The county’s Hazardous Materials program is looking to make it as easy as possible for Santa Clara residents to properly dispose of their chemicals. The program will host a special drop off event in Santa Clara on Jan. 26.
“It’s about protecting the environment and ensuring that things get to the right place,” said Bill Grimes, Hazardous Materials Program Manager. “We do want to encourage people to take all their hazardous waste to our site. They shouldn’t be going into the garbage; they shouldn’t be going down the drain.”
A variety of items will be accepted during the drop off event including automotive fluids, household cleaners, cooking oil, household chemicals, sharps, medications, paint, pesticides, batteries, bulbs and ewaste. The county will dispose of it all, free of charge.
Anyone who plans to dispose of their hazardous waste will need to make an appointment with the county before they go. The appointment can be made on the county’s website, www.sccgov.org, just search Household Hazardous Waste. You can also call (408) 299-7300 — you can also call the number if you have any questions about what can and cannot be dropped off.
“First of all, this is a drop off event,” said Grimes. “Residents will make an appointment online or call. They set an appointment at a time that works for them and they would bring it to us. They stay in their car. It usually takes just a few minutes.
“Anything we can recycle, we do recycle,” continued Grimes. “Putting them into the trash or putting them in the drain or leaving them on the curb can cause environmental contamination that affects the environment that we live in. [It] affects all of us.”
Grimes says properly disposing of hazardous materials is even more important now because the newer batteries that are rechargeable can cause fires in landfills and even damage heavy machinery like bulldozers.
Not only that, but dumping things like chemicals and batteries is illegal. With the Clean Water Act and other environmental regulations, fines for improperly disposing of hazardous materials can range from a minor penalty to thousands of dollars.
County officials will provide you with an address to the event after you make an appointment. The county has had problems in the past with illegal dumping around drop off locations.
The county usually holds drop off events like these in April, but an outpouring of response prompted this additional January date.
“We’re adding January this year because we had such great response in our spring event,” said Grimes. “We had a large demand, a large interest from Santa Clara residents.”
If you cannot make the Jan. 26 event, the Household Hazardous Waste program is open year round. You can always make an appointment online and then drop off your waste at the San Jose drop off location.