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Safe and Clean: Guidelines for Transporting Hazardous Waste

HHW Transport Packaging BoxIf you live in Thousand Oaks or an unincorporated area of Ventura County, chances are you’ve heard that you may bring your household hazardous waste (HHW) to the City’s collection facility. But - did you know that there are laws about how much HHW you transport in your car?

State regulations limit individual containers to a 5-gallon capacity (or 50 pounds). Without outreach about safe HHW transportation guidelines, this would also be the limit for a vehicle, but because the City conducts public outreach, the State expands this limit to 15 gallons or 125 pounds per vehicle per visit. What happens if you have more than this legal limit? Make multiple trips.

Residents may make as many visits as needed to the City’s HHW facility in a single day with only one appointment.

While transporting HHW in your vehicle it is important to take precautions. Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe and your vehicle clean:

  1. Consolidate materials in a cardboard box or plastic bin no larger than 5 gallons. (5-gallon buckets from hardware stores are a convenient option). The box/bin should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the individual containers. If using a box, tape along the seam on the bottom for added support.
  2. Place a clear plastic liner inside the box or container. If using a box, fold flaps inward then place the bag inside. Make sure to keep the bag open so staff can see the contents.
  3. Use newspaper to cushion items so as not to fall or tip over.
  4. Don’t stack items.
  5. Place items upright.
  6. Ensure containers are sturdy and have lids or tops securely fastened. Never transport an open container.
  7. Original containers with labeling are recommended – label contents yourself if label is unclear. This is helpful for staff to identify material in a container.
  8. Seal any leaking containers in a sealable bag or in a larger non-leaking container.
  9. Lamps and thermometers (items commonly containing mercury) should be carefully packaged to prevent breakage during the drive.
  10. Keep batteries and heavy items separate from fragile items to avoid breakage.
  11. Transport compact fluorescent (CFL) tubes in the box they came in or wrap a rubber band around them to prevent rolling and breaking. Do not use duct tape because it can shatter the bulbs.
  12. Never mix materials in a single container!
  13. Store materials in the trunk or rear storage area of your vehicle.
  14. Remain in your vehicle during the unloading process at the HHW facility.

Once material is removed from your vehicle by a technician, individual containers will not be given back to you, though staff will give you back the box or bucket used to transport those individual items. You can also keep any used motor oil collection containers, which will be emptied on site and returned to you at your request.

Happy transporting!
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