Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) Program

VSQG Drop Off

Some businesses generate very little hazardous waste and may be eligible to participate in the Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) Program.  The Program is designed to provide an inexpensive hazardous waste disposal option to these companies, non-profits, and other entities instead of contracting with a commercial hazardous waste management firm.

The Program operates  by appointment only.

Are you a VSQG?

A VSQG is any business that generates less than 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds or 27 gallons) of hazardous waste per month. Typical VSQG businesses include painters, print shops, carpenters, property managers, and many others.

Some businesses do not generate waste on a regular basis, but do have paint or other wastes lying around.  So, even if you want to "clean up" the office, you may generate small small amounts of hazardous waste. Such businesses are also considered a VSQG.

Who may Participate?

Only qualifying VSQG businesses operating within San Mateo County may participate in the VSQG collection events. Businesses that generate more than 100 kilograms of hazardous waste per month cannot participate. If you fall into this group, contact an Inspector in the Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 or see other options below.

Accepted Wastes and Costs

The cost of disposal depends on the type and amount of the waste you have and ranges from $1.25 to $22.00 per gallon. The fees charged are pro-rated on a per unit basis, and do not include other related costs that the County may incur. For the most part, these fees will be considerably lower than that of a licensed commercial hazardous waste hauler.

Wastes accepted and associated costs are listed in the San Mateo County VSQG Rate Schedule. Please note that the container size of the waste must not be larger than 5-gallons total.

Unacceptable Wastes

Waste in a container that is larger than 5-gallons in size, maximum, is not accepted.

The following list of wastes that are not accepted by the program:

  • Radioactive Wastes
  • Electronic Wastes and Appliances
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders (except propane)
  • Explosives and Ammunition
  • Medical/Biological Wastes
  • Sharps & Needles
  • Tires
  • Asbestos
  • Pressure Treated Wood

Making an Appointment

VSQG Collections are held at our San Mateo Facility and are by appointment only. Appointments are on the first and third Wednesday of the month, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

To make an appointment:

  • See if your business requires an EPA ID Number from the Department of Toxic Substances Control by reviewing their Fact Sheet; if so, get one.
  • Make a list of the wastes you need to dispose of. Please include what the waste is, the container size, and how much you have, and also include what appointment day and time you would like:

Example: "I need to dispose of Used Paint Thinner. There are 4 containers that are 5-gallons in size, and each one is full. The total amount of waste is 20 gallons. I would like an appointment on the first Wednesday of next month, December 5, 2012, at 11:30 a.m."

  • Have your EPA ID number and waste inventory list ready and call toll free 1-800-207-8222 (ask for San Mateo County Customer Service Representative); email cesqgsanmateo@pscnow.com or fax 1-916-351-1707.
  • Staff will estimate your cost of disposal and set the appointment for you. If your desired appointment day and time is not available, you will be contacted with other options.
  • Staff will provide you with the disposal costs and the information for your appointment, including driving directions to the collection location.
  • Bring your waste in at your appointed day and time with payment for the costs (checks must be made out to "San Mateo County").
  • We will issue you a receipt for the disposal costs.

Legal Requirements

If your business qualifies as a VSQG, certain legal requirements will apply to your business, including hazardous waste storage amounts, transportation limits, and State EPA Identification numbers. Please contact an Inspector in the Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 for these and other legal requirements.

Who to Contact for More Information?

If you have any questions or need further information,  please call (650) 655-6217 or email us at wwon@smcgov.org.

Don't Qualify as a VSQG?

If your business generates more than 100 kilograms (27 gallons or 220 pounds) of hazardous waste, please find a certified hauler to properly dispose of your waste: