Hazardous Waste Frequently Asked Questions


Questions:

1. What is hazardous waste?
2. Is there a limit to the amount of waste I can bring?
3. Is there a fee for home-generated hazardous waste disposal?
4. If I am a business can I use the HHW Program?
5. Why do businesses have to make an appointment to drop off waste?
6. As a business, what happens if I can't make my appointment?
7. How often does the Program operate?
8. Is the Program open during the week?
9. How is the Program funded?
10. What if I live in Fortuna?
11. Where do I take my waste?
12. Do I have to use special packaging for my waste?
13. What products do you not accept?
14. If it is raining, are you still open?
15. What is the Reuse Program?
16. What happens to the hazardous waste at your facility?
17. How many times can I use the HHW program?
18. Do you pick up hazardous waste?
19. Can I bring my pets with me to an HHW drop-off?


What is hazardous waste?

Unwanted household products labeled as flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive are hazardous wastes (HHW). See our hazardous waste list for what is accepted at our Household Hazardous Waste Facility.


Is there a limit to the amount of waste I can bring?

Yes. Department of Transportation (DOT) law only permits the transport of a residential (i.e., household) MAXIMUM of 15 liquid gallons or 125 pounds of hazardous waste per vehicle. Businesses are allowed to carry and dispose of a monthly MAXIMUM of 220 lbs or 27 liquid gallons. If you have concerns about the amount of waste you have, please contact (707) 441-2005 to discuss disposal options.


Is there a fee for home-generated hazardous waste disposal?

Yes. Most Humboldt County residents, except those from the Cities of Fortuna, Trinidad and tribal areas, pay $5 per carload for up to 15 gallons (by container size) or 125 lbs. If you have over 15 gallons, fees are generally $5 per gallon or $7 per pound. In considering the charge by container size, save money by consolidating small amounts of paint into single containers. Empty paint containers can be disposed of in the garbage (remove the lid) or recycled. Dried paint can be disposed rather than brought in to the hazardous waste failiity. Businesses are also subject to fees. Call (707) 441-2005 for current list of prices.


If I am a business can I use the HHW Program?

We accept hazardous waste for a fee from businesses that generate less than 220 lbs or 27 gallons of hazardous waste per month. Businesses must schedule an appointment to bring in hazardous waste by calling 441-2005. Please visit the Business Hazardous Waste Disposal page for more information.


Why do businesses have to make an appointment to drop off waste?

HHW mobile drop-offs are highly organized productions. Businesses generally have larger loads. By law, businesses are required to schedule a drop off time for hazardous waste disposal.  As an operational benefit, having businesses make an appointment assures that, among other things, both mobile collections for residents and business collection will flow smoothly. Having designated appointment times allows us to move more vehicles through the facility more quickly than if everyone showed up at the same time. Also, it prevents risk of accidents. To arrange an appointment or for more information call (707) 441-2005.


As a business, what happens if I can't make my appointment?

Appointments are limited. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment time, please call the appointment line at 707) 441-2005 to cancel. This allows other businesses to use the program via your appointment time slot. Appointments and cancellations can be made Monday through Friday 8:00 to 4:30.


How often does the Program operate?

The permanent HHW Facility in Eureka is open to households the first Saturday of the month from 9:00am – 2pm throughout the year (closed holidays falling on Saturdays). Periodic mobile collections for home-generated hazardous waste run approximately six months of the year (non-rainy season). Click here to see upcoming events. By law, businesses must make an appointment to dispose of hazardous waste by calling 707-441-2005.


Is the Program open during the week?

Currently, funding limitations prevent the HHW program from being open for drop off 7 days a week. However, there are a limited number of drop off appointments open to households on a weekly basis. Businesses also can schedule appointments for weekday drop off. Call (707) 441-2005 for more information on available days and hours.


How is the Program funded?

All solid waste generated by Humboldt County member agency jurisdictions is subject to a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program fee. The HHW fee pays for program fixed costs which include shipping, disposal, labor, and facility maintenance costs. We also charge for accepting hazardous waste to help cover the remaining costs associated with labor, waste disposal, and transportation.


What if I live in Fortuna, Trinidad or a tribal area?

These cities and tribal areas are not member agencies of HWMA. Therefore, there are no HHW Program Fees collected on solid waste generated in those areas. As a result, these residents pay based on the actual costs of hazardous waste disposal. Call (707) 441-2005 for current rates.


Where do I take my waste?

Open to residents and businesses during designated hours, our permanent facility is located in Eureka, next to the transfer station at 1059 W. Hawthorne Street. Look for the red building.
 
The locations of HWMA’s mobile collections vary somewhat, although most member agencies serve as a collection site approximately once a year. See view map for location details.


Do I have to use special packaging for my waste?

Please bring materials in their original, labeled, and sealed containers when possible. There are some exceptions with certain material types. Medications and pills can be removed from bottles labeled with client information and put into sealed plastic bags. Medical sharps must be packaged in a biohazard container (see ”Medical Sharps” page for example of container). Only latex paint can be mixed together. Do not mix any other types of paint or chemicals together. NO containers will be returned, so bring the wastes in disposable boxes or bags for quicker removal from your vehicle. Leaky material should be double-bagged. For your safety, transport the waste in your trunk or the back of a pick-up, away from the passenger area.


What products do you not accept?

Currently our facilities are equipped to handle all household hazardous wastes with the exceptions of ammunition, pharmaceuticals, pressurized gas such as CO2 or helium, biohazard wastes (excluding sharps), explosives and radioactive material. Please call ((707) 441-2005 if you have any questions about limitations on accepted materials.


If it is raining, are you still open?

The drop offs are held rain or shine.


What is the Reuse Program?

In an effort to promote the re-use of unused household paint products, the HHW Program has a Reuse Shed where customers may obtain FREE latex and - occasionally - oil-based paints. The Reuse Program is typically open Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30. All items are on a first come, first serve basis.  Quantities are limited. Residents picking up these items are required to sign a liability waiver, indicating that HWMA does not guarantee the quality of items selected.


What happens to the hazardous waste at your facility?

Once the hazardous waste arrives at the HHW facility it is sorted into specific categories. Whenever possible, the HHW Program puts paint out for donation in the reuse shed. Hazardous Waste is transported to a variety of regulated hazardous waste drop off points, both within California and in Nevada. Some items are stored in a class 1 Hazardous Waste landfill. Items such as gasoline go for fuel. Other materials are recycled, such as fluorescent bulbs, which are crushed at a permitted facility where the bulbs' mercury is extracted and the glass is used to produce new bulbs.


How many times can I use the HHW program?

Household residents can drop off hazardous waste once a month at the permanent facility as well as attend mobile collection events or schedule a weekday appointment. There is no limit on the number of annual visits a household can make. Businesses can drop off hazardous waste once a month during a scheduled appointment time.


Do you pick up hazardous waste?

No. Currently the costs associated with operating a Household Hazardous Waste pick-up service far exceed our funding resources.


Can I bring my pets with me to an HHW drop-off?

For the safety of your pets, and our staff, please leave them at home.