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Learn how to dispose of household toxics, pharmaceuticals and sharps, and check the list below to find a disposal center near you. Together we can prevent pollution to protect our Bay.

Household Toxics, Pharmaceuticals, and Sharps Disposal

Did you know that expired medication is household hazardous waste, and needs to be disposed of properly? The same goes for paint, electronic waste, and batteries, and used motor oil. Find a disposal facility near you to keep toxic pollution out of the Bay.

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Household Toxics

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) are products that contain chemicals that can be dangerous or pollute our environment when improperly disposed of. These products include, but are not limited to, electronic waste (e-waste), many chemical cleaning supplies, paint, oils, and building materials. When disposed of in the garbage, down a household or storm drain, or left on the ground, chemicals from these products have the potential to catch fire, contaminate our water, air, or food, and pose health threats to people and wildlife. California has a full list of Household Hazardous Wastes not permitted in average trash disposal sites at CalRecycle.

Medications & Sharps

Medications and sharps (needles, syringes, or other items used to puncture skin) also present risk to people and our environment when improperly disposed of. Like HHW, pharmaceuticals should not be disposed in the garbage, down your drain, or the ground, as they can pollute waterways and expose wildlife to dangerous chemicals. Sharps are equally important to carefully dispose of. When left in landfills, or abandoned, they can put workers at risk who are sorting trash. For more information about the impact of these products see the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

How Do You Safely Dispose of These Products?

California counties are responsible for providing safe disposal or recycling sites for residents to bring their HHW, expired or unwanted medication, and sharps. Additionally, some private groups have pick-up or drop-off programs in the Bay Area. Please visit your county page below for information about locations and hours of these sites. Products accepted vary by location, so note the details listed or check their website to confirm that your item(s) can be disposed.

Choosing safer products for use in your home is another positive way to help prevent pollution. These products are also easier to dispose of properly. Check the EPA website for additional information about safer, more environmentally friendly household product choices.


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