Stay Green While You Spring Clean: Free Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste for Residents of Unincorporated San Diego County


SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Did you know the average American household generates over 20 pounds of household hazardous waste (HHW) per year?  Many common household items are banned from landfills due to their hazardous properties, including paint, household cleaners, automotive fluids, and electronic waste.  Some label terms that indicate the product is hazardous include: warning, danger, flammable, corrosive, or irritant.

During spring cleaning season, many of these harmful products are illegally thrown away, poured down the drain, or abandoned because people do not know the safety risks or how to dispose of them properly.  Improper disposal can contaminate groundwater, rivers, and oceans. It’s best to completely use up these products or make the switch to environmentally safer alternatives. However, if you end up with leftover HHW product that you need to get rid of, it is essential to properly dispose of the products.

Luckily, there are several free local resources available for residents of unincorporated communities to properly recycle or dispose of these products at no-cost.  These include:

  • The Ramona Household Hazardous Waste Facility located at the Ramona Disposal Services Transfer Station located at 324 Maple Street, Ramona. This facility is open on the first and third Saturday of each month by appointment. Call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784) or go online at to make your appointment today.
  • The El Cajon HHW facility located at the Waste Management of El Cajon Transfer Station located at 1001 West Bradley, El Cajon. This facility is open on the second and fourth Saturday of each month – also by appointment only. Call Waste Management at (619) 596-5100 for an appointment.

There are other household hazardous waste collection facilities and services available in San Diego County.  To find the closest drop off location or to get other recycling questions answered, visit San Diego County’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database at or call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784).

In addition, the County operates several one-day HHW collection events every year.  Check to see if there is an event planned in your area.

HHW facilities collect and properly recycles or disposes the following household hazardous waste from unincorporated residents:

Aerosol Spray Cans*
Antifreeze / Motor Oil
Brake Fluid
Cell Phones (and Batteries)
Fluorescent Light Bulbs /Tubes
Fungicides / Herbicides
Gasoline or other fuels
Household Cleaners
Kerosene / Lighter Fluid
Syringes / Needles
Paint Stripper
Paint Thinner
Paint / Spray Paint
Photographic Chemicals
Pool Chemicals
Smoke Detectors
Transmission Fluid
Wood Stains / Varnishes
Mercury / Mercury switches

*empty aerosol containers can be recycled in your blue bin at home.

If you’re interested in other ways to reduce the amount of hazardous waste you produce, consider using environmentally friendly cleaning products – they are safer for you and the environment. Environmentally safer alternatives can be made at home for pennies. For example, a great all-purpose cleaner can easily be made by mixing 2 cups of hot water with one teaspoon of liquid soap or borax and one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Try using a quarter cup of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of white vinegar as a substitute for toilet cleaner, and a cup of warm water mixed with two teaspoons of white vinegar makes for an excellent glass cleaner. For more recipes go to

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