Eco-Tip for 1-14-18
Universal Waste Management Separate from Curbside
By David Goldstein, PWA, IWMD
If you are discarding an electronic device recently replaced by a Christmas gift, or if the first round of batteries included in your new electronic device have now worn out, it may be a good time to consider options for universal waste.
Most people are familiar with household hazardous waste and realize it should be brought to an appropriate collection event or facility. However, universal waste is a separate category often more present in daily life, so sometimes the special needs for managing it can be ignored.
To protect solid waste management workers and keep disposal sites safe, universal wastes may not be placed in curbside containers. The following are some of the more common items in the universal waste category, according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control: devices with screens, computers, printers, DVD players, VCRs, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and products containing mercury, including old-style thermometers. Aerosol cans are considered universal waste only if they are not empty. If completely empty, they can be recycled in curbside carts, but if they still contain any propellant, they are universal waste.
Occasionally, community groups coordinate collection days for electronic waste, one of the most prevalent universal wastes. For example, the Ojai Valley Green Coalition’s annual January e-waste collection and recycling event is scheduled for this Saturday (January 20) at the Nordhoff High School parking lot, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please call the Coalition at 805-669-8445 for further details on accepted items
Goodwill Industries is also a certified e-waste collector and many of their stores throughout Ventura County are drop-off sites. Call your local thrift store before bringing non-working electronic items for recycling.
Community groups and non-profits are able to coordinate events for collection because the collection system for electronic items is funded by a fee consumers pay when buying certain electronic items.
Battery recycling is also widely available, at least for rechargeable batteries, as manufacturers are required by California law to support such programs. See 1-800Battery, which is both a web site and a phone number, for drop off locations near you.
For other universal waste, cities and the County of Ventura operate, sponsor or promote private sector partners and facilities. The largest local facilities are the Pollution Prevention Center near Ojai, Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station in
Oxnard, Gold Coast Transfer and Recycling in Ventura, Clean Harbors in Camarillo, and the Thousand Oaks Service Center.
You can find more about these and other options at the County’s Integrated Waste Management web site, http://vcpublicworks.org
For more information: