Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 1/30/2006
Subject: Household Items Declared Hazardous Waste
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215

Existing regulatory exemptions that allow households and other small quantity generators to dispose of some hazardous wastes in municipal solid waste landfills expire on February 9, 2006. As a result, the following wastes (Universal wastes) may not be disposed of in regular household trash after February 8, 2006.

Common Batteries – AA, AAA, C cells, D cells and button batteries (e.g. hearing aid batteries).

Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs and Other Mercury-Containing Lamps – Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, sodium, and neon bulbs.

Thermostats – There is mercury inside the sealed glass "tilt switch" of the old style thermostats (not the newer electronic kind).

Electrical Switches and Relays contain mercury. Mercury switches can be found in some chest freezers, pre-1972 washing machines, sump pumps, electric space heaters, clothes irons, silent light switches, automobile hood and trunk lights, and ABS brakes.

Pilot Light Sensors – Mercury-containing switches are found in some gas appliances such as stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces and space heaters.

Mercury Gauges – Some gauges, such as barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges contain mercury.

Mercury Added Novelties - Examples include greeting cards that play music when opened; athletic shoes (made before 1997) with flashing lights in soles; and mercury maze games.

Mercury Thermometers –

Electronic Devices such as: televisions and computer monitors, computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios, and microwave ovens. These devices often contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, copper, and chromium.

Non-Empty Aerosol Cans that Contain Hazardous Materials – If your aerosol can is labeled with words like TOXIC or FLAMMABLE don’t put it in the trash unless it is completely empty.

Like used motor oil and paint, universal waste is a hazardous waste. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage. In addition, by throwing universal waste in the garbage, you can cause additional hazards to your garbage handler. Eventually, chemicals in illegally disposed hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat.

The best place to dispose of these materials is at the household hazardous waste collection facility operated by the Humboldt Waste Management Authority at 1059 West Hawthorne Street. Residential household hazardous waste is accepted every Friday and Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 at no cost when following the transportation limit of 15 gallons or 125 pounds of hazardous waste (if you exceed that limit, you will be charged). Small businesses are served by appointment. For more information about disposal, please call 441-2005. For additional information about these new regulations, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at 445-6215.

For on line information go to Waste/index.cfm.


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