The Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center is the place to dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste products in a manner that is easy, safe and environmentally responsible. Waste that is potentially harmful to human health or the environment, such as paint, solvents and cleaning chemicals, is considered hazardous waste and should never be disposed of in the trash or sewer system.

The Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center, at Building 565 on Mesa Road at UCSB, is open to residents from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays without an appointment. The Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center is also open to businesses on Fridays, by appointment only. The center is open all year except for major holidays and during periods of rain.

Residents can bring up to 15 gallons (in leak-proof containers no larger than 5 gallons each) or 125 pounds of material for disposal free of charge. Businesses can bring up to 27 gallons or 220 pounds per trip, and are charged a fee to cover disposal costs. Products commonly accepted at the center include automotive products, cleaners, paints and stains, aerosols, batteries, compact fluorescent lights, fluorescent tubes and household medications. The center doesn’t accept biological, radioactive or explosive material, nor does it accept electronics, controlled substances or needles.

Click here for a complete list of accepted items.

The center also saves some unused or partially used items, in their original containers, for the Materials Exchange Program. These products are made available for free for any individual, business or service group. This type of recycling reduces disposal costs for the County and participating jurisdictions, and helps others obtain products free of charge. Materials vary depending on what customers have brought to the facility and can include paints, stains, automotive products, household cleaners and gardening chemicals. The Materials Exchange Program is open to the public during the center’s hours of operation on Saturday and Sunday.

“The county wants to ensure that the public we serve has a viable location to dispose of these materials. By providing this location we offer a service that protects our environment,” said Scott McGolpin, director of the county Public Works Department. “Without this option, this material could be appearing in our rural spaces and landfills. We also want to make reusable items that come to this facility available to the members of our communities that will be able to use them.”

In the past 10 years, the center has collected more than 5 million pounds of hazardous waste, and has been visited by about 80,000 residents and businesses. Additionally, the center has given away 100,000 pounds of materials through the Materials Exchange Program.

“The Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center serves over 9,000 people per year and what we hear over and over is that they are thrilled to have a facility that is free and convenient to use,” said Resource Recovery and Waste Management program specialist Jody Rundle. “The center allows the public to dispose of hazardous materials from their homes in a manner that is both safe and environmentally sound. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

For more information, click here or call 805.882.3602.

— Jody Rundle is a program specialist for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.