When Batteries Lose The Buzz: Drop Off Recycling Spots in the Bay

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ZIP!!! HONK!! GRRRRR!! ZZZZZzzzzzz……What are these sounds? Only what feels like the hundreds of battery operated toys the kids have collected throughout years of play. It’s awesome to have what seems to be an endless supply of energy that makes toys spin, twirl, beep and dance and it’s super easy to replace those little guys with a freshie fresh set and get the truck, the robot, or the bike light movin’ and groovin’ again but what happens to the old, dead, potentially harmful little sticks? Mama Earth needs our help to stay clean and healthy for our kiddos’ kids, so be sure to collect em’ up until you’ve got a nice pile and take them to a place where folks will dispose of them in the right way. Leaky batteries can spell toxic mess for our environment and around these parts, our environment is just too cool to put in harm’s way. Here are some spots in your neighborhood where disposing of batteries is totally okay.


San Francisco

Cole Hardware
This popular hardware store knows the importance of recycling stuff the right way and not only do they offer awesome tips and hints on where to recycle what, they also accept standard household batteries at all four of their locations in the city.

Cole Street Store
956 Cole Street
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 7:30 pm, Sat & Sun: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: 415-753-2653
Online: colehardware.com

Mission Street Store
3312 Mission Street
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sun: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Phone: 415-647-8700
Cole Street Hardware
70 4th Street
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm, Sat & Sun: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Phone: 415-777-4400
Polk Street Store
2254 Polk Street
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sat & Sun: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: 415-674-8913Batteries Plus
Drop off the old while picking up the new. Batteries Plus on Bush Street offers a responsible way to recycle. There are two other locations in the Bay Area, check out the full list here. 

Batteries Plus
1450 Bush Street
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon—Thurs: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Fri : 8:00 am – 7:00 pm,  Sat: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Online: batteriesplus.com/store_details

Did you know?
It’s illegal in the state of California to throw batteries in the trash!

East Bay

Arts Automotive
This Certified Bay Area Green Business is also a stop off spot for recycling several toxic items, including batteries. They don’t charge for recycling unless your package is over 10 lbs.

Art’s Automotive
2871 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, Ca
Hours: Mon – Thurs: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Fri: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, closed every day at noon for lunch.
Phone: 510-540-7093
Online: artsautomotive.com
Community Conservation Center
Leave it to Berkeley to operate a super cool recycling center that not only offers drop off for stuff like batteries but they have a buy-back program for stuff that could be re-useable. They gladly accept alkaline and rechargeable at their Gilman location.
Community Conservation Center – Berkeley Recycling
669 Gilman Street
Berkeley, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sun: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Phone: 510-524-0113
Online: berkeleyrecycling.org
Radio Shack

The guys behind one of the original spots where all things energized can be found are also avid recyclers. There are numerous locations in the East Bay, check the website for a spot near you.

Radio Shack
Locations found here.
El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center
A top-notch community center for green programs, the resource center completed it’s overhaul in 2012 and it’s awesome! It’s been LEED certified(meaning way cool and super modern green building)It uses rain water and sunlight for powering lights garden water and allows for easy drop off and recycling education.
El Cerrito Recycling
7501 Schmidt Lane
El Cerrito, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am to 5:45 pm, Sat & Sun: 9:00 am to 4:45 pm
Phone: 510-215-4319
Online: ca-elcerrito.civicplus.com


Novato Builders Supply
Folks in northern Marin don’t have to go far to drop off batteries, just stop in at the Builders Supply, they’ll gladly take the used waste off your hands.

Novato Builders Supply
800 Sweetser Avenue
Novato, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sat: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm, Sun: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Phone: 415-892-1651
Online: novatobuilders.com
United Markets
Marin’s homegrown market is locally owned and do their part in taking care of the environment. They have a battery recycling bin right inside the doors, you can shop and drop off in one trip!
United Markets
515 Third Street
San Rafael Ca,
Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm, Sat: 7:30 am – 8:00 pm, Sun: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Phone: 415-454-8912
Online: unitedmarkets.com

100 Red Hill Aveune
San Anselmo, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm, Sat: 7:30 am – 8:00 pm, Sun: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Phone: 415-456-1271

Waterstreet Hardware
This classic hardware store offers a battery recycling program at no charge, they are just thrilled to have your old stuff!
Waterstreet Hardware
318 Caldonia Street
Sausalito, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, Sat: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone: 415-332-4318
Online: waterstreethardware.com

FYI: There are many more drop off locations, check Zero Waste Marin’s full list here.

South Bay/Peninsula

San Mateo City Hall
The city staff is doing the right thing and offer a battery bucket for recycling. Next time you are in for official business, don’t forget to bring your bag of old energy sticks. They ask you apply clear tape to both ends of the batteries, to reduce the chance of sparks.

San Mateo City Hall
330 West 20th Avenue
San Mateo, Ca
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone: 650-522-7346
Online: cityofsanmateo.org
Recology of the Coast
This is the largest employee-owned company in the resource recovery industry and one of their California locations is right in Pacifica. With a Zero Waste rally cry, they are devoted to keep the earth clean of the yucky stuff.

FYI: You have to be a resident of the area inside Recology of the Coast’s boundaries to use their drop off services.

Recology of the Coast                                                                                                              
2305 Palmetta Avenue
Pacifica, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sat: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Phone: 650-355-9000
Online: recologyofthecoast.com
The Tech Museum of Innovation
Next time your family plans a trip to this super cool, no-surprise-it’s-in-Silicon-Valley museum, where programs and and play help to show how technology has improved lives, be sure to bring your pile of old batteries along for the ride. The museum has a drop off bin, located behind the Membership desk.
Tech Museum of Innovation
201 South Market Street
San Jose, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Phone: 408-294-8324
Online: thetech.org

Did you know? Can’t find a drop-off spot near your home pad? San Mateo County RecycleWorks lists more locations here.

What do you do to make sure batteries make their way into the proper recycling spots?

–Gabrielle Cullen

Photo Courtesy John Seb via Flickr