Did you know it is illegal in California to simply throw some household items in the trash? Many common household items, like batteries, lightbulbs, and household cleaners, contain potentially hazardous materials or ingredients that pose a danger to the environment, and to you, if disposed of in a landfill. These items, known as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), must be disposed of in a special way to prevent contamination of our air, water, or even food.
What is banned from the trash?
- Lights, batteries, and electronics – this includes lightbulbs and lamps, batteries, and electronic devices like monitors, TVs, microwaves, and cell phones.
- Mercury-Containing Items – these can include items you may not think of, like electrical switches and musical birthday cards, as well as common items like thermostats and thermometers.
- Household and Landscape Chemicals – including flammables and poisons, pool chemicals, cleaners, and pesticides.Paints and solvents – such as latex and oil-based paints and solvents
- Building materials – this includes treated wood and materials with asbestos, like older kinds of cement, roofing, flooring, and siding.
- Automobile-Related – including antifreeze, batteries, motor oil, and tires.
- Other – compressed gas cylinders, healthcare needles and sharps, paint and ballasts with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and any nonempty aerosol cans labeled with “TOXIC” or “FLAMMABLE”
*Note that this is not a comprehensive list. Visit calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Info/ or check with your local jurisdiction to verify if your item needs to be specially disposed of.
Where should you dispose of your hazardous materials?
Orange County has four Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers. Call 714-834-4000 or visit www.oclandfills.com/household-hazardous-waste.
Riverside County has four permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers and multiple additional locations that are temporary or specific to certain types of waste. Call 951-486-3200 or visit www.rcwaste.org/Waste-Guide.
San Bernardino County has fourteen permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers. Call 909-382-5401 or visit www.sbcfire.org/collectionfacilities.
Do you need household hazardous items like paint, cleaning liquids, or pesticides?
Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties all offer Reuse programs where county residents can pick up unopened or partially used household hazardous items for FREE! There is no guarantee for item availability and locations and hours will vary by jurisdiction. Check with the they phone numbers and websites listed above to find your local Reuse location.