What is household hazardous waste?

When we think about "Hazardous Waste," we tend to think about barrels of sludge or glowing radioactive ooze, but it's not all so obvious. Toxic products can lurk in many corners of your home or business; pesticides for landscaping, jugs of used motor oil, worn out fluorescent bulbs and tubes, and familiar chemical cleaners purchased with your weekly groceries. When these products are left over, unwanted or unusable, they turn into potentially harmful waste, also known as Household Hazardous Waste.

Obvious Toxics

It is easy to imagine why certain toxics, for example a bottle of weed killer or a canister of diesel fuel, might pose a danger to us and the environment. Inhaling fumes and skin contact can damage our health, especially that of our children. Throwing these products into the trash or pouring them down the sink or into a storm drain pollutes our soil, groundwater, rivers and bay, and can harm wildlife.

Hidden Toxics

Other hazardous waste is less obvious in its toxicity. For example, electronics such as computers and cell phones, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and thermostats are safe while in use, but turn into toxic waste when discarded. The reason is that they contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium, and other harmful chemicals that are released into the environment when these products are crushed in the landfill.

Salinas Valley Recycles (SVR) offers many opportunities throughout the year for Salinas Valley residents and businesses to manage these special materials safely.  Click here to learn more about their programs and collection sites.

Tri-Cities hosts an annual cleanup week (or weekend) event in each city in its service area. A.B.O.P. items, electronic waste (e-waste), and sharps containers are collected on a special day during these events.  Gonzales, Greenfield, and Soledad host annual supplemental “Reuse, Recycle, and Cleanup Day” events as well.  Residents are notified of upcoming cleanup week and cleanup day events in advance by mailer and/or community information outlets.


Salinas Valley Recycles accepts tires for recycling (for a fee) at the Sun Street Transfer Station in Salinas, the Johnson Canyon Landfill in Gonzales, and Jolon Transfer Station outside of King City. Please check their web site as they periodically host FREE tire recycling events for residents to dispose of regular car and truck (no tractor) tires. 

Hazardous Medical Waste

Salinas Valley Recycles also accepts approved sharps containers at their Sun Street Transfer Station located in Salinas at 139 Sun Street (hours are listed on their web site.)  Additionally, there are locations in Gonzales, Soledad and King City where residents can drop their approved sharps containers for FREE, safe, and legal disposal.

Medical Sharps Supplies

FREE Sharps Disposal
(In Approved Containers)

SVR, Sun Street Transfer Station
139 Sun Street, Salinas

Gonzales Rx Pharmacy
18 Fourth Street, Gonzales

Rite Aid Pharmacy
540 Canal Street, King City


Don't rush to flush!  Medications should never be flushed down toilets or washed down sinks.  The cities of Gonzales & Greenfield have safe, anonymous, and secure medication disposal kiosks located in lobby areas of their police department offices.  Anyone in the Salinas Valley can dispose of prescription and non-prescription medications in these kiosks and they will be destroyed safely and legally.

Dont Rush to Flush Graphic.jpg

City of Gonzales Police Department
147 Fourth Street Gonzales, CA 93926
Location accepts controlled and non-controlled medications. Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Call (831) 675-5010 for more information.

Greenfield Police Department
599 El Camino Real, Greenfield, CA 93927
Location accepts controlled and non-controlled medications. Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 - 4:30 PM. Call (831) 674-5111 for more information.


Identifying HHW & ABOP Materials

Never place these items in any cart or dumpster


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

sharps or lancets


Not Acceptable

Do not transport these unacceptable household hazardous waste materials!
Contact Salinas Valley Recycles HHW Facility in Salinas at 831-424-5520
for questions on how best to manage these items


radioactive materials

treated wood


rail ties

medical waste


Used Motor Oil Collection


Motor oil is a hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly. The Monterey County Environmental Health Department and Tri-Cities Disposal & Recycling Service are working together to provide the residents in the Tri-Cities service area with an environmentally friendly option for disposing of your used motor oil and filters. To dispose of your oil, you must use the County's used oil collection container.

When your container is full of oil, simply, place it next to your blue recycling cart at the curb on your regular trash collection and recycling day. If you do not have the proper container, one can be provided by calling Tri-Cities Disposal & Recycling Service toll-free at 888-678-6798. Napa Auto Parts in Gonzales also carries the free containers on behalf of the program.

This service is provided for single family residences only. Oil must be free of all other fluids (no antifreeze or fuel) and properly placed to avoid spillage.