cleaning products and batteries
An Alameda County program lets residents dispose of toxic items for free. Credit: Natalie Orenstein

Do you have a baggie full of dead batteries or burned-out LED light bulbs shoved in a drawer somewhere in the kitchen?

Or half a can of hideous lime-green paint that your teenager has outgrown?

There’s an easy way to safely dispose of hazardous waste for free in Oakland, if you’re a resident of Alameda County. 

Where and how do I drop off waste?

The Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste program operates four facilities, including one at 2100 E. 7th St. in Oakland. Appointments are required for drop-offs, but there are typically several slots available each day, Wednesday through Saturday. Sign up online or by calling 1-800-606-6606.

Make sure to check the size limits and instructions for packing and transporting your waste. (Note that there are special COVID-19 rules requiring you to stay in your car and wear a mask.) 

You’ll need to show your ID to demonstrate that you live in Alameda County.

What kind of hazardous waste is allowed?

Common items that are dangerous or toxic to throw in the trash but safe to bring to the waste facility:

  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent and LED bulbs (incandescent can be thrown out)
  • TVs, computers, microwaves, and other small electronics
  • Paints
  • Household cleaners and pesticides (check the county’s recipes for homemade, non-toxic alternatives)

What else? “Check your house, garage and garden shed for household products that may be hazardous to your children, pets or the environment,” says the county. “Words such as ‘danger,’ ‘warning,’ ‘caution,’ ‘poisonous’ and ‘flammable’ on the labels can mean a product is toxic.”

What’s not accepted?

The program does not accept prescription medications, treated wood, large appliances like refrigerators, explosives, and some additional items. Call 1-800-606-6606 to find out how to get rid of materials denied by the Household Hazardous Waste program. 

Or maybe you have something non-toxic that’s simply too big to stick in your city-provided garbage bin? Find out how to schedule a “bulky waste” pick-up in Oakland.

Natalie Orenstein covers housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. She was previously on staff at Berkeleyside, where her extensive reporting on the legacy of school desegregation received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal and the Education Writers Association. Natalie’s reporting has also appeared in The J Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and she’s written about public policy for a number of research institutes and think tanks. Natalie lives in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, and has only left her beloved East Bay once, to attend Pomona College.