What should I do with old paint?

What should I do with dead batteries?

What should I do with burnt out fluorescent lights?

What should I do with unwanted medications?

What should I do with used needles or sharps?

What should I do with a broken microwave?

Where can I turn in my bottles and cans?

Why can’t you recycle Styrofoam?

How do I get rid of my Christmas trees?

How do I get rid of my used motor oil?

Why did this county ban plastic bags?

What should I do with my leftover food scraps?

Where can I get a worm bin?

What should I do with my broken steam iron, waffle maker, ice cream maker, crock pot, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, etc.?

What should I do with old VHS tapes, cassette tapes and eight-track tapes?

Are old photographs recyclable?

Where do I take my old TV, computer, stereo, etc.?

Where do I take my old mattress?

Where do I take my old couch, recliner, patio furniture, etc.?

Can you send someone to my house to pick up ______?

Can I recycle ______ ?

Why should I recycle?

What can I recycle?

Why is recycling different everywhere?

I’ve heard that my recyclable materials don’t actually get recycled, they get hauled to the dump. Is that true?

What is single-stream recycling?

Should I bag up my materials before placing them in the recycling bin?

When in doubt, which is the better option: recycling or garbage?

What should I do with old paint?
All retail stores that sell paint in San Luis Obispo County will take back unwanted or leftover paint from the public and businesses for FREE. Learn more »

What should I do with dead batteries?
All SLO County retail stores that sell household batteries must take those items back from the public for FREE. Learn more »

What should I do with burnt out fluorescent lights?
All SLO County retail stores that sell fluorescent lights and tubes must take those items back from the public for FREE. Learn more »

What should I do with unwanted medications?
All SLO County pharmacies offer a FREE disposal program for household over-the-counter and prescription medications. Any resident of SLO County may dispose of their unwanted medicine through the program. Learn more »

What should I do with used needles or sharps?
All local pharmacies offer FREE containers to dispose of used needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects. Learn more »

What should I do with a broken microwave?
Microwaves should be disposed of with electronic waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility in SLO County.  

Where can I turn in my bottles and cans?
Find a SLO County CRV redemption center to turn in bottles and cans. Learn more about recycling bottles and cans. 

Why can’t you recycle Styrofoam?
For better or for worse, what we can and can’t recycle is driven by market demand for recycled materials. Because polystyrene (the generic name for Styrofoam) is so light, it is not cost-effective for the recycling industry to ship and process. 

How do I get rid of my Christmas trees?
Your community’s residential garbage and recycling service provider accepts Christmas trees for recycling after December 25. Learn more »

How do I get rid of my used motor oil?
Residential curbside disposal of used motor oil and oil filters is offered throughout SLO County. Contact your hauler for a FREE container and FREE curbside pick-up.

Why did this county ban plastic bags?
Check out our page about shifting to reusable bags

What should I do with my leftover food scraps?
There are multiple ways to dispose of leftover food scraps, including SLO Country’s FREE residential food waste program, in a compost pile or in a worm bin. Learn more »

Where can I get a worm bin?
You can purchase a ready-made worm bin, or make your own. Learn more »

What should I do with my broken steam iron, waffle maker, ice cream maker, crock pot, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, etc.?
Small appliances like a steam iron, waffle maker, ice cream maker, crock pot and vacuum cleaner should be disposed of with electronic waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Ironing boards should be brought to a landfill or transfer station.

What should I do with old VHS tapes, cassette tapes and eight-track tapes?
VHS tapescassette tapes and eight-track tapes should be disposed of with electronic waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility.

Are old photographs recyclable?
Photographs are not recyclable and should be thrown in the garbage.

Where do I take my old TV, computer, stereo, etc.?
TVscomputersstereos and other electroncis should be disposed of with electronic waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Several major retailers and local businesses and organizations also take old electronics for recycling or reuse. Look at each item’s page in the Recycling Guide for more information.

Where do I take my old mattress?
Old mattresses and box springs can be disposed of at Cold Canyon Landfill.

Where do I take my old couch, recliner, patio furniture, etc.?
Old furniture can be disposed of at a SLO County landfill or transfer station.

Can you send someone to my house to pick up ______?
The SLO County IWMA does not offer services to pick up goods for disposal. 

Can I recycle ______ ?
Use our search tool at the top of this page to find out if you can recycle just about anything. You can also check out our lists of Most Requested items, Top Troublemakers (things you should not recycle), and Special Programs (things that you need to dispose of in a specific way, like electronics).

Why should I recycle?
Recycling reduces the amount of valuable materials that end up in our landfills and conserves limited natural resources. Get informed about the importance of recycling with these facts and statistics.

What can I recycle?
Visit our Recycling Guide to find out what goes where, as well as a lot of great tips for reducing and reusing all sorts of items.

Why is recycling different everywhere?
Under US law, recycling programs have to be run at the state and local level, so there is no national standard. What can and cannot be recycled — and how you recycle — can vary even between adjoining towns and cities. This is due to what hauling services and sorting facilities are used, and the economics of transporting and selling recyclable materials into the marketplace.

I’ve heard that my recyclable materials don’t actually get recycled, they get hauled to the dump. Is that true?
Rest assured that your recycling is headed for the sorting facility, not the dump. It costs money to deliver trash to the dump; conversely, recyclable materials are valuable and can be sold for profit.

That said, some items that are deposited in recycling bins ultimately end up in the trash after they are sorted out at the recycling center, simply because they are deemed not recyclable in the first place and are rejected by sorting machines. Also, occasionally, a load of recyclables is so heavily contaminated with hazardous materials or non-recyclables that it must be thrown in the trash.

What is single-stream recycling?
Single stream recycling is a sorting method that makes recycling easy for residents. All recyclable materials (glass, plastic, paper, etc.) go into a single cart or bin at the curb, rather than getting separated into multiple bins. Then, sophisticated equipment sorts everything out at the recycling center.

To see how single stream recycling works, watch this video:

Should I bag up my materials before placing them in the recycling bin?
No. Bags can jam up sensitive equipment at the recycling facility and are difficult for workers to deal with.

When in doubt, which is the better option: recycling or garbage?
If you’re unsure what to do with something, you can always use our search tool to find out. But if you don’t have a mobile device or computer handy, throw the item out. Putting non-recyclable items in the recycling can be expensive (labor cost of sorting out non-recyclables and/or lowered resale value of contaminated recyclables), and also even potentially dangerous (workers having to extract items from machinery).