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What is Household Hazardous Waste and How do I Dispose of it?

Published on: 2/18/2014 11:07 AM







Chemicals accepted by the Household Hazardous Waste Program fall into one of four D.O.T. hazard 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.
Misc. include propane, helium, small oxygen tanks, smoke detectors.



Residents can only dispose of the following medical waste; prescription drugs, used sharps, including syringes, needles, and lancets.  The sharps must be placed in a red bio-hazardous container attainable at local pharmacies and online.  Please click here for more information on disposal of sharps.

For a detailed list of household hazardous waste products we accept, please click here

The list also provides resources on how to dispose of items that we do not accept.

How to dispose of your hazardous waste
If you would like to schedule a drop-off at one of our facilities, please call the Santa Clara County HHW appointment line at 408.299.7300, Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or click on "Make An Appointment" on our home page.  Please bring materials in their original, labeled, and sealed containers whenever possible and never mix chemicals together.  Please box or bag ALL wastes for quicker removal from your vehicle and sort materials by the following categories: 1. Aerosols; 2. Paints, flammables and automotive fluids; and 3. Cleaners, and yard or garden products.  Keep in mind that NO containers will be returned to you.

*Operating Schedule: Please call 408.299.7300 for our normal operating hours, or click here to view our annual operating schedule.

 Instructions for Residential Drop-off Participants


1. Please note that A MAXIMUM of 15 GALLONS or 125 POUNDS of hazardous waste per vehicle is permitted by state transportation laws and the HHW Program.  If you have more than this amount of waste you may bring the additional hazardous waste in two or more cars or in two or more trips....

2. For your safety, transport the waste in your trunk or the back of a pick-up, away from the passenger area. The Program does NOT accept AMMUNITION, EXPLOSIVES, OR RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS.

3. Proof of residency, such as a driver's license or a utility bill with a current address, will be required at the check-in area.  If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call the appointment line to cancel or reschedule, that way another resident can take your place.  The drop-off will be held rain or shine.  If you have any questions please call 408.299.7300 or visit our FAQ page.

4. Remember, due to the turning radius at the entrance of our facilities, vehicles with trailers are not allowed.

5. Also, to prevent delay and traffic congestion, we are not able to return any containers you bring your waste in; including any plastic recycling bins, boxes, trash cans, gas cans, or paint buckets.

6. In addition, please remove any valuables or non-waste products from your vehicle storage area.  Our service moves quickly, and we do not want to cause confusion.



To learn about what happens to your waste after you drop it off, please click here.

Re-Use Program
To learn about how to pick-up free reusable products such as Cleaners, Chemicals, Automotive Fluids, Paints, and other items click here.

Alternative Means of disposing of other Hazardous Wastes
Disposal lists are updated every six months and disposal fees are subject to change, please call businesses for details, directions, and disposal information.

Alternative Means of disposing of Fluorescent Bulbs, Household Batteries, Thermometers and Thermostats
There are alternative means of disposal for fluorescent bulbs, household batteries, thermometers and thermostats besides our HHW drop-off locations.  The fluorescent bulb, household batteries, thermometer and thermostat drop-off list are stores and locations that are accepting these items free of charge on our programs behalf.  They will accept all different types of these items during their regular business hours.



Resource List

Free Motor Oil and Oil Filter Recycling
Electronic Waste Recycling List
Fluorescent Light Drop-Off Sites 
Thermostat Drop-Off Sites
Household Sharps Disposal & Recycling
Thermometer Drop-Off Locations
Car Batteries, Antifreeze, & Tires
Drum and Propane Tanks
Hazardous Waste Pickup, Asbestos Testing, and other Environmental Services
Railroad Tie / Treated Wood Disposal Options
Curbside Pickup or/and Large Non-Hazardous Waste Item Pickup
Battery Disposal 
* Remember to tape the positive (+) terminal on your
batteries before dropping them off (D.O.T. Regulation)
Find The Nearest Rechargeable Battery Recycling Location
Rubbish, Large Non-Hazardous Waste Item, or other Disposal Items
Other Household Hazardous Waste Programs in the Bay Area

*Disclaimer: The Resource List is provided as a courtesy to residents of Santa Clara County as a reference guide.  The Household Hazardous Waste Program does not endorse or recommend any company listed.

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