Household Hazardous Waste Minimize


Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) can include a number of everyday items in your home, from batteries to paint, to medical waste (used sharps, etc.). A majority of these materials can be disposed of and/or recycled through your local HHW Collection program. To contact the Santa Cruz County HHW Information Line, dial (831) 454-2606.

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY caused by the improper use of household chemicals, call 911.


Hazardous waste regulations designate a category of hazardous wastes called "universal waste" (U-waste). This category includes commonly used products that contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium. U-wastes are barred from disposal in the trash. Below are some examples of U-wastes and how to handle them properly:

For more information on universal waste, please consult the information provided by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

CAUTION: Household hazardous waste must be transported with extreme care in labeled, sturdy, leak-proof containers.

TRANSPORTATION LIMITS: State law limits the amount you can transport to 15 gallons liquid or 125 pounds solid hazardous material per vehicle trip.

HHW Facilities are open FREE OF CHARGE to residents of the unincorporated county of Santa Cruz (including Aptos, Rio Del Mar, La Selva Beach) and the cities of Scotts Valley, Capitola and Santa Cruz. This program is not available to City of Watsonville residents - call (831) 768-3133 for information.

The Santa Cruz County Household Hazardous Waste Program is sponsored by the County of Santa Cruz and the cities of Scotts Valley, Capitola and Santa Cruz.


Open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 am to 3:30 pm.
All HHW Facilities are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, and closed Christmas Eve at 11:30 am.

HHW Facility at Buena Vista Landfill
Google Map Link (1 Mile South of Highway 1)
1231 Buena Vista Drive, Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 454-2430


  • Fluorescent tubes & bulbs
  • Paint & stains
  • Solvents, degreasers & cleaners
  • Flammable liquids
  • Pesticides & herbicides
  • Aerosols
  • Art & hobby supplies
  • Outdated medicines
  • Hypodermic needles and other medical sharps transported in a red sharps container*
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Pool, hot tub & spa chemicals
  • Thermometers and other mercury-containing devices
  • Road and boat flares


  • NO containers over 5 gallons
  • NO compressed gas cylinders over 1 lb.
  • NO explosives or ammunition
  • NO infectious wastes
  • NO radioactive materials
  • NO reactive wastes
  • NO waste oil, oil filters, vehicle batteries, antifreeze (take to disposal site recycling center)

For information on proper disposal of hazardous items not accepted at the HHW Facilities, please contact County of Santa Cruz Environmental Health Services at 454-2022.

*Household batteries, motor oil and e-waste can also be recycled through Green Waste, through their curbside collection service (when called in advance). For details on handling these items, call Green Waste at 831-426-2711.

* Used sharps can also be dropped off at the following locations (all sharps must be contained in a red sharps container, many of which are available online or at your local pharmacy).

           CVS Pharmacy - 783 Rio Del Mar Blvd, Aptos - (831) 687-0460
           Frank’s Pharmacy - 7518 Soquel Drive, Aptos - (831) 685-1100
           Safeway Pharmacy - 16 Rancho del Mar Blvd - (831) 661-4861


The Household Hazardous Waste team will pick up hazardous wastes from residents who are physically unable to bring their waste to a collection facility. To arrange for pickup at no charge, please leave a message on the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline: (831) 454-2606 Option 13. The team will contact you to schedule a pickup.

When recycling used medical waste/sharps, please ensure a sealed red container, similar to the one pictured above, is used.  Available in a variety of sizes, online or at local pharmacies (anywhere medical supplies are sold).

Additional Resources Minimize

Additional sites with information on hazardous waste are listed below:

Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery:


Santa Cruz County Public Works recycling page:


Ecology Action - Local recycling guide (PDF):

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