Los Angeles, California Hazardous Waste Disposal

Introduction

Did you know this fact? Los Angeles ranks number one in the state of California, in terms of hazardous waste produced. Despite this statistic, however, L.A. is best known for its Mediterranean climate, Hollywood movies, and Los Angeles Lakers. L.A.’s nickname “City of Angels” is based on a Spanish-to-English translation. Settlers started visiting the Southern California region in the 1700s and discovered the area of forests, swamps, and wetlands.

 The city’s vast amount of toxic waste produced provides several options when you want to find an organization that can effectively collect, store, treat, and dispose of hazardous waste safely and effectively.

Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Center Location & Hours

Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County offer Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics (S.A.F.E.) centers where people can dispose of their household hazardous waste (HHW) and electronics waste (e-waste) safely and properly. Besides collection sites, you can also contact the 24-hour e-waste curbside pickup at:

The city’s hazardous waste collection includes various items, including:

SAFE collection centers are located throughout LA city and LA county. They’re open every weekend, so local residents are able to drop off HHW, used oil, and e-waste.

It’s important for residents to follow certain guidelines when dropping off their hazardous waste at SAFE sites including:

Nicole Bernson (Balboa) SAFE Center: North Valley
Geoffrey Street SAFE Center: Harbor Area
Los Angeles-Glendale: Central Los Angeles
Hyperion SAFE Center: Playa Del Rey
Randall Street SAFE Center: East Valley
Washington Blvd SAFE Center: East Los Angeles 

Saturday/Sunday 9:00AM to 3:00PM

UCLA SAFE Center: West Los Angeles

Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays 8AM to 2PM

Operating Procedures for the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center

Tips for Safe Transport of Hazardous Waste

Safety Rules at Drop-Off Centers

Every SAFE center will probably have various rules/guidelines for different safety rules. Here are some examples:

DROPPING OFF HHW IN CARTS

This is a common procedure that LA residents must follow when disposing of hazardous waste. The process is quite simple. You’re just required to exit the vehicle then drop the different kinds of HHW into designated carts.

When you drop off items, make sure to keep an eye out for items to boost traffic flow. They include barricades, signs, gates, and traffic cones. This makes the process smoother since it helps to improve traffic flow as you go through the drop-off center.

STAYING IN VEHICLE

In some scenarios, you might have to stay in the car/truck and not carry various hazardous waste products into a disposal site. You’ll likely have to show you’re a resident of LA city/county by presenting a photo ID or utility bill (Internet, electricity, water, etc.)

Drop-off Procedures for Drop-off Centers

Make sure to follow general procedures after searching for “hazardous waste collection near me,” including:

CDC GUIDELINES

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has created guidelines to prevent the spread of contagions like viruses. Wearing masks or other face coverings can lower the risk of breathing in toxic fumes emitted by hazardous waste.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Los Angeles Sanitation (LASAN) hosts various collection events throughout the year at different locations. These events are designed for people who are unable to drop off items at the SAFE Centers.

The events take place either for a single day (Saturday) or 2 days (Saturday/Sunday). The timeframe is 9AM to 3PM. Neighborhood communities get info through mailed flyers.

You can also learn about the HHW collection events through the LASAN website. Make sure to get notifications, so you’ll know when the next event is scheduled for.

These special HHW collection events allow people to drop off items like paint, aerosol cans, and e-waste. The city also provides a Used Oil Filter Exchange event. This allows the resident to get free new filters. The maximum is 2/household. 

You can learn about upcoming events at LA City Sanitation’s homepage

You can also get information about LA County HHW/E-Waste collection events at the county website.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Hazardous Waste & Electronic Items

When searching for “household hazardous waste disposal near me” you’ll discover that the particular items that get a green or red light are based on the individual HHW collectors. In particular situations, certain items are very difficult to process or are super-hazardous. Typically these items aren’t allowed.

Acceptable HHW Items

Household hazardous waste (HHW) accepted by Los Angeles’ SAFE centers include:

Unacceptable HHW Items

Acceptable Electronics

It’s important to note that UCLA SAFE only accepts e-waste on Saturdays

Acceptable Sharps

Here are some helpful tips related to the safe disposal of sharps:

HHW Sanitizing

This is one of the most important treatments that hazardous waste undergoes to ensure the effects of the local environment and public health are minimized. Besides disinfecting hazardous waste, it can also produce other benefits.

One example is waste-to-energy (WTE) microwaving. The process sanitizes various hazardous waste while also providing electricity and/or heat for customers. This is another way it’s an eco-friendly option since it helps to reduce hazardous waste while providing green energy.

In fact, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has approved this process as an alternate technology for managing regulated medical waste. Medical waste is produced by various sources, including hospitals, doctors, clinics, and dental clinics. Like other types of hazardous waste, it’s important to ensure it’s disposed of safely and effectively.

