Safe Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Many common products that we use in our homes and daily lives may contain hazardous ingredients and require special care when disposed. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage, down storm drains, or onto the ground. Chemicals in illegally or improperly disposed hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat. Special regulations have been placed upon the disposal techniques of these Household Hazardous Wastes.

What is household hazardous waste? Why is it important to keep HHW out of landfills? 
[Read more...] including how to transport and label HHW and where the HHW disposals sites are.

Acceptable HHW materials that must be taken to the appropriate household hazardous waste disposal site - DISPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS

motor oil
nail polish, removers
pool chemicals
drain openers
oven cleaners
propane tanks
fluorescent bulbs
paint, latex or oil
used oil filters
grease, rust solvents
paint strippers
wood cleaners
high-intensity lamps
paint thinners
metal cleaners
lighter fluid
pesticides, insecticides
mercury thermometers

NOT acceptable - List of unacceptable household hazardous waste materials

radioactive materials
treated wood
rail ties
medical waste


The State of California has recently expanded their definitions of Hazardous a Universal Wastes. Items that fall under these categories are unlawful to dispose of in the normal waste stream. 

The Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD), where the refuse collected in Monterey is disposed, has provided information explaining some of the non-acceptable items. Some of these items may be hauled to the MRWMD directly; however it is illegal to place them in the normal waste stream. Please refer to the, or call them for more information at 831-384-5313.  Rules Explaining Hazardous Waste Disposal (PDF)

Used motor oil collection

Motor oil is a hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly. Monterey County Health Department, the City of Monterey, and Monterey City Disposal Service are working together to provide the residents of Monterey with a environmentally friendly option to disposing of your used motor oil. To dispose of your oil, you must use the County's used oil collection container. Simply, place your oil out on the curb, next to your blue cart, on your normal recycling collection day. If you do not have the proper container, one can be provided by calling Monterey Disposal at (831) 372-7977, for the City of Monterey residents. If you don't not live in the City of Monterey, but do live in Monterey County you can call 1-800-CLEANUP for information on how to obtain a recycling container. This service is provided for single family residences only. Oil must be free of all other fluids (i.e. no antifreeze or fuel) and properly placed to avoid spillage.

More items needing safe disposal

Recycle used motor oil and filters – for FREE in Monterey County
Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Recycling
How to Recycle Used Batteries