of kitchen oil, absorb it with a paper towel and compost the towel, then recycle the empty bottle.
- For larger amounts of kitchen oil that you cannot recycle or reuse, pour the old oil into a non-recyclable sealable container and dump in the trash.
- If you have motor oil, recycle it at a collection center or recycle it at the curb.
- For containers of mayonnaise, peanut butter, and similar items, those would have to be emptied first before placing it in the recycling bin. They can be wiped out with a paper towel then composted. If necessary, they can also be rinsed in the drain as long there's no oil or grease.
Compost (Green Bin)
The green compostable bags that are most commonly used come from a company called BioBag. Their bags are certified compostable which means that they can be consumed by micro-organisms in an industrial setting and meets specifications found in the ASTM D6400. This means that if you throw a compostable bag in the green bin, it will turn into compost eventually because the compost facility at Recology can reach temperatures high enough to break down the bag (i.e. 50 degrees Celsius). However, if you were to compost a compostable bag in your backyard, it is likely that the temperature of the environment would not be high enough to break apart the bag, therefore the bags aren’t really compostable in a home compost bin. For more information about BioBag’s compostable bags, please visit their FAQs.
Landfill (Black Bin)
Some stores also accept worn clothes for recycling. North Face, H&M, and Madewell collect used apparel and shoes and provide discounts to customers that bring items in.
Another option is to contact the Peninsula Humane Society - they often take old linens as bedding for animals.
- Reduce the amount of plastic bags you use by getting reusable produce bags and bringing them with you along with a reusable tote bag for your grocery store purchases. Here are some examples of these produce bags: BahrEco, ChicoBag, Crate & Barrel, and Target.
- Reuse the plastic bag. These small bags are great for lining small trash bins (such as ones for a bathroom) or, if you have a dog, they are great for picking up dog poop.
- Recycle the plastic bag at a recycling facility. Although the plastic bags cannot be recycled in the blue bin at home, they can be recycled in downtown Burlingame at the Safeway or Mollie Stone's grocery stores (click here for additional drop-off locations). In addition, plastic bags and other recyclable materials (e.g., large cardboard, electronic waste, etc.) can also be recycled at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos (see Public Recycling Center).
If you need to use cotton swabs, a more environmentally-friendly option would be to get ones that are made of 100% organic cotton or 100% bamboo, since conventional cotton is generally grown with pesticides that pollute the environment, including farms, soil, and waterways.
No, most receipts are made up of thermal paper and need to be placed in to the garbage. In addition, these receipts contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is an endocrine disruptor, so it is recommended to discard old receipts rather than to hold on to them.
Other (No Bin)
The easiest way to recycle fluorescent light bulbs is to drop them off at select hardware stores, such as Home Depot or IKEA stores. Please call store and confirm they will accept the bulbs.
They may also be dropped off at the Shoreway Environmental Center or you can make an appointment to bring them to San Mateo County's Hazardous Waste drop off.
You may also make an appointment to drop off other hazardous waste like paint and chemicals at a San Mateo County's Hazardous Waste drop off location
Car seats are challenging. Car seats have an expiration date because they are safety-tested for an average lifespan. Furthermore, they sometimes undergo recalls and may possess old replacement parts. Also, many of their component materials do not break down.
Unfortunately, Recology does not have a curbside recycling program for car seats. However, there are 3 options for disposal. Thank you to one of our readers for pointing out these tips!
- Option 1: Trade in your old seat at Target through their Car Seat Trade-in Event and receive a 20 percent off coupon on a new seat, stroller, or select baby gear.
- Option 2: If you can’t make it to the Target Car Seat Trade-in Event, you can also drop off the car seat year-round at a local California Highway Patrol (CHP) office. The closest location to Burlingame is in Redwood City, please call the Redwood City CHP office at 650-369-6261 for their hours.
- Option 3: Call Recology to schedule a bulky-item pick up (residents get 2 free pick ups per year).
Yes, conventional toothbrushes are made of plastic. However, if you are looking for an eco-friendly alternative, search for 100% organic bamboo toothbrushes since the handle can be composted.