Household Hazardous Waste

Household hazardous waste cannot be disposed of in any of your carts.

Household hazardous waste (HHW), including electronic waste, accounts for significant amounts of toxic waste in landfills. Items such as electronics, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, paints, pesticides, cleaning products, old medications and other chemicals are illegal to put in the garbage or pour down a drain or gutter because they contaminate our soil, drinking water and air.

What is considered HHW?
Household hazardous waste falls into four basic categories:

  • Flammables include paints, dry or wet, petroleum based products, and polishes.
  • Corrosives include acids, bases, batteries, and drain clog remover.
  • Toxics include poisons, pesticides, gardening chemicals, ammonia, and solvents.
  • Oxidizers include pool chemicals, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and perchlorates.
  • Other miscellaneous include propane, helium, small oxygen tanks, smoke detectors.

Drop Off
Residents and small businesses can dispose of their hazardous waste through the Santa Clara Country Hazardous Waste Program. Drop off facilities are open several days each month.

BATTERIES

Batteries

Curbside Battery Collection
Put household batteries (e.g. rechargeable, alkaline, button) inside a tightly sealed plastic bag, and place on top of your recycling cart on collection day.

Apartment Battery Collection
Check to see if your building has a designated area for battery collection in your building. If you don’t see one in a shared location, contact your property manager to request a collection.

Property Managers
Establish a centrally located collection container at your property – a lobby, multi-use room, mail room or clubhouse – for residents to place their bagged batteries. When you’re ready to schedule a collection, place them all in a sealed plastic bag and leave in the mutually determined collection location for collection.

For safety, please tape over the contact points of each lithium battery. Look for “Lithium” or “Li” (most button and rechargeable batteries).

MEDICATIONS

Medications

When medications are disposed of in the trash or down the drain, they can end up in the wrong hands, or in our soils and waterways. Waste water treatment facilities are not properly equipped to remove medicinal substances from the water. The result?  A wide range of pharmaceuticals have been found in our rivers and lakes.

Drop-Off
Drop off for safe handling at nearby police stations and select pharmacies..

MOTOR OIL

Just one quart of motor oil that is disposed of improperly can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of fresh water.

Curbside Collection
Used Motor Oil – place used motor oil in one-gallon plastic containers with tight fitting, screw top lids. (Milk and water jugs with pop-on lids are acceptable.)  Lids must be taped securely!  You may place up to two one-gallon containers next to your recycling bin for pickup.

Used Oil Filters – place fully drained filters in a sealed, leak-proof, plastic bag and place curbside next to your recycling bins.

PAINT

Paint

Residents and small businesses can dispose of their hazardous waste through the Santa Clara Country Hazardous Waste Program.  Drop off facilities are open several days each month.

Drop-Off
PaintCare offers take-back programs at no charge. Find a location to drop off interior and exterior paints, primers, thinners, and solvents.

SHARPS

Sharps

Residents with medical conditions requiring the use of hypodermic needles are required to arrange for proper disposal. California law prohibits the disposal of “sharps waste” in trash or recycling containers.

Home generated sharps waste includes: Hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for medical purposes.

Drop-Off & Take-Back Programs
Please place home-generated sharps waste in biohazard containers (available for purchase at local pharmacies and some office supply stores) and contact your health care provider, local pharmacies, hospitals or clinics to ask if they offer a collection program.

For more information on pharmacies and other locations that accept used sharps waste within the Santa Clara County or to use its Online Appointment System to dispose of your sharps waste, visit Santa Clara Department of Health: Household Hazardous Waste Program or call 408-299-7300.

Mail-Back Service
Check out CalRecycle’s sharps waste mail-back services.