Planet Alameda ::: Your Island City's Environmental Resource Guide for a Healthy Planet
Universal Waste FAQRule

What happens if I throw universal waste in the garbage?
Like used motor oil and paint, universal waste is a kind of hazardous waste. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage. In addition, by throwing universal waste in the garbage, you can cause additional hazards to your garbage handler. Eventually, chemicals in illegally disposed hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat.

If I can't throw this stuff into the trash, how do I get rid of it?
Alameda County's Household Hazardous Waste Program collects universal waste as its drop-off facilities. For detailed information, log onto or call 1-877-STOPWASTE. Additionally, ACI collects household batteries at its local office (2307 Blanding Ave, Suite B); please call ahead for office hours or directions (510-483-1400). Many retailers also collect certain universal wastes. Next time you visit your favorite store, be sure to ask if they have any collection/recycling programs available for their customers.

How do I know if a particular electronic device can’t be thrown in the trash?
The DTSC has tested many electronic devices including: tube-type and flat panel televisions and computer monitors, laptop computers, computers (CPUs), printers, radios, microwave ovens, VCRs, cell phones, cordless phones, and telephone answering machines. The devices that DTSC tested contained concentrations of metals (lead and copper) high enough to make them hazardous wastes when they are discarded. Unless you are sure they are not hazardous, you should presume these types of devices need to be recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste and that they may not be thrown in the trash. For additional assistance, you can call the Waste Evaluation help line at 916-322-7676 or 1-877-STOPWASTE

For more information, please visit: California Department of Toxic Substance Control
Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste:

Last updated: June 16, 2011
Public Works Department,
(510) 747-7930

Universal Waste FAQ