Keeping Spring Cleaning Green: Recycling Odd Household Items

Part I of our two-part series on how to keep items laying around the house out of landfills, such as electronic gadgets, paint, light bulbs, CD jewel cases and batteries.

In this season of spring cleaning, you might be tempted to take the easy route and dump all of your unwanted items into the trash. After all, it is quick and faster than trying to figure out what can be recycled and what can't, right?

Close that trash can right now and keep on reading, because Half Moon Bay Patch has done your research for you. Now you don’t need to be down in the dumps when it comes to dealing with what you think is household trash, because you'll see that there are places right here in Half Moon Bay and the Coastside that will keep your unwanted items out of landfills. 

Many local businesses help residents dispose of odd items, recycle them, or even reuse them in their stores. Before you dump items, consider whether they can have another life, or if the method you’re using to dispose of them is correct.

We're taking you beyond yard trimmings, cardboard, and aluminum cans, and taking the guessing out of your spring cleaning. 

Half Moon Bay Disposal and Recycling

Half Moon Bay residents served by Allied Waste will be introduced to single-stream recycling, beginning July 1 as part of the city's contract that was late last year.  Single stream recycling allows paper, cans, and bottles to be placed in one bin. Compost, however, is not accepted.

As for other recyclables, single family home customers can request two free Clean Up Days from Allied Waste by calling to schedule them two weeks ahead of the desired pickup date.  Information for this program can be found on Allied Waste’s monthly bill or online.  Up to twelve 32-gallon bags of material and one large item, such as a microwave, will be accepted.  For multi-family dwellings, up to six 32-gallon bags and one large item are accepted. Items must be separated from regular recycling, placed curbside by 6 a.m. of trash collection day, and should not exceed 200 pounds in weight. All trash must be contained within a 60-pound limit per container.

Residents should phone (650) 592-2411 to schedule clean up days or to request disposal of a television or computer monitor. No hazardous waste or commercial-sized appliances are accepted.  Check online for all restrictions, including guidelines for building materials, motors, and even oddities like poison oak trimmings.

“If residents have equipment to dispose of that is still working, they should consider donating it,” says RecycleWorks Resource Specialist Miriam Reiter. 

A county entity, RecycleWorks works with in Half Moon Bay and local merchant to recycle electronics and appliances.  When recycling electronics, paperwork must be completed to track where items came from.

Ben Tyson with Strawflower Electronics says some items can be recycled and used in the store again, while others, like computer CRTs, will be turned into asphalt once lead is removed by a licensed SB20 recycler.  Tyson says his store accepts most electronics, including cell phones and laptops. 

“I am always surprised by the amount of recycling that comes through here,” says Tyson.  Last year Strawflower saw 120,000 pounds of recycling processed from their store.

Though Strawflower has a large container behind its store, dropping off items is illegal.  Depending on the item, a small fee and forms may be collected, such as for CRTs and microwaves.   The California Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 prohibits certain items from being disposed of due to the threat they pose to the environment if placed in a landfill or incinerated.  A phone call to the store for large items is requested, so that staff can be on-hand to assist with moving the item. For more information about SB20 recycling laws, click here.

Alifano Technologies on Main St. also recycles electronics, working with ECS Refining of San Jose.  When Alifano Technologies sees reimbursement from donations, that money is given directly as a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside. Alifano Technologies will take CRTs, monitors, printers, ink cartridges, and even CD jewel cases.  Appliances are not accepted.

When it comes to most paint, batteries, and light bulbs, Richard Hassett of Half Moon Bay's Ocean Shore Hardware says they are available to help customers recycle.  Paint must be water-based and can be mixed, for up to 10 gallons per household per month.  Batteries can include anything from size AAA to 18-volt.  For light bulbs, fluorescents and compact fluorescents are accepted.  Old-style light bulbs are just thrown away, but new spiral “pig tail” bulbs can be recycled, according to Hassett.  Halogen or incandescent bulbs are not accepted.

The Coastside Farmers' Market hosts an e-waste event every other year, though one is not currently scheduled for 2011. 

For questions regarding odd light bulbs or batteries, go to the RecycleWorks web site for information or to schedule a pick up by appointment. 

Recycling Along the Coast

Recology of the Coast, associated with Allied Waste, offers a Recycle Yard to residential customers of El Granada, Pillar Point, Princeton, Miramar, Montara and Moss Beach.  The yard is located at 1046 Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica.  It is open from 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

A 5-gallon limit per household applies for liquid substances.  Antifreeze, latex paint and motor oil and filters (auto and pick-up truck only) are accepted. A fee may be charged for small appliances, computers, televisions, and tires, depending on what the item is.  The yard also accepts car and household batteries, cellular phones, scrap metal, sharps (in biohazard containers), Styrofoam blocks, wood (unpainted and treated), fluorescent tubes and bulbs, and even used cooking oil.

If you have additional questions about County recycling, call RecycleWorks at 1-888-442-2666, Allied Waste at (650) 592-2411, or Recology at (650) 355-9000.


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