San Jose, California Hazardous Waste Disposal

Author: Marketing
Date: February 3, 2024


Fun Fact: San Jose (Saint Joseph) is the most affluent city in the state of California. The city is well-known for its Mediterranean climate, and as Silicon Valley’s financial and cultural hub.

Because of its size and population, waste management is one of the city’s number one concerns, and chances are - if you’re from San Jose, then you might have the need to search for “waste disposal near me.” We’re here to answer that question and give you all the information you need.

The city’s hazardous waste is produced through business waste as the “capital of Silicon Valley.” However, the Golden State’s third largest city also produces a large amount of household hazardous waste (HHW). So it’s important to know where to dispose of old laptop computers, fluorescent light bulbs, and used motor oil.

Why Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

If you’ve never done online research to learn about “household hazardous waste disposal near me” then this section can provide all need-to-know info for this common query. This info can help San Jose residents know precisely when, where, and how to drop off your household hazardous waste and electronics waste (e-waste).

What Exactly Is “Hazardous Waste”?

This is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in various ways. Some examples include materials/products that catch fire, react, or explode in particular conditions. 

There is a cornucopia of many different other ways to define HHW. When hazardous waste is corrosive or toxic this is also considered as HHW. It’s critical to make sure your household is disposing of certain substances correctly including batteries, cleaners, pesticides/herbicides, paints, etc. 

Product labels can help you figure out if the materials are classified as hazardous waste. Some features to look for include:

  • Corrosive: Eats into different substances
  • Toxic: Either poisonous or results in long-term illness
  • Reactive: Explodes after exposure to heat, water, air, or impact
  • Flammable: Burns easily

Environmental Effects


HHW disposal often causes this type of pollution. Landfill waste can seep into soil and emit toxic chemicals. That includes plastic bottles that emit DEHA. This is a cancer-causing substance that can result in liver problems and weight loss.


It’s important to dispose of hazardous chemicals like bleach and acids properly. This includes correctly-labeled official containers. 

Meanwhile, when particular materials like plastics are burned in landfills it results in the emitting of various chemicals/gases. This can damage the planet’s ozone layer.


If solid waste like HHW isn’t disposed of correctly this can have a negative effect on land animals like birds, and marine life like fishes. The contamination can affect animals living in San Jose’s regions like the Henry Cowell River Trail. 

The most direct problem involves the natural habitat of these creatures including grass, trees, rivers/lakes/seas, and so on. An indirect effect is when marine animals consume stuff like Styrofoam cups, which can kill them.

Missed Recycling

In 2018 California recycled about three-quarters of all beverage containers, according to a report by the California government. When HHW gets disposed of properly it boosts how much waste can get recycled/reused. This can provide various benefits like job creation in the recycling industry.

Health Risks

Improper HHW disposal can trigger various problems linked to public health and San Jose’s environment. The California city is ranked #20 among the Healthiest/Unhealthiest USA cities, according to WalletHub (2018). 

When hazardous waste is improperly disposed of it can negatively affect people living in polluted areas and nearby San Jose landfills. In the city, “zero waste” refers to recycling 90% or waste landfilling under 10% of it.

Proper Disposal

When San Jose/Santa Clara employees dispose of hazardous waste they do it using professional methods and technologies. 

The entire process involves various factors that are affected by the knowledge, experience, and care the workers use. This can include various methods that change the waste’s properties, which result in safer hazardous waste disposal. These include ones like physical, chemical, biological, and thermal properties.

Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Center Location & Hours

Santa Clara County HHW Program

You can contact the program to set a drop-off appointment. This is a free service so there’s no need to pay any fees. The county offers take-back locations for different items including:

  • Automotive waste (tires, batteries, antifreeze)
  • Batteries
  • Florescent light bulbs
  • Mercury thermostats
  • Motor oil/Oil filters
  • Paint

San Jose Environmental Innovation Center (EIC)

San Jose residents can drop off their HHW products at the city’s EIC. You can visit the green enterprise facility. This facility offers services for San Jose households that promotes clean tech. 

If you have household hazardous waste like tablet batteries, oil-based paint, and light bulbs (fluorescent) you can drop them off at the hazardous waste drop-off facility.


