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 | "U-Waste" is Banned as Hazardous

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"U-Waste" is Banned as Hazardous

Hazardous Wastes Banned from Trash

Regulations to protect public health and the environment have been changing. This is because we now know that some common items that have traditionally been thrown in our household's or business' trash cannot be safely disposed in landfills. These common items are referred to as hazardous waste and some of them as "universal waste" (u-waste). As of February 9, 2006, all "u-waste" items are banned from disposal in the trash. "U-waste" items include:

. All fluorescent lamps and tubes
. All batteries
. All electronic devices, including cell phones, microwave ovens, and radios
. Thermostats or anything that contains mercury

These are hazardous items that contain lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium that can contaminate soil and water. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage, down storm drains, or onto the ground. Chemicals in illegally disposed hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat.

Unless you are sure they are not hazardous, you should presume these types of devices need to be recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste and that they may not be thrown in the trash.

For a complete list of items covered by this new ban, go to or call the Waste Evaluation Help Line at 916-322-7676.

Please contact the Torrance Public Works Department at 310-781-6900 for additional information.


To safely recycle or dispose of hazardous wastes:

For both residents and businesses, Walser's in Torrance accepts electronics for free and fluorescent lights and dry cell batteries for a small fee.  Click here for flyer (pdf).

For residents:

1. Free Periodic one-day drop off events - these events occur on Saturdays and are held at various locations around the L.A. County area.  Call 1-888-CLEAN-LA or click here for a schedule of events.

2. Free Permanent drop-off facility in San Pedro - open 9 am to 3 pm every Saturday and Sunday (except holidays and rainy days) at 1400 N. Gaffey Street in San Pedro.  Click here to go to their website.


For Torrance businesses:

1. Private contractors - there are several companies licensed with the City to provide hazardous waste collection services.  Click here for a listing of these companies.

2. Small Quantity Generator Program - low-cost drop-off service for businesses that produce only small quantities of hazardous waste annually.  Call 1-800-98-TOXIC (800-988-6942) or click here for
the City of Los Angeles Sanitation Department of Public Works' page for Hazardous Waste for Business for more information.


Certain items may have specific programs through local businesses or special events. Rechargeable batteries and most electronics can be recycled free at several businesses in the South Bay area. Many electronic items can be donated as well.  Click here to go to L.A. County Public Works' Smart Business Recycling page for more information.

Please contact the Torrance Public Works Department at 310-781-6900 for additional information.