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8 San Francisco Recycling Tips You Need to Know Now

Here at GreenCitizen, our staff works diligently to help San Francisco Bay Area residents recycle their electronics responsibly. Through this work, our staff has learned many tricks of the recycling trade. We’ll share important San Francisco recycling tips like where to recycle light bulbs, batteries, smoke detectors, hazardous waste, and more. Share any resources you might have in the comments below!

Battery Recycling

GreenCitizen can accept batteries at our Burlingame EcoCenter. Many cities and counties also provide battery recycling. For example, San Mateo County, the City and County of San Francisco, and Mountain View accept batteries in private use recycling bins. All residents have to do is pack them in a plastic Ziploc bag and they’ll be taken by the county’s recycling services. Awesome!

Light Bulb Recycling

GreenCitizen no longer accepts CFLs, incandescent bulbs, and fluorescent tube lights for recycling at our EcoCenter. Light bulbs can be recycled for free at hardware stores like Orchard Supply or Ace Hardware. Check out the Green Directory or our handy article to find out which stores in your city offer this service. Santa Clara County residents can drop off their fluorescent light bulb for free at these locations.

Smoke Detector Recycling

Smoke detectors are one of the few electronic items that GreenCitizen cannot accept. Smoke detectors are particularly tricky to recycle because they contain a small amount of radioactive material called Americium 241. However, the San Francisco Department of the Environment offers hazardous waste disposal.

Smoke detectors can be mailed in to First Alert as well. Convenient!

Medical Waste Recycling

Breathe California accepts donated CPAP and BiPAP machines and they are refurbished and redistributed to individuals in need without any charge.

Safe Disposal of Expired Medications

The City and County of San Francisco has started a program for the responsible disposal of expired and unwanted medicine. There are plenty of places in the city that offer this service. You can also drop off any of prescribed and non-prescribed medicine at any police station in the city.

Motorcycle Parts Recycling

RidersRecycle.com offers a comprehensive list of drop-off locations and pick-up programs offered by various Bay Area counties. Used oil filters often contain several ounces of toxic chemicals and oil residue, which makes it particularly important that they don’t end up in landfills.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

All other hazardous electronic waste (thermostats, carbon monoxide monitors, etc) can be disposed of by your local recycling center. Below are the various recycling centers by city:

San Francisco


Mountain View

Burlingame/San Mateo County

San Rafael/Marin County

Curbside Recycling Pick-ups in San Francisco

While San Francisco offers weekly curbside recycling collection, sometimes people, particularly the elderly, have difficulties transporting their heavy e-waste from their home to our drop off center. Since GreenCitizen doesn’t do residential pickups, we direct these customers to Taskrabbit, a website where you can hire people for odd-jobs at a reasonable rate. Of course, we always recommend that GreenCitizen be the ultimate drop-off location.

For more San Francisco recycling tips, give us a call at (650) 493-8700 or stop by our Burlingame EcoCenter today!

James Kao is the founder/CEO of GreenCitizen, which provides products and services that help make every day Earth Day. He's passionate about data and sustainability, with a deep background in launching, funding, and managing successful tech companies. James enjoys spending quality time with his family, hiking, traveling, watching well-made documentaries, and eating good healthy food. read more »

One Comment on “8 San Francisco Recycling Tips You Need to Know Now

    do you pick up ewaste in the City. We have about 30 laptops, ink cartridges and 2 printers.

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