Reduce Hazardous Waste in Your Life

reducinghhwEach time you make an appointment to drop-off household hazardous waste through San Mateo County’s program you are protecting the environment. However, we all recognize it can be a burden to sort and shuffle all that waste into your car, make an appointment, and then drive to get rid of it! But what if we told you there was a way to reduce the amount of drop-off trips while also protecting the environment? Good news, there is a way!

If you reduce the amount of hazardous materials you purchase, the less waste you accumulate, and the less trips you have to make! Not only does it make your life more convenient, it’s safer, may save some cash, and does even more to save the environment.

Today there are so many less-toxic alternatives to replace products that end up as hazardous waste. Here are some to consider….

Light bulbs. We all need them to illuminate our houses and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) seem like the go to choice these days, but they also contain mercury. However, LED bulbs are a great energy-saving and less hazardous alternative. LED light bulbs may cost a little more upfront, but last twice as long as your typical mercury-containing CFL bulb. Once used up years later, you can recycle LED lights like you do other universal waste, just check with your local store first.

Pesticides. Today there are so many safer alternative products out there to combat problem pests lurking in your garden or in inside your home. Look for products that have been certified by the Our Water Our World program at your local hardware store. There are also plenty of homemade recipes you can create yourself that can be found here. If you decide that the pesticides are a must and have a remaining supply left after using, ask a neighbor if they need it, since they may likely be dealing with the same pest!

Fertilizers. Instead of purchasing synthetic nutrients for your garden with leftovers to lug to a hazardous drop-off appointment later, try composting and reuse your own kitchen scraps to help your garden grow organically. Find out how to create an easy compost pile in your home at little to no cost here. Live in an apartment? We have a balcony friendly compost system for you too!

Batteries. You may already be using reusable bags but are you going reusable with your batteries? Instead of always having to shell out money to purchase a new pack of batteries and continuously worrying about where to take your dead ones that pile up, save space and money by bringing the dead batteries back to life over and over! Look for a reusable battery starter kit at your local hardware or home goods store.

While we may all try to make our life 100% hazardous waste free, it’s inevitable that hazardous waste accumulates where you live. To safely dispose of your waste, remember all San Mateo County residents can always make a free household hazardous waste drop-off appointment at


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