How to dispose of hazardous waste in Berkeley

What qualifies as hazardous waste

  • Motor oil or any other petroleum product and used filters
  • Any type of fuel or mix of fuels
  • Used car batteries (lead/acid) / used lithium batteries / used alkaline batteries / used Nickel metal hydride batteries
  • Paint (house paint, car paint, spray paint)
  • Some construction debris like pressure treated lumber, lead painted wood, and asbestos
  • Mercury (thermometers, old thermostats,
  • E-waste (computers, phones, tablet, laptops, or anything that has a circuit board)
  • Any sort of “chemical” (acetone, paint stripper, acid, caustics, drain cleaner, etc.)
  • Fluorescent bulbs, including compact twist in bulbs
  • Car and motorcycle tires

Where can I take hazardous waste in Berkeley?

Art’s Automotive

Here at Art’s, we will take a couple types of hazardous waste. If you want to dispose of used motor oil, we’ll help with that. Please follow the link and read the conditions before showing up. We’ll also take small quantities of uncontaminated coolant. Coolant disposal is an out-of-pocket expense for us, so we’ll only take small amounts from personal projects. If you have a used car battery you need to dispose of, we’ll usually take it off your hands, since our supplier won’t charge us to recycle it. Finally, we’ll dispose of small quantities of household batteries. However, we’d rather you take somewhere else.

Berkeley may have collected used household batteries from the curbside on trash day at one time, which is the exact sort of action I’d like local governments to take. However, it’s unclear if this is the case currently. Results from the Stopwaste search say Berkeley will pick up curbside, but other information on the same site says they must be brought to the recycling center at 2nd and Gilman. If you know for sure, drop me a line.

Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste

Oakland Household Hazardous Wast Facility
2100 East 7th St., Oakland, CA 94606

As of this writing, you can only drop off waste at the following times:

9AM – 2:30PM Wednesday and Friday
9AM – 4:00PM Saturday

And you must make an appointment before dropping off waste. I mean, why would you want to make it convenient for people to drop off waste that might otherwise be hidden in trash or left on the street for the city to deal with at a much greater expense?

re:source (a service)

The re:source website is handy. It’s an index of places that you can drop off hazardous waste in Alameda County and Contra Costa County. You can filter by the type of waste and zip code, and the results include both governmental and private options for proper disposal of each type of waste. Stopwaste is a public agency and I think that they are by far the best local organization when it comes to educating the public about how to dispose hazardous waste.

Now, I also wish that local governments would put some money into making it convenient for people to dispose of waste, but at least with re:source, anybody who wants to do the right thing can find out how to do it. And since some of the local waste disposal options are fee-based, a busy Berkeley resident may have the option to pay for convenience when disposing of hazardous waste by choosing a collection site with easier access. What about the person with no time and no money, and perhaps lacking a strong environmental conscience? I sure would like it if there were options that made it waste disposal so easy that he figures, “hey, why not.”