Why Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

How Is “Hazardous Waste” Defined?

This is the first big question to take up before discussing household hazardous waste (HHW) management and disposal. There are actually several different ways to define hazardous waste. That includes the EPA’s definition of “hazardous waste” being corrosive or toxic in particular situations.

For example, particular types of products like motor oil, car batteries, and herbicides/pesticides must be disposed of using special care.   

One other way to define HHW is by products that catch fire, explode, or react in specific conditions. 

When the waste undergoes certain reactions in such situations, it’s known as HHW.

Another way to determine whether or not certain products are technically hazardous waste after searching “household hazardous waste disposal near me” is by reading the labels. Make sure to look for particular terms including:

Environmental Risks

SOIL CONTAMINATION

This is another type of contamination that results from ineffective HHW disposal. When solid waste is dumped into landfills, it can seep down into the soil then emit toxic chemicals.

An example is plastic bottles that emit something known as Diethyl Hydroxyl (DEHA) that can trigger a wide range of health issues ranging from weight loss to liver disease. California lawmakers are considering legislation that would phase out non-recyclable plastic containers by 2030, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

California is world-famous for its healthy food. However, Golden State residents can also be negatively affected if they consume contaminated plants.

AIR CONTAMINATION

L.A. constantly ranks among the nation’s cities for worst air pollution. It recently ranked No. 1 in terms of worst ozone pollution, according to a 2019 American Lung Association (ALA) report.

It’s important to properly dispose of various kinds of solid waste with hazardous chemicals like bleach. This includes disposing of them in the proper containers with appropriate labels. 

Another example is dioxin-releasing wastes that can cause health issues when they give off toxins into the air. That can cause various health problems when the local public breathes in the air. The waste might also emit methane gases.

When products like plastics are incinerated within landfills, it can also emit chemicals and gases that can affect the planet’s ozone layer. This “shield” in the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

MARINE LIFE AND LAND ANIMALS

When people improperly dispose of hazardous waste, such actions not only can affect human health but also land animals/marine life. The pollution can cause negative effects on fishes and other marine life, and animals.

Various situations can cause negative effects on wildlife and marine life. In some situations, different kinds of HHW like Styrofoam cups or plastic bags can kill various marine animals if they eat the items.

This includes when animals consume grass or other vegetation near landfills/contaminated areas. It increases the risk of poisoning through soil contamination.

Health Risks

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Health ranks #4 nationwide, according to US News & World Report. This shows the high-end healthcare services offered in the City of Angels.

The negative effects of hazardous waste are significant but might be unclear at first. However, there’s no doubt exposure to hazardous waste can affect Los Angeles’ public health and boost healthcare costs. 

One of the main problems is when hazardous waste generators don’t dispose of waste properly. Besides the hazardous waste affecting the general public, you should also know how it affects those living near toxic waste generators and local plants and wildlife after researching “household hazardous waste disposal near me.”   

This includes Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County, which is the biggest US landfill since it covers 700 acres. The landfill stopped collecting waste in 2013.

Los Angeles landfill workers/sanitation employees are at a higher health risk compared to the general public. This can include various possible health issues, including skin irritations, blood infections, and respiratory problems.

Professional Disposal

A major benefit of HHW disposal is it helps to ensure that professional workers like landfill operators and sanitation workers process hazardous waste. This is critical because the entire process is an extremely complex system.

Meanwhile, in the case that HHW is disposed of improperly, it can have a negative effect on the California city’s environment and public health. Trained professionals can take various steps to tweak the dangerous waste’s properties, including:

MISSED RECYCLING

The City of Los Angeles recycles about three-quarters of its garbage, according to a 2013 report by UCLA engineering. However, when hazardous waste gets disposed of, this boosts how much material can get recycled. It also creates new jobs for the recycling industry.  

People tend to think of recycling as only involving basics like paper, plastic, and aluminum. However, a wide range of different materials can be recycled. While some of them are biodegradable, others are non-biodegradable. Some recyclable materials include:

When hazardous waste is disposed of properly, this creates opportunities to maintain the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Conclusion

The City of Los Angeles was first settled in the 18th century then incorporated in 1850. It’s probably best known for things like sunny weather, Hollywood stars, and Los Angeles Rams. However, factors like heavy traffic and industry have made Los Angeles one of the country’s leading producers of hazardous waste.

It’s always critical to make sure the waste is properly stored, transported, treated, and disposed of. Various methods like microwave sanitizing help to reduce the amount of contaminants contained in the hazardous waste before it’s processed and ultimately disposed of.

Los Angeles’ big potential for safe and effective HHW disposal is evident in its recycling 75% of recyclable material. This shows great potential and makes it a good idea to research “hazardous waste disposal near me.”

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