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

Rules regarding Universal Waste. On February 8, 2006, additional California regulations became effective to protect public health and the environment. Common products that we use in our daily lives are made with potentially hazardous ingredients that now require special care when disposed of. To prevent the chemicals from these common products we use from being released into the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, or harm our garbage handler, these items must be handled differently. The common items listed below now have their own category of waste—universal waste and are banned from the trash.

Disposing of Universal Waste

No one in California is allowed to discard their fluorescent lamps and household batteries as ordinary trash. Those items are now universal waste. In the City of Alameda, the drop-off locations are listed below, broken down by category.

Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Universal Waste.


Universal Waste Drop-Off Locations by Category:

Batteries   Fluorescents

Common Batteries AA, AAA, C Cells, D Cells and Button Batteries
(e.g. hearing aid batteries)
These may contain toxic heavy metals like cadmium, a corrosive chemical that can cause burns. (Automotive type batteries are not universal waste. When they become waste, they are regulated under a different law.)

Municipal Battery Recycling Program
In an effort to make it easier for residents to properly discard these items, the City of Alameda's Public Works Department has partnered with local businesses and the community to provide drop-off locations.

Alameda residents may drop-off alkaline, rechargeable, and lithium batteries at any of the following locations:

Alameda County Industries
2307 Blanding Avenue, Suite B

Pagano’s Hardware Mart
1100 Lincoln Avenue

Encinal Hardware
2801 Encinal Avenue

CVS Pharmacy
885-A Island Drive

City Hall
2263 Santa Clara Avenue

City Hall West
950 W. Mall Square
(Alameda Point)

Alameda Free Library
1550 Oak Street

Alameda Municipal Power
2000 Grand Street

Mastick Senior Center
1155 Santa Clara Avenue

Maintenance Service Center
1616 Fortmann Way

There is no charge for this program. Residents who wish to dispose of their batteries should tape the contacts on both ends prior to bringing them to the drop-off receptacles.

For additional information on collection of solid waste and recyclable materials or other similar services, please call Alameda County IndustriesI at 510-483-1400 or the City of Alameda Public Works Department at 510-747-7930.


Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs and Other Mercury-Containing Lamps
Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, sodium, and neon bulbs. These lights contain mercury vapor that may be released into the environment when they are broken. Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause harm to people and animals including nerve damage and birth defects. If mercury is released into the environment it can contaminate the air we breathe and enter streams, rivers, and the ocean, where it can contaminate fish that people eat.

Alameda residents may drop-off fluorescent tubes, bulbs and other mercury-containing lamps at any of the following locations:

Alameda County Industries
2307 Blanding Avenue, Suite B

Pagano’s Hardware Mart
1100 Lincoln Avenue

Encinal Hardware
2801 Encinal Avenue

Other Universal Waste:

Mercury-Added Novelties
Examples include greeting cards that play music when opened; athletic shoes (made before 1997) with flashing lights in soles; and mercury maze games.

Mercury Gauges
Some gauges, such as barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges contain mercury.

Mercury Thermometers
Mercury thermometers typically contain about a half gram of mercury. Many health clinics, pharmacies and doctors offices have thermometer exchange programs that will give you a new mercury-free fever thermometer in exchange for your old one.


Non-Empty Aerosol Cans that Contain Hazardous Materials
Many products in aerosol cans are toxic. And many aerosol cans contain flammables, like butane, as propellants for products like paint. If your aerosol can is labeled with words like TOXIC or FLAMMABLE don’t put it in the trash unless it is completely empty.

Pilot Light Sensors
Mercury-containing switches are found in some gas appliances such as stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces and space heaters.

There is mercury inside the sealed glass "tilt switch" of the old style thermostats (not the newer electronic kind).

Household Hazardous Waste Resources:

Alameda County: Household Hazardous Waste
California Integrated Waste Management Board: Household Hazardous Waste

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

Disposing of Universal Waste