computers waiting to be recycled

Electronic waste, consisting of discarded computers, televisions, cell phones, fax machines, stereos and other electronic equipment cannot be put into landfills because of their heavy metal content. Computers under five years old and other working electronics can generally be reused, while older computers and broken electronics are generally recycled.

How to Donate or Recycle Electronic Equipment

Drop Off Locations

  • Thrift Shops and Charitable Organizations - Charitable organizations will accept computers that are less than 5 years old and in good condition. Download the Re-Use Guide (PDF) and look under the "computer equipment" column. Be sure to call before taking items in because electronics acceptance policies often change.

    Goodwill - Drop off computers, laptops, televisions (larger than 27 inches accepted at the Burlingame and San Mateo locations), networking equipment, and cell phones, working or not, at any Goodwill Donation Center free of charge. Goodwill will sort the electronics for reuse and recycling. Call 1-415-575-2137 for details.

    St. Vincent de Paul - Accepts almost all electronics, working or not, at their stores in San Mateo County. There is no charge. Does not accept small nonworking electronics such as cooking items and lamps. Call 650-871-6844 for details.

    Transfer Stations - Transfer stations in San Mateo County accept electronics for recycling. Fees may be charged for certain ewaste items. This page lists haulers and their transfer station or collection yard information.

    Other Electronics Recycling Options - For a comprehensive list of electronics recycling and reuse options, use the Recycling Center Search Database and search under the "Electronics" category. 

Pickup Options

  • Charitable Organizations
    Goodwill picks up for free from businesses with over 20 computers, and charges a small fee to pick up less than 20 computers. Data destruction guaranteed. Call 415-575-2150 for details and to schedule a pickup

    St. Vincent de Paul picks up most electronics for free equipment within the County whether working or not except for small nonworking electronics such as cooking items and lamps . Call 650-871-6844 for details and to schedule a pickup.

  • Haulers
    Several garbage companies will accept computers with various stipulations. Contact each for more information.

    GreenWaste Recovery

    Recology of the Coast

    Recology San Mateo County

    Republic Services of Daly City

    South San Francisco Scavenger

Hazards of Electronic Waste

Computer monitors and TVs contain Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRTs. There are about four pounds of lead and other harmful materials in computer monitors and TVs, requiring these two items to be regulated as hazardous waste.

Heavy Metals Play Forever - Don't dump lead and mercury, recycle your electronics
Photography by Marilynne Morshead

Additional resources

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Californians Against Waste Californians Against Waste
CalRecycle CalRecycle
SB20 eWaste Consumer Information (CalRecycle) SB20 eWaste Consumer Information (CalRecycle)