Overview of Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is a term used to identify products which no longer have a use that can catch fire or react, are toxic, corrosive, explosive, or persistent compounds.  Some examples of HHW include motor oil, drain cleaner, paint (oil and latex), poisons, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs (tubes and compact fluorescent lights), consumer electronics (televisions, computers, cell phones, and tablets), and much more. 

It is illegal in California to dispose of HHW in the garbage, pour down the drain, flush down the toilet, or pour on the ground.  Improper disposal of HHW can cause numerous environmental and human health problems, such as groundwater and surface water contamination, physical injury and death to adults, children, pets, plants and wild animals, and soil contamination.  Therefore, HHW must be taken to local HHW facilities, participating retailers with take-back programs, or CVSan's annual Recycles Day event

CVSan Recycles Day

The next CVSan Recycles Day for Alameda County residents will be held at Canyon Middle School on Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The following items will be accepted at CVSan’s Recycles Day (125 lb./15-gal limit per resident):

  • Paint: stain, shellac, solvents, thinners, additives (see below), oil paint, and latex paint.
  • Adhesives: putty, caulk, epoxy, mortar, stucco, cement, and wood glue.
  • Auto: fuel, waxes, batteries, additives, motor oil filters, and coolant/antifreeze.
  • E-Waste: computers, TVs, radios, printers, electronic devices having significant circuit boards. Visit our Recycles Day page for a complete list.
  • Garden: sprays, fertilizers, ant traps, pesticides, herbicides, rat poison, and gopher bait
  • Miscellaneous: pool chemicals, photo chemicals, acids & caustics, household batteries, bleach & cleaners, and fluorescent bulbs.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Old, expired, or unneeded prescription and non-prescription drugs accepted. Please empty pills into zippered bags and recycle plastic containers. Liquids, ointments, and powders are to remain in their original containers.

NO: ammunition, flares, explosives, radioactive materials, large appliances (refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, air conditioners, etc.), asbestos, books, manuals & packaging, PCB light ballasts, smoke detectors, thermostats, compressed gases*, propane, fire extinguishers, railroad ties, treated wood, health and beauty aids, vitamins, nutritional supplements, digestive aids, herbal remedies, illegal substances and paraphernalia, infectious waste, business/institutional waste, medical devices and equipment, and personal care items.

  • Most compressed gases (propane in <5 gal cylinders accepted at Hayward Facility). For asbestos, railroad ties, or treated wood call 925-455-7300.

If you have HHW you would like to dispose of before the next CVSan Recycles Day, read on to learn where you can take it and which materials are accepted.

Recycle Your Leftover Paint & Cans

Recycling your leftover paint in California is more convenient than it used to be.  October 19, 2012 marked the first day of California's Paint Stewardship Program, kicking off with 335 retail collection sites across the state.


In Castro Valley, there is one PaintCare location where paint is accepted during regular store hours only.  There is no fee for dropping off paint at PaintCare locations, and the limit is 5 gallons per visit per day.  

  • Kelly Moore, 3090 Castro Valley Blvd., phone: 510-690-9249

What’s Accepted: Interior and exterior architectural paint sold in containers of 5 gallons or less will be accepted (latex, acrylic, water-based, oil-based, enamel, deck coatings, primers, sealers, stains, shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, swimming pool paints, metal coatings, and rust preventatives). 

Who Can Participate: Residents, trade painters, contractors, and businesses (that produce less than 27 gallons of hazardous waste per month) are eligible to participate.  Both new and old paint can be dropped off, even if it is over 20 years old.

California’s PaintCare Program is a result of Assembly Bill 1343 (Huffman), passed in 2010.  Leftover paint is a national problem representing 40-60%, by volume, of all HHW collected at public facilities.  In California, it is estimated that paint management currently costs local governments $21 million each year.  California is the first state in the nation to have a permanent paint stewardship program.

CVSan passed Resolution 3289 on August 7, 2012 in support of Extended Producer Responsibility.

Thermostat Recycling

Don’t toss your old thermostats – you can recycle them at CVSan offices at 21040 Marshall Street! Thermostats usually contain mercury and are considered hazardous waste and should not be placed in curbside carts. CVSan accepts all brands of wall-mounted, mercury-switch thermostats. Please recycle the entire thermostat and do not remove the mercury switch or cover. If you have mercury switches that have been removed from thermostats, contact the Thermostat Recycling Corporation at 1-888-266-0550 for further guidance. 

For more information on thermostat recycling, please visit www.thermostat-recycle.org

Bring 'Em Back

When your old fluorescent bulbs go dark, don’t throw them in the trash or recycling bins.  Instead, Bring them back to a participating retailer where they’ll be disposed of properly.  It’s a great way to protect the environment and support local businesses.  For more information on this program please visit Stop Waste's HHW page

In Castro Valley Bring 'Em Back to:

  • Pete's Ace Hardware, 2569 Castro Valley Boulevard (Please drop off only during normal business hours.  If you have large quantities of bulbs, place them in a box).


Dispose of household hazardous waste safely, conveniently -- and FREE at the Household Hazardous Waste facility

Are expired or unused medicines in your bathroom or kitchen?

Other sharps disposal options

Other battery disposal options

Waste Management online service for compact fluorescent bulb recycling from home

Hazardous waste (Small Business Generator Program) 

Dispose of HHW Safely, Conveniently -- and Free at the HHW facility! 

Check your house, garage, and yard for common household products (such as cleaners, paints, car products, and pesticides) that may be hazardous to your children, your pets or the environment.

Words such as danger, warning, caution, poisonous, and flammable on the labels can mean a product is toxic. Label the toxic products you find as a reminder to use them up and dispose of them safely. Do not put such materials in garbage cans or storm drains.

Facility Locations and Hours

The following facilities are open to residents of Alameda County.  No appointments are needed for residents.  Multifamily property owners must make an appointment and follow specific guidelines available at www.StopWaste.org/hhw.  

  • Fremont facility, 41149 Boyce Road, Wed. - Fri., 9 - 2:30; Sat., 9 - 4
  • Hayward facility, 2091 West Winton Avenue, Fri. 9 - 2:30; Sat., 9 - 4
  • Livermore facility, 5584 La Ribera St, Fri. 9-2:30; Sat., 9 - 4
  • Oakland facility, 2100 East 7th Street, Wed. - Fri., 9 - 2:30; Sat, 9 - 4

Please visit www.StopWaste.org/hhw or call 800-606-6606 for more information about services as well as tips for purchasing less toxic alternatives.