Local Recycling Resources
Much of the solid waste deposited in American landﬁlls will take centuries (at least) to biodegrade and a lot of it contains toxic materials.
In the Bay Area, it’s easy to recycle paper and cardboard—virtually every community now has curbside pickup programs. Household items and clothing can be taken to Goodwill or other charities and there are several organizations that want material that can be used for art projects. Safely disposing of unwanted high-tech gear and related waste—plastic packing materials, dead batteries and old CDs—requires a little more initiative.
Here is a list of web sites and organizations that can assist you in your recycling efforts. ALWAYS contact an organization before sending or dropping off materials, to be sure the information resented here is still current.
- San Francisco Department of the Environment —Information about local recycling programs and hazardous waste pick-up and drop-off.
- Sunset Scavenger Company —San Francisco Residential Recycling Program, Organic Waste Program (compostable materials) and the Bulky-Items Collection Program (San Francisco residents can schedule a pick-up of computers, TVs, mattresses and other large items twice a year—free of charge to residents of buildings with ﬁve or fewer units).
- Center for the Development of Recycling—Recycling information for Santa Clara County . The search page lets you search by city or type of material, and then delivers information about recyclers throughout the region.
- Latex paint recycling service—Cole Hardware is a drop-off point for San Francisco residents. (Paint from commercial users will not be accepted.) For details, and a list of other items you may recycle at Cole Hardware, see the panel at right.
- EPS (expanded polystyrene) or XPS (extruded polystyrene) number 6: GreenCitizen condenses polystyrene foam into a recyclable commodity for producers of recycled plastic pellets. These pellets can then be used for insulation sheets and other construction applications. The condensed product can also be turned into clothes hangers, jewel cases, public benches, garden pots, toys, picture frames, surfboard foam, and crown molding for around ceilings. Visit their website for drop-off hours and further information on their recycling programs. (see article)
- Packing Peanuts: Search at Plastic Loose Fill Council for businesses that will reuse your plastic loose ﬁll (packing peanuts). Or call the Peanut Hotline at (800) 828-2214.
- Rigid Foam Packing Materials: The white plastic foam molded into special shapes to hold computers and other gear in place in their cartons is made of a material called expanded polystyrene (EPS). Most recycling programs won’t take it, but FP International in Redwood City will take baled EPS.
Material for Art and Educational Projects
- SCRAP—Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art Parts collects materials from businesses and individuals that would otherwise be thrown away, and distributes them to art and educational groups. 801 Toland, San Francisco, CA 94124. Phone (415) 647-1746