Shoreway Environmental Center Holds Grand Opening

RethinkWaste celebrates $47 million in capital improvements to its San Carlos, Calif., MRF.

October 5, 2011

Mark Leary, acting director of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), speaks at the grand opening. Seated at the left is Kevin McCarthy, executive director of RethinkWaste.More than 150 attendees, including RethinkWaste’s board of directors and staff, local and state officials and community leaders, gathered at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, Calif., Sep. 27, 2011, to celebrate the grand opening of that facility. The opening marked the transformation of the outdated Shoreway Recycling and Disposal Center into what RethinkWaste is calling California’s greenest recycling center and transfer station in the country. 

The grand opening included tours of the facility, the unveiling of the new Environmental Education Center and recycled fashions by Haute Trash modeled by Recology San Mateo County staff members.
The improvements to the Shoreway Environmental Center include:
  • A 70,200-square-foot single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) with equipment from Bulk Handling Systems, Eugene, Ore., replaces a former 48,000-square-foot building. The new MRF became fully operational in May 2011 and is designed to handle more than 80,000 tons per year in a single shift.
  • A 14,780-square-foot expansion of the existing 62,000-square-foot transfer station building has been included to increase unloading spaces for customers and to allow for a 30,000 ton-per-year increase in organic materials collected from local residents and businesses.
  • The MRF building houses an Environmental Education Center, featuring exhibits promoting resource conservation and RethinkWaste programs. It will be open for tours from schools, community groups and the general public starting later this fall.
  • Residents can drop off recyclables at a new Public Recycling Center. A buy-back center also has been added for redeeming rebates on bottles and cans.
  • A new scale house and related traffic enhancements have been made at the site.
  • Green building features, such as the use of photovoltaic panels to generate renewable energy to power site operations, rainwater capture and re-use, translucent panels to maximize day lighting, use of native and low-water plants, have been incorporated into the building housing the MRF.
RethinkWaste owns the Shoreway Environmental Center, which receives all of the residential and commercial recyclables, organic materials and solid waste collected by Recology San Mateo County . The facility is permitted to receive 3,000 tons per day and is operated by South Bay Recycling (SBR) on the agency’s behalf. Construction began in November 2009 after approval and issuance of tax-exempt solid waste revenue enterprise bonds in September 2009 to fund the capital improvements.
The Shoreway improvements were initiated to handle the increased volume and types of materials collected through the residential CartSMART and commercial BizSMART Recycle, compost and garbage collection services launched in January 2011. Since the launch, the tons of material collected for residential recycling and composting have increased by 30 percent, while the volume of solid waste has dropped by 19 percent, according to RethinkWaste.
Formed in 1982, RethinkWaste, is a joint powers authority comprised of 12 member agencies in San Mateo County: Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, the County of San Mateo and the West Bay Sanitary District. More information is available at