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Hazardous Materials FAQ

What if I would like to drop off my household hazardous waste (HHW) today?

The City of Folsom Permanent Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Facility can accept residential HHW on an emergency basis. Our program is designed to make it as convenient as possible to dispose of HHW by picking up waste at your residence by appointment.  You do not have to carry hazardous chemicals in your car. We are one of the most comprehensive door to door collection programs in the nation and to keep program costs down we cannot have our facility staffed at all times to accept waste.

However, if you are moving or have some other emergency where you need to get rid of household hazardous waste right away, call 916-461-6730 to find out if and when you can drop off.  Please do not come to our facility without having made arrangements for us to receive your waste.  Please do not rely on a Google Search as they have proven to be inaccurate.

Additionally, there are numerous local businesses that provide opportunities for residents (and in some cases businesses) to drop off used oil, paint, household batteries, fluorescent lamps and sharps. 

list of hazardous waste drop-off locations in Folsom is provided on our website. Always call ahead to these facilities to verify hours and receipt of wastes.

Where do I dispose of incandescent light bulbs, low voltage lamps or lighting and LEDs and other lamps that are not fluorescents?

Incandescent and low voltage light bulbs can go in the regular trash.  Low voltage lighting housings, plastic and metal, can go in the recycle bin.  However, if the low voltage lighting contains a solar panel or circuit board, please schedule a HazMat pick up.  LEDs can go with fluorescents and can be scheduled for HazMat pick up when you have a reasonable amount.  Call 916-461-6730 if you have any questions.

You say that marine flares are not acceptable in your program. How can I properly dispose of them?

Marine flares contain an explosive device and never should be disposed in the trash or in our door to door residential household hazardous waste collection program. 

The Sacramento County Sheriff Explosive Ordnance Detail (EOD) will pick up marine flares from residents of the City of Folsom and Sacramento County.  Call the Sacramento County Sheriff at 916-874-5115 and ask for the EOD.

Is there a limit to the amount and types of Household Hazardous Waste that residents can put out for pick up?

Our door to door collection program is primarily available for residential customers and ONLY for household hazardous waste generated within the Folsom city limits. The capacity of our collection vehicle is limited and in order to maintain its safe and legal operation we request that residents limit the amount of HHW put out for pick up to a combined total of: 5 gallons of antifreeze, 5 gallons of used motor oil, and 10 one gallon cans and 2 five gallon pails of paint or paint related material. In addition to these quantities, other types of HHW should not exceed a total of 5 gallons or 50 pounds plus 125 pounds of Universal Waste (lamps, batteries, electronics).

Unacceptable Items - We cannot accept the following: business, commercial or industrial hazardous waste, large compressed gas cylinders (greater than 7 gallons), biological or infectious waste, medical waste (except pharmaceuticals), explosives (fireworks, ammunition, black powder, blasting caps, marine flares), radioactive waste (ionizing smoke detectors, Tritium signs), leaking containers or containers larger than 5 gallons, non-hazardous waste (tires, appliances, wood waste use our Neighborhood Clean Up Program).

If you have a question about a specific waste type or quantity please don't hesitate to call us at 916-461-6730.

Please note: If a resident is disposing of waste that appears to be generated by a business, either by quantity, waste type or characteristic, we reserve the right to refuse to pick up the waste, with or without prior notice.


I am a business or organization (non-residential).  How do I dispose of my hazardous waste?

At this time we do not accept or collect hazardous waste generated by businesses or non-residential entities. 

However, we can accept, at no charge, so called Universal Wastes (televisions, monitors, computers, electronics, fluorescent lamps, batteries, etc.) from Folsom businesses and non-residential entities.  Visit our business and non-residential web page for information about making arrangements to dispose of Universal Wastes in the City of Folsom. 

The Sacramento County Department of Waste Management and Recycling will accept hazardous waste generated by businesses which qualify as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG's).  A CESQG is defined as a business that, in any one month period, generates less than 220 pounds (approximately 27 gallons) of hazardous waste or 2.2 pounds of extremely hazardous waste.  You must have an EPA ID number issued by the state, make an appointment with Sacramento County, and pay them a fee to dispose of your waste.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling 916-876-9458.

Go to Sacramento County's CESQG web site for more information.

Get more information about obtaining a California EPA ID number.

What types of consumer electronics are considered household hazardous waste?

Consumer electronics, fluorescent lamps and batteries generated by residences and businesses are called Universal Waste and are banned by the state from being disposed in the regular trash.  Our program considers consumer electronics as electronic devices that contain a circuit board.  That includes VCRs, stereo amplifiers, DVD players, cell phones, printers, CPUs, laptops, televisions, monitors, digital cameras, etc. 

Microwaves, stereo speakers and speaker cabinets are NOT considered consumer electronics and should not be disposed in our HHW collection program.  Check out our Neighborhood Clean Up program for proper disposal options.

To help keep program costs down, we are asking you to not create an appointment for the pickup of only electronics unless you have a total amount of electronics weighing over 10 lbs.  If you have more than one type of waste to dispose (e.g., paint and electronics or fluorescent lamps and electronics) then there is no minimum. 

