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What is Household Hazardous Waste?

Household hazardous waste is any hazardous waste generated incidental to owning or maintaining a place of residence. Household hazardous waste does not include business waste.

Hazardous wastes discarded from homes may threaten human health or the environment when disposed of improperly. Many people don't realize it, but there are a lot of common household items that are considered hazardous. These include medications, paint, motor oil, antifreeze, auto batteries, lawn care products, pest control products, drain cleaners, pool care products such as chlorine and acids, and household cleaners.

What happens to the items collected?Waste facility worker

  • Recycling companies will recycle the used motor oil, oil filters, batteries and antifreeze.
  • Useable paints will be mixed and reused or recycled.
  • Unusable materials will be disposed of properly.

Useable products are available at the material exchange program. Call 1.800.OILY CAT 645.9228 for site participation information. Non-profit organizations, residents, and neighborhood cleanup groups can use these materials, including recycled paint. See bucket label (pdf) for basic instructions on using recycled paint. Five gallon buckets of recycled paint are available for free to residents of San Bernardino County, (limit 5 per month).

What are safer alternatives?

The Household Hazardous Waste program also educates residents about chemicals, waste reduction, and recycling. The optimum solution is to minimize the generation of hazardous waste through the adoption of safer alternatives.

Visit for a list of eco-friendly cleaning recipes and alternatives.


What is material reuse?


According to the California Health and Safety Code Section 252185.12, a public agency may conduct a materials exchange program as a part of its household hazardous waste collection program if the public agency determines which reusable household hazardous products or materials are suitable and acceptable for distribution to the public in accordance with a quality assurance plan prepared by the public agency. The public agency shall instruct the recipient to use the product in a manner consistent with the instructions on the label.

There is a 35 lbs. per month limit on any item from the list below, excluding paint. A record is kept on each participant to keep track of the amount of items collected.

Types of materials in the reuse program include:

  • Automotive Products
  • Pesticides
  • Insecticides
  • Paint Products
  • Pool Supplies 

San Bernardino County’s material reuse program is open Monday-Friday, 1pm to 3:30pm and is located at 2824 East “W” Street Bldg. 302, San Bernardino, Ca 92415. It is recommended to come at least 30 minutes early due to potential lines.


What is universal waste?

Universal waste comes primarily from consumer products containing mercury, lead, cadmium and other substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment. These items cannot be discarded in household trash nor disposed of in landfills.

Examples of universal waste include, but not limited to:

  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent Tubes
  • Televisions, Computer Monitors
  • Electrical Switches & Relays containing Mercury
  • Thermostats

A complete list of universal waste products, and information about disposal and recycling options, is available on the DTSC website at


Why can’t I throw my universal waste in the trash?

Many household products can have adverse effects to the environment and humans if they are not disposed of properly. These products contain harmful ingredients that can leach into ground water, air, or possibly the food we eat. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage, onto the ground, or down storm drains.

If you illegally dump hazardous waste and are caught, penalties may include fines, the seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle and possibly jail time. If you catch someone involved in illegal dumping, or know of any planned illegal dumping please do not approach them, instead contact the County of San Bernardino Code Enforcement at (909) 387-4044 or (800) 722-3181.


 How can I dispose of a refrigerator?

Refrigerators can be tricky to recycle since many Household Hazardous Waste facilities do not accept them. A waste hauler would have to be contacted and may or may not charge a fee. In addition, Freon and oil may need to be removed from the appliance.


How can I dispose of sharps/needles?

Sharps or needles can be potentially dangerous to people and recycling machinery. To help reduce these risks, proper disposal of sharps is vital. The steps to proper and safe disposal of sharps are as follows:

1. Use only approved sharps container for disposal. Please do not place sharps in trash cans, recycle bins, plastic jugs, soda bottles or mix with other hazardous waste.

2. Carefully transport sharps into container. Please do not overfill sharps containers. (3/4 is full).

3. Place a secure lid on the sharps container and transport to your local Home-Generated Sharps Collection site.


The San Bernardino Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility accepts sharps. For directions please contact us at 909.382.5401 or 1.800.OILY CAT (1.800.645.9228) for additional Sharps disposal locations.


How do I dispose of empty aerosol cans?

The San Bernardino Central Facility accepts empty and non-empty aerosol cans. However, we encourage residents to use all of the aerosol contents before recycling because they are potential hazards to workers and others. For more information please click the link below:


 What is considered business waste & how do I dispose of it?

Businesses that generate 27 gallons or 220 lbs. of hazardous waste or 2.2 lbs. of extremely hazardous waste per month are called “Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators,” or CESQGs. San Bernardino County Household Hazardous Waste Program provides waste management services to CESQG businesses. The most common CESQGs in San Bernardino County are, but are not limited to:

  • Painters
  • Contractors
  • Print Shops
  • Auto Shops
  • Builders
  • Agricultural Operators
  • Property Managers
  • Landlords
  • Non-profits such as churches 

For more information please click the link below:



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