These words are designed to keep people away, yet many common household products are labeled with these warnings and left sitting on shelves or in cabinets long after they are needed. In a typical home, families have about 100 pounds of unwanted hazardous chemicals stored. These unneeded–and often forgotten–items are called “Household Hazardous Waste” (HHW). Take a look around. You probably have HHW that you don’t need, such as old paint, stain, lawn chemicals, bug spray, antifreeze, gasoline, and more.
Gathering and safely disposing of HHW will open up storage space and also make your home safer for your family, as well as emergency responders in case of fire or natural disaster. Plus, it will help us keep our ocean and beaches clean and safe. NEVER place HHW in the trash, recycling, or green waste cart, or pour into the street, gutter, storm drain, or sewer.
Instead, take advantage of Los Angeles County’s FREE, convenient HHW Round-Up Events. In addition to HHW, you can also drop off electronic waste, car batteries, household batteries, fluorescent tubes and bulbs, expired medication, used sharps (in a secure container), and mercury thermometers. HHW Round-Ups are held once a year in Torrance and at least once each quarter in nearby cities: Carson (September), Lomita (December), Hermosa Beach (January), and Gardena (March). All Round-Up events are free and open to all residents of Los Angeles County.
If you don’t want to wait for one-day Round-Up event, you may drop off HHW and electronics year-round at the following nearby locations:
Saturdays and Sundays 2nd & 4th Saturday
9am – 3pm 9am – 2pm Gaffey Street S.A.F.E. Center EDCO Recycling & Transfer
1400 N. Gaffey St. 2755 California Ave.
San Pedro, 90731 Signal Hill, 90755
Walgreens is leading the fight against prescription drug abuse with new programs to help curb the misuse of medications and reduce the rise in overdose deaths. In the ongoing national effort by a retailer, Walgreens has installed safe medication disposal kiosks in over 1,000 pharmacies across 45 states and the District of Columbia. Walgreens safe medication disposal kiosks provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medications at no cost, year-round.
Kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours and offer one of the best ways to ensure that medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.
City of Torrance Offers Free Christmas Tree Recycling!
From December 26, 2018 through January 10, 2019, City of Torrance residents will be able to recycle their Christmas trees along with their regular curbside collection.
Trees must be unflocked (no fake snow), less than six feet long (without cutting), and undecorated (no stands, tinsel, or ornaments).
How-To: Trees can be up to six (6) feet long without needing to be cut. Then, place the tree at the curb at least four feet from your automated containers by 7:00 a.m. on your regularly scheduled collection day between Monday, December 26, 2016, and Thursday, January 12, 2017.
Other Options: Christmas trees put out for collection before or after the recycling collection dates, or flocked trees (with fake snow), must be cut up and placed in the regular (black) trash container for removal. Unflocked Christmas trees six (6) feet or smaller can be placed directly into the green waste container and will be collected during normal collection times.
Note:The large item collection program will not be available during the curbside Christmas tree recycling program. Remember that it takes at least a week to schedule the large item pick up, so please plan accordingly. For further details visit the Public Works Christmas Tree Recycling webpage.
What happens to my Christmas trees when they’re recycled?
The City of Torrance chops up the Christmas trees they collect and turn them into mulch and landfill cover. The City offers free mulch giveaways year-round at Lago Seco Park. Visit the Public Works Department for more details.
Is there a more eco-friendly, sustainable option for Christmas trees?
Yes! You can “rent” a living Christmas tree (one that has not been chopped down) and have it delivered to your home or business for the holiday season. You can visit Living Christmas for more details.
Did you know it’s illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the trash? Because rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals, they are classified as a Hazardous Waste. Whereas metals like lead, cadmium, zinc , and cobalt can pollute land and water when improperly disposed of, when recycled, these heavy metals from batteries can be reclaimed and used to make new batteries. Recycling rechargeable batteries not only reduces pollution, it conserves natural resources and reduces the energy costs involved in making new materials.
There are several different types of rechargeable batteries: lithium ion, nickel cadmium, small sealed lead acid, and nickel metal hydride. All rechargeable batteries different from single-use batteries (like common household AA, AAA, 9V and D-cell batteries). Single-use batteries cannot be recharged and must be disposed of once they run out of charge. You can find out how to properly dispose of single-use batteries here.
One of the most common types of rechargeable batteries are cell phone batteries. Rechargeable batteries are also found in cordless phones, laptops, cameras, cordless power tools, etc.
The good news about recycling rechargeable batteries is that there are many convenient drop-off locations around the country. Call2Recycle, a product stewardship program devised of battery manufacturers, has been recycling all types of batteries for over 20 years. Call2Recycle has partnered with retail locations to provide drop-off boxes for rechargeable battery recycling free of charge.
Not sure if you have single-use or rechargeable batteries? Check out the Battery Recycling Guide from Call2Recycle and watch the video below to learn more.