1608 Las Plumas Ave, San Jose, CA 95133


The EIC’s hours are:
Monday through Friday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed


Official holidays in San Jose include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Cesar Chavez Day
  • California Admission Day
  • Native American Day

Electronics Waste

In California it’s illegal to dispose of electronics waste (e-waste) in regular garbage and recycling containers. Some examples include:

  • Apple iPads
  • Cell phones
  • Charging cables
  • Copiers
  • Desktops/Laptops
  • DVD players
  • Fax machines
  • Monitors
  • PDAs
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Stereo equipment
  • Tablets
  • TV sets (CRT/flat screen)
  • VCRs

Santa Clara County offers various drop-off locations for e-waste. Such locations include official electronics recyclers/collectors. It’s required that you transfer e-waste to official disposal companies. This provides a safe and effective way to dispose of recyclable electronics. 

San Jose’s Junk Pickup Program accepts some e-waste. This involves direct collection at your residence. Make sure to review which “junk” the city considers as acceptable.

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

Helpful Safety Tips for Hazardous Waste Transport

  • Avoid blending/combining multiple products
  • Avoid using the car/truck passenger compartment when transporting products
  • Cover then tie-down load
  • Remain in the car/truck throughout the HHW unloading process
  • Keep all products in their original containers when possible
  • Label unmarked products
  • Secure each product to avoid tipping/leaking

HWW Drop-off Facility Procedures

It’s critical to find the nearest household hazardous waste collection site to your home. You should also be aware of the general protocols of the centers:

  • Drop off-centers might accept HHW during particular seasons like Spring to Autumn, and particular months like April to October. It’s important to know which months/seasons the center accepts hazardous waste.
  • Learn if you’re allowed to store particular materials until a later date. In general you should try to avoid delaying when you take hazardous waste to drop-off centers or collection events. If you’re planning to move away from San Jose or you’re not permitted by law to store particular materials you should avoid this step.
  • Discover if any requirements or restrictions apply to particular hazardous waste like paints, automotive fluids, etc.

This might include different matters. You should learn whether the HHW center’s staff is able to help you unload household waste products from your vehicle. 

Another critical issue is what kinds of proof of residency the HHW collection site accepts. This could include a water/electric/Internet bill or photo ID, for example. These are required since local taxes fund the hazardous waste collections.  

One example is a small business HHW disposal. Some companies might qualify to participate in Santa Clara County’s Conditionally Exempt conditionally-exempt program for Small Quantity Generator.

  • Inquire if San Jose allows you to store particular materials in your California home for later hazardous waste collection.
  • Find out the days/times of drop-off center. Learn about the standard days and times the center is open. This could be Monday through Saturday from mid-morning to late afternoon, for example.

HWW Drop-Off Location Safety Guidelines

Every drop-off center usually has its own guidelines and safety rules. However, here are some of the ones to watch out for:

Staying in car/truck

It’s common for customers to be forbidden to walk their HHW materials to the San Jose disposal site. This requires them to stay in their vehicle. You’ll probably be mandated to show your proof of residency, whether it’s a photo ID or recent utility bill, for example.

Adding waste disposal into carts

When dropping off HHW this is a common procedure that residents must follow. This involves exiting the vehicle then depositing the household hazardous waste into the designated carts. 

Typically there are various objects at the HHW collection center that boosts traffic flow efficiency. It’s important to know this info after using your favorite web browser to search “household hazardous waste disposal near me.” This includes various items like:

  • Signs
  • Gates
  • Traffic cones
  • Barricades

CDC Safety Guidelines

Residents of the City of San Jose should consider The Centers for disease control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines to help prevent the transfer of contagions at locations such as HHW collection sites. Masks and other face coverings can be helpful for preventing the inhalation of hazardous waste’s toxic fumes. 

The San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland region ranks #8 for high ozone days among 229 metropolitan areas, according to the American Lung Association. So it’s highly recommended to wear masks or other face coverings to protect yourself when exposing your lungs to hazardous waste.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events


San Jose residents can sometimes drop off different household hazardous waste (HHW). These events happen from time to time on particular days and at particular times. You can learn more by visiting the website of Santa Clara County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program. Make sure to call (408)-299-7300 to schedule a drop-off appointment.

