Finish the Job Right During Shelter-In-Place in San Mateo County

Spending some quality time with your motorcycle while you’re stuck at home due to COVID-19? Wondering what to do with your used oil and filter now that you’ve finished your oil change?

Yamaha V-Star 650 Cruiser
Taking care of a Yamaha V-Star 650 Cruiser oil change at home.

Our team has shown the step-by-step of oil and filter changes on several motorcycles over the years – a Yamaha V-Star 650 Cruiser, a Dry-Sump Suzuki DR350 Enduro, and a BMW R1150RT. Just like the oil and filter change, how and where to recycle the used oil and filter depends on where you live. For this post, we’re focusing on San Mateo County, but the options are similar no matter where you live in California (find details for your city or county here).

Used oil filter drains overnight.
Used oil filter drains overnight.

Get in gear.
The first step is prep. Fully drain the oil AND filter – ideally overnight to catch the oil. If you’ve been stockpiling oil filters, be sure they’re fully drained. Use a funnel to pour the oil into a clean, sturdy, leak-proof plastic container with a screw-on cap. Place the oil filter in a clean, sealed plastic bag. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get free jugs and filter bags delivered directly to your door (find your city below for details). Be sure to keep the oil clean – don’t mix it with any other substance so that it can be recycled again and again. If it does get contaminated, make sure to take it to your local Household Hazardous (HHW) Facility (read more below). Once your oil and filter are secure, you can either park it at the curbside for recycling or take it on the road – keep reading to decide what’s easiest for you.

Used motor oil and filter placed next to the recycling cart for curbside pickup.
Used motor oil and filter placed next to the recycling cart for curbside pickup.

Park it at the curb.
If you live in a single-family home in one of the cities listed below, you have access to convenient curbside oil and filter recycling! Depending on where you live and your waste hauler, you might need to prep your oil and filter a little differently to guarantee it will get picked up. Find your city below for details on what’s accepted and how to prep.

Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, and San Mateo
According to Recology San Mateo County’s website, if you’re a single-family home resident, you can put used motor oil in a clear plastic container and filters in a zippered plastic bag next to your blue recycle cart for pickup on your regular collection day. You can request up to five, one-gallon plastic jugs for your used motor oil and up to five zippered plastic bags for your used oil filters, at no cost. You can also use your own clear zip-top plastic bags and clear plastic screw-top containers for used motor oil, like a one-gallon milk jug. Make sure that lids and bags are tightly sealed.

Portola Valley and Woodside
GreenWaste provides free curbside recycling for used oil and filters, but you have to use their jugs and bags. To order free jugs and bags, call customer service at 650.568.9900. When you’re done, place sealed jugs with oil and sealed bags with filters next to your recycling cart for collection.

Colma, Daly City, and Half Moon Bay
Republic Services Allied Waste takes up to two, one-gallon, clear plastic jugs (with screw-top cap) of used motor oil and up to two, one-gallon clear zip-top plastic bags with used oil filters curbside on your collection day. Place well-labeled motor oil and oil filters next to your blue recycling cart.

Brisbane, Millbrae, and South San Francisco
South San Francisco Scavenger will take up to five gallons of oil in sealed plastic bottles with screw-on lids and up to five empty oil filters in a clear zip-top bag, placed next to the recycling cart on collection day.

La Honda, Loma Mar, Pescadero and San Gregorio
Kunz Valley Trash & Recycling takes used motor oil in plastic jugs with screw-top lids and used filters inside secure zip-top plastic bags. Place both next to your recycling cart. Call 831.338.9050 before your scheduled pickup if you have more than the usual amount for a single auto or pick-up truck.

Take it on the road.
If you don’t have curbside oil and filter recycling, San Mateo County has over 50 drop-off locations where any resident can take their used motor oil and filters for free, including auto parts stores, repair shops and recycling yards, several of which are still open during the Shelter-In-Place period with limited hours. San Mateo County Environmental Health Services created a map of all the used motor oil and filter recycling collection centers, so you can easily find the closest center to drop-off your used oil and filters (see map below). If possible, wait until the Shelter-In-Place Order is lifted and always call the drop-off location first to verify hours and limitations.

Mixed up?
Not sure if your oil is mixed with other materials, or have other Household Hazardous Waste (HHW – such as paint, antifreeze, or insecticide) to get rid of as well? San Mateo County residents can drop up to ten gallons or fifty pounds of contaminated oil and other HHW off for free at the San Mateo County HHW Facility. Call 650.363.4718 and select option 3, or visit the San Mateo County Environmental Health Services HHW website to make an appointment at a drop-off location near you.

For more useful info on motorcycles, DIY oil changing, and oil and filter recycling – check out our other blog posts and the rest of the Riders Recycle site.