You can dispose of rechargeable batteries in the City of Torrance:
Take to a designated Call2Recycle drop-off location.Click here for a complete list of Call2Recycle drop-off locations.
Dispose of Old Mercury Thermostats Properly with Thermostat Recycling!
It is ILLEGAL to throw away mercury thermostats! Remember the Three R’s: Remove, Replace, Recycle!
Most modern buildings built in the past twenty years use programmable, LED-display thermostats, but you’ve undoubtedly seen the old school mercury thermostats at plenty of homes and businesses. Like any item containing mercury, thermostats are classified as a universal waste, and must be recycled. Mercury is a bio-toxin hazardous to our health and can cause serious environmental damage if improperly disposed of in landfills.
To encourage the proper dispose of mercury thermostats, Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), a non-profit made up of thermostat manufacturers, has developed a product stewardship program. TRC has partnered with Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) wholesalers, thermostat retailers, and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection sites, to collect old mercury thermostats from the public in a drop-off program. Now, proper recycling of old thermostats is easier than ever!
In 2017, nearly 18,000 mercury thermostats were recycled under this program in California alone.
Since the Thermostat Recycling Corporation launched in 1998, they have collected more than 2.4 MILLION thermostats; that’s more than 11 TONS of mercury diverted from the waste stream.
You can recycle your old mercury thermostats at the following locations:
Take to a local participating program take-back wholesales. Click here to search for drop-off locations by zip codes.
You can also recycle mercury thermostats at an LA County-run, HHW S.A.F.E. collection center. Click here for a list of local HHW collection centers.
As part of the City of Torrance’s used oil recycling program, the City hosts a series of filter exchange events at auto parts stores around town. Since February of 2017, Torrance has hosted five (5) filter exchange events for residents.
Events are held once a quarter at Used Oil Certified Collection Centers on Saturdays, 9am–1pm. At filter exchanges, Torrance residents who bring in an old oil filter to recycle receive a voucher for a free, new filter to redeem in-store.
Many auto parts stores like AutoZone and O’Reilly participate in the statewide used oil recycling program by taking back motor oil & filters from the public and recycling them for free. Remember when doing your next oil change to call your local auto parts store to see if they are a Used Oil Certified Collection Center. And don’t forget the filter! Check Recycle Torrance for dates and details of the City’s next scheduled filter exchange event, or call (562) 944-4766 with any questions about the City of Torrance’s Used Oil Recycling Program
2017-2018 Filter Exchange — By The Numbers
# of Events: 5
# of Participants: 150
# of Filters Collected: 357
Gallons of Oil Collected: 262
Used Oil & Filter Recycling — Did You Know?
Did You Know In California, 1 in 5 households have a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) oil changer.
Did You Know There are more than 2,600 Used Oil Certified Collection Centers in California. There are 24 in Torrance.
Did You Know If improperly disposed of, the oil from a single oil change (1 gallon) can pollute as much as 1 million gallons of drinking water. One million gallons is enough to supply drinking water for 50 people for a year.
Did You Know In the U.S., less than 60% of the motor oil sold is recycled.
Did You Know Recycled motor oil is often turned into re-refined oil. Re-refined oil is more energy efficient, better for the environment, costs less to produce, and just as effective as virgin motor oil. Recycling one gallon of motor oil produces 2.5 quarts of re-refined oil.
Did You Know Even after draining, a typical used motor oil filter retains more than 10 fluid ounces of oil. Disposing of oil filters in the trash is illegal.
Did You Know Metal oil filters are made of steel, another recyclable resource. If all the metal oil filters sold in America each year were recycled, that would result in the recovery of about 160,000 tons of steel!
Did You Know DIY oil recyclers who recycle their motor oil at a Used Oil Recycling Certified Collection Center are eligible to receive 40 cents per gallon of oil brought in.
Make a difference in your community by volunteering!
Want an opportunity to help keep your community safe and clean? Join Team Torrance as a volunteer at the 34th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.
Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday, September 15th from 9am–12 noon. Co-hosted by Heal the Bay, the Ocean Conservancy, the California Coastal Commission, and the L.A. Department of Beaches and Harbors, this year’s Torrance event is sponsored by American Honda and the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce, and will take place at Torrance Beach. For more info on the Torrance Beach Cleanup, please contact Beach Captain Leslie Cortez at (310) 618-5864 or Co-Captain Betty Perez at (310) 781-7627.
Last year’s Torrance Beach Cleanup received a record number of volunteers, so sign up early this year. Volunteers meet at Miramar Park, 201 Paseo de la Playa @ Calle Miramar.
There are many more opportunities to help keep our beaches & oceans clean at various locations throughout L.A. County. To sign-up, visit Heal the Bay.
In 2017, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers removed more than 800,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California coast and inland waterways–in only 3 hours! Volunteering really makes an impact in our local communities.