Accepted/Unaccepted Household Waste

When HHW drop-off events take place the organizers provide a complete list of items that the event allows.  Some examples of items accepted by the county’s HHW program include:

  • Paint
  • Household Cleaners
  • Propane Tanks

It’s important for these materials to get separate disposal. This can help to prevent damage to public health and the Earth’s environment. 

As an alternative you can also visit one of San Jose’s HHW take-back locations. They allow you to drop off various items after doing online research about “waste disposal near me.”

Service Charges

When participating in city/county-sponsored collection events you typically won’t be charged a fee. The same policy tends to exist for HHW collection depots. The main reason is public taxes help to fund garbage collection and disposal, which includes hazardous waste. It’s also an investment in San Joes itself.

Deposit Limits

It’s quite common for municipalities like San Jose City and Santa Clara County to enforce HHW/e-waste deposit limits. This limit is set per household per collection event. Some examples include maximum quantities of solid waste or liquid waste that are accepted.

Business Participation

If you own or operate a small business your company might qualify for Santa Clara’s “Small Quantity Generator” program. This allows you to transfer dangerous waste to drop-off centers or collection events. You can call 800-207-8222 to set a drop-off appointment for your business.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Hazardous Waste & Electronic Items

The types of hazardous waste and e-waste that a particular drop-off site, collection event, or HHW program accepts differs based on various factors. For example, a collection event in San Jose might have different criteria versus a Santa Clara program. 

There are various reasons why a center/program accepts or rejects certain HHW/electronic waste. For example, it might be extremely difficult to process or very hazardous. The key issue is to research which items are and aren’t permitted when you Google “hazardous waste collection near me.”

Acceptable Hazardous Waste

Make sure to review a particular city, county, or program’s list of accepted items. For example, Santa Clara County accepts these types of hazardous waste through collections:

  • Ammonia
  • Cosmetic (hair spray, make-up, nail polish, etc.)
  • Asbestos
  • Bases
  • Drain Cleaner
  • Gasoline/Fuels
  • Household Cleaning Chemicals
  • Acids
  • Garden Chemicals
  • Coolant
  • Fertilizers/Herbicides/Pesticides
  • Freon
  • Helium Tank
  • Antifreeze
  • Motor Oil
  • Aerosol Cans
  • Cooking oil
  • Mercury items (Thermostats, thermometers, etc.)
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Paints (all kinds)
  • Polishes
  • Fire Extinguisher

It’s important to contact a HHW collection group to find out whether or not they’ll accept certain gray-area items like latex paint. This type of paint generally isn’t considered as hazardous waste.

Unacceptable Hazardous Waste

These items aren’t accepted by Santa Clara County’s HHW collection program:

  • Ammunition
  • Biohazards
  • CO2/O2 Cylinders
  • Explosives
  • Fireworks
  • Heaters
  • Insulation
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Mattresses
  • Medical Waste
  • Mini Fridge
  • Radioactive Waste
  • Refrigerator/Freezer
  • Space Heaters
  • Tires

Acceptable E-waste

  • Phone/Answering Machine
  • Batteries (household, auto, gadget, etc.)
  • TV (CRT, flat-screen)
  • Printers
  • iPads/PDAs
  • CPU Accessories (mouse, keyboard, etc.)
  • Cellphone Chargers
  • Fax Machine
  • Computers (desktops/laptops/tablets)
  • DVD/VHS Players
  • Cables
  • Computer Monitors
  • Wires


Hazardous waste makes up 15% of planet Earth’s total waste, according to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO). A large percent of this dangerous waste includes household hazardous waste (HHW) including computer displays, smartphone batteries, and oil-based paint. 

Residents of San Jose, California can improve the situation by disposing of hazardous waste properly. This process can include drop-off centers, collection events, and “Wastemobile” pickups. This can help to keep Silicon Valley’s unofficial capital as clean, safe, and “green” as possible. 

As always it’s important to handle the storage, transport, and disposal of HHW in the safest manner possible. This includes taking steps like storing hazardous waste in sealed containers, following specific guidelines when dropping off items at HHW centers, and even following the reduce, reuse and recycle guidelines after you search for “hazardous waste collection near me.”


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