How To Get There > Composting policies > Curbside Composting: San Mateo County, California, USA

Curbside Composting: San Mateo County, California, USA

San Mateo County, California

ReThinkWaste represents 12 cities in San Mateo County and has a contract with the hauler Recology to provide all households with weekly recycling and composting services alongside trash collection.

Action(s) Taken

  • Composting policies



Overview of Services

Residents of 12 cities in San Mateo County, CA receive CartSMART, a weekly curbside collection service for recycling, composting and trash. The service is part of a 10-year contract between the hauler Recology San Mateo County and ReThinkWaste, also known as the South Bayside Waste Management Authority.

Under the new contract beginning in 2011, recycling services were switched out from being a two-sort, every other week collection to weekly collection of single-stream recycling. The every-other-week yard waste collection was upgraded to weekly service for all organic materials, including all food scraps, yard trimmings, and food and beverage soiled paper products. Palm fronds are prohibited.

Residents can also recycle household batteries, cell phones, and used motor oil through curbside collection.

Each city sets its own rates for residents and may include other services such as street sweeping.

Carts are available in 20, 32, 64 and 96-gallon sizes. Residents receive a two-gallon kitchen pail for collecting food scraps and are encouraged to “Feed the Pail, Feed the Planet.” Residents can use BPI-certified compostable bags to line their bins.


Educational materials are printed in English, Spanish, Chinese, Samoan, and Tongan. The customer service dept. can service 170 different languages.

ReThinkWaste recruited green team block leader volunteers to help educate residents about the changes to their curbside recycling services. Block leaders received trainings, a manual, and a toolkit, and were encouraged to engage with neighbors by distributing flyers or through HOA meetings, block parties, school functions, or faith-based gatherings.

Background Information

Similar to CartSMART is the BizSMART program where business and multi-family properties receive recycling services alongside trash service at no additional charge and can subscribe to composting service for 25% less than the costs of trash service.

ReThinkWaste serves the cities of Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo, the towns of Atherton and Hillsborough, the County of San Mateo and the West Bay Sanitary District.


San Mateo Franchise Agreement with Recology

More Information

ReThink Waste

Recology, San Mateo County


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