Environmental update: Got hazardous waste?

By From page B3 | February 01, 2013

February marks the six-year anniversary of the statewide landfill ban on batteries, fluorescent light bulbs/tubes, TV and computer monitors, and other products containing mercury. These items are illegal to throw in the trash.

There are 12 different places in Davis where residents can safely dispose of their household batteries for free: the Davis Senior Center, CVS/pharmacy stores, Rite Aid stores, Nugget Markets, Stephens Branch Library, Hibbert Lumber, Davis Ace, Aggie Ace and the Davis Food Co-op. All batteries must be sorted by type (alkaline, lithium and rechargeable) before you bring them to a site to be recycled. Place each type into a separate plastic bag for easy handling.

Yolo County residents can bring fluorescent tubes, bulbs and other mercury-containing items to the landfill for free during the weekly household hazardous waste drop-off days every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Other acceptable items include propane canisters, pharmaceuticals (non-controlled), fluorescent bulbs and tubes, cleaning products, mercury thermometers, pool chemicals, paint, automotive products, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, used syringes and many more items that should not be put in the trash.

The landfill also accepts fluorescent tubes and bulbs from residents daily for a $2 handling fee.

Electronic devices — including TVs, computer monitors, printers, VCRs, cell phones, blenders, microwaves, radios, VHS tapes and CDs — can be recycled for free at the Yolo County Central Landfill every day during normal business hours — 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Goodwill Donation Xpress, 2939 Spafford Drive, Suite 110, and the SPCA Thrift Store, 920 Third St., also will take electronics for free recycling.

To protect sanitation workers from needle sticks, state law has made it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste in the trash and requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in an approved sharps container. Home-generated sharps waste includes hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices from a household or multifamily residence that are used to penetrate the skin to deliver medications.

If you have sharps waste, here are some of the disposal options available to you for disposal of sharps waste:

* Household hazardous waste drop-off days: Sharps containers must be puncture-resistant and, once sealed, cannot spill. Sharps containers may be purchased at most pharmacies and drug stores.

* Hospital take-back: Some hospitals might take back sharps from those patients who go to the hospital for regular outpatient services.

* Drop-off collection and mail-back service: The California Department of Public Health offers an online list of sharps waste collection and mail-back services authorized for use in California. Visit CalRecycle.CA.Gov/HomeHazWaste/Sharps for details.

Another option is to purchase a needle destruction device, which allows you to destroy needles at home by burning, melting or cutting off the needle — making it safe to then throw in the garbage.

For more information on hazardous waste and recycling, visit DavisRecycling.org or email me at [email protected].

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis’ conservation coordinator. Her column is published monthly.

Jennifer Gilbert

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