What is HHW?
There are a lot of products that we use every day around our homes, such as batteries, household cleaners, cosmetics and medications, that need to be disposed of in a special way. These items are classified as "household hazardous waste" (HHW), and should never be discarded in a sink, storm drain or in your household trash. Hypodermic needles, syringes, lancets or other "sharps" that might be used at home for certain medical conditions can be harmful, too, if thrown in the trash - find out how to safely dispose of these here.
We can't simply throw HHW away because if these items were buried in a landfill, they could potentially contaminate our groundwater with harmful ingredients. The same goes for dumping them in the storm drains or sewers - storm drains go directly to the ocean, leading to contamination of our coastal waters, and our sewer systems contain beneficial bacteria that treats our sewage, which some of the household wastes could kill.
There are several options available for safely disposing of the following materials:
- Automotive products (antifreeze, fluids, motor oil*)
- Batteries (home and car)
- Cathode ray tubes (TVs, computer monitors**)
- Fluorescent light tubes and ballasts
- Hobby supplies (glue, paint)
- Household cleaners
- Mercury (thermometers, thermostats)
- Paint products
- Paints (latex and oil)
- Personal care products
- Polishes and waxes
- Pool and spa chemicals
- Propane tanks from barbecues
- Unused road flares
- Wood preservatives
Further precautions must be taken to handle materials such as ammunition, explosives, biological or medical waste, asbestos, radioactive waste, business-generated waste and compressed gas cylinders - should you require the disposal of these types of materials, please consult with a hazardous waste disposal company, or check the telephone directory under "Waste Disposal - Hazardous."
* It is important to properly dispose of used motor oil to ensure it stays out of our storm drains and the ocean. Next time you change your oil, be sure to follow these steps:
- Remove the oil filter from your car and drain it well for at least 24 hours - once it is drained, place it in a plastic bag.
- Drain the oil from your car into a plastic container.
- Secure the top on the container to ensure against spillage.
- One the items are secure, transport them to a certified used oil recycling center - many auto or tire supply stores or service centers will accept used motor oil and filters. Call in advance to make sure they will take the items and to verify store hours.
These items may also be taken to a county collection center for safe disposal. For more information on county sites that accept these items, please call (714) 834-6752 or go to http://www.oclandfills.com/hhwcc.asp.
For residents of Santa Ana, before you change your oil, contact Waste Management at (714) 558-7761 or (949) 642-1191 to request a free oil container and oil filter bag to be delivered to your home.
** Due to state environmental
laws, Waste Management is unable to accept TVs, computer
monitors or other "e-waste" through our
bulky item pick-up program. Please take these items
to Waste Management's
Sunset Environmental Transfer Station in Irvine or a
county collection center for safe disposal. For more
information on county sites that accept e-waste, please
call (714) 834-6752 or go to http://www.oclandfills.com/hhwcc.asp.
For other resources on reusing and recycling electronic
products, visit www.ciwmb.ca.gov/electronics/collection
Free Disposal of HHW
Household Hazardous Waste may be taken to a county collection center for safe disposal - all for free. For more information on county sites that accept these items, please call (714) 834-6752 or go to http://www.oclandfills.com/hhwcc.asp.
All Orange County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers are open Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed on rainy days, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas and New Year's Days.
Anaheim Regional HHWCC
1071 N. Blue Gum Street
(located between the 91 and 57 freeways on the corner of La Palma and Blue Gum)
Huntington Beach Regional HHWCC
17121 Nichols Street
Huntington Beach, CA
(located between Beach Blvd. and Gothard St. off Warner Ave. next to Rainbow Recycling and Disposal - use Gate 6)
Irvine Regional HHWCC
6411 Oak Canyon
(located off of Sand Canyon between the 5 and 405 freeways, use the same driveway as Bark Park)
San Juan Capistrano Regional HHWCC - Prima Deshecha Landfill
32250 La Pata Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA
(from the 5 freeway, exit Ortega Highway, go east to La Pata and turn right; or Antonio Parkway south, cross Ortega Highway, continue on La Pata Road to the landfill entrance)
In certain cities serviced by Waste
Management - Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo - pick-up of
HHW can be arranged through Curbside, Inc., by calling 1-800-HHW-PKUP