About Hazardous Waste
Introduction to Hazardous Waste
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE is created when common household products that contain toxic chemicals and/or that can cause harmful reactions are no longer wanted or needed. Every year Americans create an astounding 1/6 million tons of house hazardous waste. Products such as household cleaners, used motor oil, cooking oil, pesticide, batteries, fluorescents, electronics, gardening products, paint, and pharmaceuticals all contain chemicals that harm the environment and can even be deadly. If household hazardous waste is not disposed of properly, toxics are released into the soil, the air, and water supplies threatening the health of animals and humans alike. See what kinds of hazardous waste you may have in your home.
If one has unused or unwanted household hazardous waste it is illegal to dispose of it by putting it into the garbage or landfills; abandoning, burying, or pouring onto the ground; by fire or incineration; or pouring down a sink, toilet, or storm drain. By law, these products must be properly recycled or disposed at a hazardous waste facility. Residents of West Contra Costa County can take their hazardous waste to the permanent collection facility located near the Richmond Parkway. A mobile collection program is also available to assist home bound seniors and disabled persons to properly disposed of their household hazardous waste.
Need help with your hazardous waste?
- Household Hazardous Waste
- What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
- Local Facility to drop off HHW for FREE
- Mobile HHW Collection Program (for seniors and disabled)
- Used Motor Oil program (FREE drop off and pickup!)
- Paint Stewardship Program
- Information for Kensington residents
- Safe Disposal of Unwanted Medications
- Recycling Tips for Motorcycle Owners
- Hazardous Waste FAQS and more....
- Accepted Waste Items
Welcome to the Commercial Household Hazardous Waste landing page. Resources here should help you to determine how to properly dispose of certain HHW items, as well as better, less toxic alternatives.
West County businesses generating less than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month may participate in the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Program (CESQG) at the West Contra Costa Permanent HHW Facility located in Richmond. Fees apply. There is an on-line form to complete and additional information is available by calling 1-888-412-9277. For more information visit our Commercial Hazardous Waste FAQs.
One of our most popular resources is out onsite audits which will give you a better idea of how you can reduce your workplace's use of hazardous items. Learn more here.
Check this listing to see what is considered hazardous waste and to learn more about environmentally friendly alternatives.
Answers to some common questions about household hazardous waste. Click Here.
More information coming soon.
Information regarding hazardous waste mobile collection in Contra Costa County.
This is a list of all household hazardous waste accepted items for disposal. Please review when sorting through your hazardous waste.
Does Your Business Generate Hazardous Waste?
West County businesses generating less than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month may participate in the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Program (CESQG) at the West Contra Costa Permanent HHW Facility located in Richmond. Fees apply. There is an on-line form to complete and additional information is available by calling at 1-888-412-9277. For more information visit our Commercial Hazardous Waste FAQs.
Requirements for Program Use
The Customer agrees to abide by the following requirements:
1. State and federal hazardous waste laws limit the use of household hazardous waste collection programs to households and those businesses that generate less than 100 kilograms (about 27 gallons or 220 lbs) of hazardous waste a month and less than 1 kg of “extremely hazardous waste” a month.
2. Wastes must only be delivered during the following hours of operation:
• Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
• 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (closed Noon to 12:30 p.m. for lunch)
3. An authorized representative of the organization or business such as the owner, manager or supervisor, who has legal authorization to obligate, must sign below.
4. Customers must adhere to the following requirements in preparing wastes for transport:
• No leaking containers are allowed
• Keep different products separate from each other
• Avoid spills: secure lids
• Tape lids down if possible to fall off
• Unknowns are not accepted
• Unlabeled containers with known contents should be labeled with the product name or classification
• No containers greater than 5 gallons • If container is very rusty or cracked, transfer to another container and label it or place it in another secure container
• Place wastes in boxes and surround with newspaper or other material so that containers do not move during transport
• Place wastes in the trunk or back of the vehicle away from occupants
• Load your vehicle just prior to delivery
• Drive directly to the facility
• Do not allow children or pets in the vehicle
5. The following wastes are not accepted:
• Radioactive Materials
• Explosives, including firearms
• Controlled substances
• Gas Cylinders - Pressurized, thick-walled over 5 gallons
6. State law limits transportation amount to 27 gallons (220 pounds) or less and we are required to reject any amount over that limit.
7. We can only accept the wastes that have been pre-approved.
8. Prior to arrival at the facility, you will need to bring the following items:
• Signed Materials Acceptance Request Form
• Signed Requirements for Program Use
• Proof that your business or organization is located in the eligible service area
• Check made out to “WCRR”
(FREE Drop-off at HHW facility)
Proper Medicine/Pharmaceuticals / Sharps Disposal Made Easy
1. Keep medicine/pharmaceuticals in original container;
2. Leave the drug name intact. Black out personal information, including names, prescription numbers and doctor’s name;
3. Drop-off unwanted medicine/pharmaceuticals at the HHW Collection Facility at 101 Pittsburg Ave., Richmond.
Note: No controlled substances will be accepted.
Pharmaceuticals Now Present in the Environment
**News Release May 2012 - Look Below for Additional Drop Off Locations for Pharmaceuticals**
Pharmaceuticals are now being detected in water and soil by scientists worldwide. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study found pharmaceutical and personal care product contaminants in 80 percent of 139 streams sampled in 30 states.
Pharmaceuticals enter wastewater treatment plants through either excretion or flushing of unused medications. These pharmaceuticals may not be completely degraded or removed at the wastewater treatment plant. Regardless of the level of treatment, most conventional wastewater treatment cannot effectively eliminate pharmaceutical compounds.
Concern about Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
Researchers suspect that hormones and pharmaceutical compounds in the water may be responsible for effects on wildlife including feminization of male fish, sluggish activity or reduced appetite. Short and long term human health effects are currently unknown.
In addition, pharmaceutical use in the general population is growing, so more unwanted drugs are generated and being improperly disposed and thus creating increased environmental concerns.
**Announcing Four New Locations to drop off Pharmaceuticals - May 2012**
San Pablo and Pinole Police Departments and the West County Wastewater District office are new drop-off locations for unwanted and expired home-generated pharmaceuticals. These new convenient locations allow West Contra Costa County residents to properly dispose of old pharmaceuticals and keep them out of the water supply and garbage. Controlled substances are not allowed in the collection bins per State and Federal Laws.
San Pablo Police Station: 13880 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo
Pinole Police Station: 880 Tennent Avenue, Pinole
Richmond Police Station: 1701 Regatta Blvd, Richmond
West County Wastewater District Office: 2910 Hilltop Drive, Richmond
Other locations accepting unwanted pharmaceuticals:
West County Permanent HHW Collection Facility: 101 Pittsburg Avenue, Richmond
El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center: 7501 Schmidt Lane, El Cerrito