Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste

California hazardous waste rules ban residents from throwing most consumer electronics, batteries, and mercury-containing products in their trash cans. Called “universal waste;” these items contain harmful chemicals which, if disposed of improperly, may be harmful to people and the environment.

Virtually all electronic devices that contain a battery or circuit board - including computers, printers, cell phones, stereos, and even some appliances like microwave ovens - are targeted in the new regulations, because they often contain heavy metals like lead, copper, and chromium. Household batteries, mercury thermometers, thermostats with mercury, and fluorescent tubes and compact bulbs are also among the prohibited products.

Options for Proper Disposal


Visit: HHW for information on proper HHW disposal

Since 1991, the Santa Clara countywide HHW Program has provided residents with a safe, convenient disposal service with year-round access. The county and 14 cities participate in the countywide program and share costs based on the number of households served from each jurisdiction. Participating jurisdictions include: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale.

The Santa Clara countywide HHW Program provides the general public and small businesses with a safe, immediate solution to HHW recycling and disposal. Residents are encouraged to use safer and less toxic alternatives and purchase smaller quantities of hazardous products. On-going public education continues to increase public awareness and participation.

Improper storage and disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW) is associated with accidental poisonings, worker health and safety, equipment damage, and environmental contamination of surface and groundwater. Heavy metals such as lead, zinc, copper, nickel, mercury and cadmium enter the waste stream via residential sewage and urban run-off.

State and local regulations prohibit the disposal of HHW at solid waste landfills. Before collection programs were available, options for managing HHW were limited to disposal in the trash, pouring down the drain, or storing the waste indefinitely. Products stored for more than a year, are seldom used and the risk of accidental poisoning of children and pets significantly outweighs any potential benefit of saving the product for future use.

For additional information please call the HHW program at 408-299-7300. We can be contacted by email or by fax at 408-280-6479.

In addition, West Valley Collection and Recycling will accept household batteries at their processing facility, call 408-283-9250. You can visit one of the local businesses that accept used motor oil by viewing the chart below.