Hazardous Waste

What are Hazardous Wastes?

Household hazardous wastes are materials discarded from homes that may pose a human or environmental hazard when improperly handled, stored or disposed.

What are the hazards?

  • Children and pets can be seriously harmed by eating, drinking, touching or breathing toxic chemicals.
  • Garbage workers can be injured by exploding cans, splashing chemicals and poisonous fumes.
  • Water using for drinking or irrigation is contaminated when such hazardous wastes seep into the ground.
  • Bacteria needed to break down sewage waste can be killed by these hazardous wastes when they enter you septic tank or the sewer system.

Tips for proper storage:

  • Never leave hazardous products within reach of children.
  • Never mix chemicals.  They can produce deadly gases and possibly explode.
  • Do not dispose of hazardous materials in the trash, sewer, storm drains, bodies of water or in the ground.
  • Do not refill empty containers unless the label states that this is OK.
  • Never remove products labels and always leave products in original containers.
  • Purchase only what you will need.  If you have extra, share with a neighbor.
  • Store in original containers away from food, pets and children until a household hazardous waste event is held.

Please note that there is a charge to recycle compact fluorescent lights and fluorescent tubes from businesses and other non-residential customers.  For more information about recycling fluorescent bulbs and tubes, click here.

For information on how to recycle used motor oil and filters at home, click here.

For locations and hours of certified used oil recycling centers, click here.

For information on less toxic alternatives to hazardous products, click here.

Home-Generated Sharps (HGS) 
Examples of HGSs include needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects. Sharps can only be disposed after they are properly contained. Proper containers with instructions are available at most pharmacies. Please do not use other containers, as they may tear or rupture during the normal trash collection and disposal process. Never place loose sharps in your trash. Please bring them properly contained to the Del Norte County Transfer Station free of charge. For more information, click here, or call 465-1100.

 

Medicines and Pharmaceuticals
Outdated or unused medicines should not be flushed down the toilet.  To dispose of medicines, the Authority recommends that you empty your pill bottles into a plastic bag with kitty litter, seal it shut, and place that bag in your trash.   The County Sheriff and City Police departments also on occasion have specific days when you can bring your unwanted medicines to them for disposal.   As a last resort, used medicines can also be brought to the annual household hazardous waste roundup for proper disposal.

 

Asbestos
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in building materials for many years, but has been recognized as a significant potential health hazard.  Before your remodel or demolish  any portion of your home, for the protection of your family’s health and that of your workers, you should know if you have any building materials likely to contain asbestos.

If you do not have an asbestos expert on your work crew, we recommend that you contact Brian McNalley (707) 465-0426 ext. 361 of the Del Norte County Health Department to confirm that your materials are non-friable.

The health hazard associated with asbestos is that when broken or crushed, asbestos-containing products can release microscopic fibers which can be inhaled and cause severe irritation to lung tissue.  Friable asbestos is brittle, and can readily release these microscopic fibers.  Friable asbestos must be removed by licensed contractors, and it can be difficult for an untrained person to determine if a material is friable or not.  To be sure whether your materials are asbestos, friable or not, Authority staff recommend you consult with the Del Norte Health Department at 465-0426.  There is no legal location for  disposal of friable asbestos in Del Norte County.

The Del Norte County Transfer Station accepts non-friable asbestos, but these materials must first be placed in two layers of special extra-thick plastic bags that are sold by Hambro/WSG at the Del Norte County Transfer Station.   For more information about the Authority’s non-friable asbestos acceptance policy , contact the Authority’s Program Manager Tedd Ward at 465-1100.

 How Should I Recycle or Dispose of Electronics?
Electronic product discards, sometimes called ‘e-waste’ can include computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines, printers, electronic games, audio or video equipment, digital clocks, phones, and most anything with a circuit board in it.  Such e-waste products often contain heavy metals and other materials that make them hazardous, and it is  illegal to dispose of e-waste in trash or recycling carts.

What should I do with my electronic discards?
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  You can reduce your generation of e-waste by buying devices that are more durable, or which can be easily repaired.    Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can still use it, or by buying used equipment.  Recycle those components that cannot be repaired.

How can I recycle electronics in Del Norte as a self-hauler?
Electronic discards may be recycled daily at the Del Norte County Transfer Station.  Just keep e-waste separated, as electronics are placed in containers separated from other trash. Televisions, computer monitors, and cell phones are accepted for no charge. The minimum charge for up to 40 pounds of e-waste is half of the minimum charge for mixed wastes, though the price per ton is the same.

Will Recology Del Norte recycle electronics?
Never put electronics in your trash or recycling carts or bins, but you can get these collected for no extra charge.  If Recology Del Norte has collected trash from your single-family residence for the past three months, you are eligible for two free bulky item collections each year.   One of those bulky items can be a box of e-wastes (less than 100 pounds) or a television.   Call Recology Del Norte at 464-4181 to schedule your collection.
Even apartments, trailer parks and multi-family complexes are eligible for a limited number of bulky collections.  You may need to make arrangements with your landlord or property manager who will coordinate bulky item collections for your multi-family complex through Recology Del Norte.

 

Annual Household Hazardous Waste Roundup
Each year on a Saturday in early September, the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority sponsors a one-day Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Event at the Del Norte County Transfer Station from 9 Am until 2 PM.   The HHW Collection Event will be in September or October and will be announced in the Triplicate as well as on local radio stations.  This service is free to Del Norte County residents only, and is not intended or available for commercial hazardous waste disposal (see the following section on how to dispose of commercial hazardous wastes).

This HHW Collection Event is made available to dispose of household hazardous materials that are not accepted every day at the Del Norte County Transfer Station.  For a list of those HHW materials accepted every day, see the illustration above.

 

Commercial Hazardous Wastes
Businesses and public agencies with hazardous wastes to dispose can do so by following these steps:

1.  Obtain an EPA ID number through the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Board here:  http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/idmanifest/id_numbers.cfm

2.  Call 465-1100 to get a cost estimate for the disposal of the hazardous wastes you have and to set an appointment to bring your commercial hazardous wastes on the Friday preceding the HHW collection event.

3.  Bring your commercial hazardous materials for disposal at the appointed time on Friday September 14th, along with your EPA ID number and payment.  State transportation laws limit each vehicle to a maximum of 15 gallons of liquid or 125 pounds of liquid hazardous waste or 50 pounds of solid hazardous waste.

 

DNSWMA and the California Product Stewardship Council

As an advocate for extended producer responsibility, product stewardship, and retail TakeBack of hazardous products, the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority has been a partner with the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) since its formation.   This partnership has included projects funded by competitive grants from the California Integrated Waste Management Board and its successor agency, the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).  One of these projects helped establish Del Norte’s all household battery recycling program..  More information is available here on the current Authority product stewardship programs with CPSC as funded by CalRecycle.