How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

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 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

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

San Bernardino County has fourteen permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers. Call 909-382-5401 or visit

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.

Did You Know…

…about these refrigerator facts? Following a few of these tips can help you save some money in utility bills and be more energy efficient.

These are a few solutions and remedies for the pests that visit your home, published in the book Who knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems.

  1. Make sure you don’t have any open containers with liquid inside your fridge. This is because to help cool your foods, energy is used to reduce the humidity inside the fridge. So if you have pitchers, bowls, or any other containers with liquid inside, make sure they are sealed tightly. In addition, wait until your foods and liquids are cooled to room temperature before putting them inside. You will force your refrigerator to use extra energy if you put hot or even warm foods inside.
  2. If your refrigerator is over several years old, it’s possible that the rubber lining around the door (also called the gasket) is coming loose. If it is loose, there could be some cold air leaking from your fridge, which can cause it to work harder. You can perform a few tests to see if your fridge door has a leak. One method is to put a battery-operated lamp or flashlight inside the fridge. Turn off the lights in your kitchen, and if you see any light coming from the door, that’s where the cold air might be leaking. If you find a leak, you can try to re-glue your gasket or buy a new one to replace it.
  3. The more items you have inside your freezer, the more energy efficient it becomes. If you don’t store much in your freezer or if you are running low on items, you can simply fill empty cartons or bottles with water and put them in as space holders.
  4. No one likes to clean the drawers, especially if there’s old vegetables and fruits in it. One easy solution is to always have them lined with either newspaper, magazine pages, or even bubble wrap. Newspaper will keep your vegetables from getting too moist and bubble wrap will prevent your food from getting bruised. So even if you end up with old foods in the drawers, you can just throw everything out along with the lining for easy cleaning!

Source: Who knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems by Bruce Lubin & Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin