When we think about "Hazardous Waste," we tend to think about barrels of sludge or glowing radioactive ooze, but it's not all so obvious. Toxic products can lurk in many corners of your business; pesticides for landscaping, oil in the motor pool, worn out fluorescent bulbs and chemical cleaners in the maintenance area. When these products are left over, unwanted or unusable, they turn into potentially harmful waste, also known as Hazardous Waste.
It is easy to imagine why certain toxics, for example a bottle of weed killer or a canister of diesel fuel, might pose a danger to us and the environment. Inhaling fumes and skin contact can damage our health, especially that of our children. Throwing these products into the trash or pouring them down the sink or into a storm drain pollutes our soil, groundwater, rivers and bay, and can harm wildlife.
Other hazardous waste is less obvious in its toxicity. For example, electronics such as computers and cell phones, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and thermostats are safe while in use, but turn into toxic waste when discarded. The reason is that they contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium, and other harmful chemicals that are released into the environment when these products are crushed in the landfill.
Hazardous Wastes (HW) are leftover, unwanted, unusable or spent products that contain toxic ingredients. These products must be disposed of properly to protect the health of our families and the environment.
Additional drop-off locations exist for highlighted items – click on the link for that information. Bring chemicals in secure containers and do not mix them! Do not bring explosives, radioactive material, drums, medical Waste and unstable chemicals.
If your business has leftover hazardous materials, you may be eligible for a service to safetly dispose of these items. Businesses that generate less than 25 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month can participate in the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) program for a fee. Businesses must make an appointment first.
Paint contains solvents and other chemicals considered hazardous. Paint that ends up in the garbage, sink or storm drains can pollute our soil and drinking water, and harm wildlife. Leftover latex paint can be dropped off for free at any of the locations listed below.
Never send cooking oils, fats or greases down the drain. Even small amounts can cause problems in your home plumbing or further down the sewer line. Instead, used cooking oil can be recycled into soaps, industrial lubricants, biodiesel and other products.
Used motor oil is a hazardous waste and dangerous contaminant. Just one quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of ground water. That's enough water to cover a football field more than one inch deep!
If you do your own oil change, please be careful to avoid spills and collect the oil and filter for recycling. Please use only the County's used motor oil recycling containers and filter bags, available for free from your garbage hauler and many used motor oil collection centers (see below).
Used motor oil and filter recycling is easy in the Salinas Valley. You have several options:
Single-family homes can recycle used motor oil and filters on the curb on their regular collection day. For details and set-out rules, follow the links below:
Antifreeze contains toxic chemicals that can cause serious health problems and even death. It is especially dangerous to animals and children because of its sweet taste. Two tablespoons of antifreeze can kill a small dog!
Never dispose of spent antifreeze in the garbage, toilet, sink or storm drains. Please take it to one of the drop-off locations listed below for recycling.
Household batteries - the kind used in flashlights, toys, electronics etc - contain small, but very potent amounts of heavy metals and corrosive chemicals. These toxic substances can contaminate our soil and water if they end up in the landfill. It has been illegal to put household batteries into the garbage since 2006.
Please buy hand-operated items whenever possible and use rechargeable instead of single-use batteries. Rechargeables have a much longer life span: up to 800 charge-discharge cycles before they have to be replaced.
Please drop off your used household batteries at the following locations:
Montery Co. Free Libraries
Greenfield Branch 315 El Camino Real
Rancho San Miguel 500 Walnut Ave.
Calabro Plumbing &
True Value 110 ALta Street
Russ's TV 34 4th Street
Johnson Canyon Landfill 31400 Johnson Canyon Road
Drop off at ABOP Facility
Monterey Co. Free Libraries
King City Branch
404 Broadway Street
Monterey Co. Free Libraries San Ardo Branch 62350 College St. (P.O Box 127)
San Ardo, CA 93450
Rite Aid 540 Canal Street
Jolon Road Transfer Station 52654 Jolon Road
(831) 385-6213 Drop off at ABOP Facility
Ace Hardware 8055 San Miguel Canyon Rd
Additional drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries ONLY:
Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off for recycling at any store that also sells them, e.g. Radio Shack, Best Buy, Lowe's, Office Depot and Staples Office Supply. To find a participating retailer in your zip code call the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation at 678-419-9990 or visit www.rbrc.org.
Tip: Get a free battery bucket from the SVSWA or use an empty jar to collect spent household batteries at home or at work.
Car batteries, also referred to as a lead-acid battery, contain about 21 pounds of lead, three pounds of plastic and one gallon of sulfuric acid each! These materials pose a hazard to people's health and the environment if they're not handled properly.
Please recycle your car battery at one of the following locations, so that the materials can be reclaimed and made into new batteries.
Pettigrew & Foletta Auto parts 10865 Merritt St
Fluorescent tubes and bulbs are safe while in use but are considered hazardous waste when discarded. The reason is that they contain toxic mercury vapor and other heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. When fluorescent tubes and bulbs are broken or crushed in the landfill, heavy metals are released. They can contaminate soil and water, and harm wildlife.
Please drop off your spent fluorescent tubes and bulbs at the following locations for recycling.
Tip: Bundle and tape tubes together to avoid breakage.
Electronics include computers and monitors, computer equipment, televisions, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios, digital watches, gameboys, joysticks, game accessories and microwave ovens.
Although these products are safe while in use, they are considered hazardous waste when discarded due to their content of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. It has been illegal to put "e-waste" into the garbage since 2006.
Your options to recycle unwanted electronics:
Occasional "e-waste" collection drives held throughout the community. Watch for announcements in the local media and on our home page.
Electronics may be accepted through your hauler's bulky item collection. Contact your hauler directly for details.
Drop off "e-waste" at any of the following locations:
Many older thermometers, thermostats, electrical switches, and gauges such as barometers and manometers contain mercury. To see if your thermostat contains mercury, carefully remove the front cover of the thermostat to look for a small ampoule containing a silver liquid. If you see this, you have a mercury thermostat.
Mercury is a heavy metal and extremely toxic. Just one gram - the amount in an old-fashioned mercury thermometer - can contaminate a 20-acre lake! Mercury can be absorbed by fish and other organisms and harm humans who eat the fish, causing long-term health problems such as damage to the kidneys and nervous system. Tip: Double-bag mercury-containing items before you drop them off.