If you are disposing of computer equipment, we will take the cables, keyboard, mice, old circuit boards and other components and peripherals.

Does Hazmat pick up large appliances?

Folsom Hazmat does not pick up large appliances. The Neighborhood Cleanup Program picks up large items such as lawn mowers, dishwashers, BBQs, water heaters and furniture.

How should I dispose of fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, and light ballasts?

We collect fluorescent and HID lamps (high pressure sodium, metal halide, and mercury vapor) through our household hazardous waste collection program.   These lamps contain small amounts of mercury and should never be thrown in the trash.

It is important that you try to prevent lamps from being broken by putting them out for pick up in a manner where they won't fall or roll. 

We also accept all types of lamp ballasts.

Incandescent light bulbs should be disposed in the trash.

I have an odd blob of strange looking stuff in my flower bed. Is it hazardous?

If it is growing on organic matter (wood chips, shredded bark, or other mulch) then it is likely slime mold (see pictures below). Slime mold is a common name for a whole variety of organisms in the same life classification as plants and animals (eukaryote because they have nucleus). They are simple single cell or multicellular organisms not really fungus or bacteria or animals. However, in nature they serve the same function as fungi, recycling organic matter, fungus, and bacteria. Slime molds are in no way hazardous. Some slime molds actually move like amoeba finding cellulose (woody material), bacteria, and fungi to consume. They have an eating phase of life cycle that is featured in our pictures. Like fungus, slime molds produce spores to spread. Rather than worry about it, education your kids about this wonder of nature. Go to the following links for more information on slime molds.


            Slime Mold                                       Close up of slime mold

Are fire extinguishers hazardous and do you collect them through your household hazardous waste collection programs?

Common charged dry chemical fire extinguishers contain compressed gas in a cylinder and a dry fire retardant such as sodium bicarbonate (normal baking soda), potassium bicarbonate (nearly identical to baking soda), or monoammonium phosphate and are considered hazardous. We collect dry chemical and liquid chemical fire extinguishers through our household hazardous waste service. When you make an online appointment to have the fire extinguisher picked up check the box next to compressed gas cylinder on the form.

How do I dispose of unused fireworks? What about ammunition?

State law prohibits HHW facilities from accepting any explosives. Therefore, we cannot accept ammunition or fireworks in our program. Folsom residents can dispose of only fireworks and only at Fire Station #35 located at 535 Glenn Drive in Folsom. Drop off hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon & 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday 8:00 a.m. to noon. You can reduce the hazard of fireworks by soaking them in water. Folsom Police Department will accept ammunition on a case by case basis by appointment only. Please call the Property and Evidence room at 916-355-7239 to make an appointment and for more information.  

I noticed that pharmaceuticals are on your list of HHW. In the past, I was told to flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet. Why the change in recommended handling of waste pharmaceuticals?

Current sewage treatment processes only reduce certain water pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria and particulates. There is evidence that chemicals within pharmaceuticals, even over the counter drugs, survive the sewage treatment process and ultimately end up in waterways and are having significant negative impact on the environment.  Obviously, a significant source of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites is urine. Nevertheless, current thinking is that it is better to dispose of pharmaceuticals through HHW programs where they are destroyed than through the sewer or even in trash where they can get into the environment or into the wrong hands. We are pleased to collect non-controlled substance pharmaceuticals in our door to door household hazardous waste collection service.

In order to keep costs under control, we ask that you to do a semiannual cleanout of your HHW rather than calling each month for a pickup of one or two bottles of pesticides or pills.  Also you can help by dumping the solids pharmaceuticals (pills) into a zip lock bag, remove your personal information from the bottles/boxes, and place the empty boxes or bottles (without the caps) in your recycling bin.

Sorry, we cannot accept pharmaceuticals that are listed as controlled substances in our pick up program.  You can properly dispose of them at these locations.

Here is a list of controlled substances provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

You've suggested some alternative products to replace products that contain HHW. I have seen many lists of alternative products on the Internet. How should I decide which products to use?

Reducing the use of hazardous chemicals is a priority of state and city government. Providing accurate information about effective alternative products is key to seeing greater use within our community.  The products on our list are alternatives that we know work.  Effectiveness and being free of hazardous substances are essential criteria for identifying safer alternatives.  Nevertheless, there may be better alternatives than the products on our list.  We would encourage you to email us any information about safer alternative products with which you have direct experience.

I recently used your service and I received a receipt for my waste. Is this a bill?

No, this is not a bill. State of California regulations require that hazardous wastes be tracked "from cradle to grave." These receipts are the beginning of the paper trail that demonstrates the proper disposal of your waste. When the City of Folsom collects your waste, the City becomes the generator of the waste and accepts all responsibility for its disposal.

I am about to move. How should I prepare to move my HHW?

Unfortunately, too many residents learn about the proper disposal of HHW immediately before they're about to move.  Most movers cannot transport HHW. Consequently, residents are faced with having to dispose of HHW a few days before moving or leaving the waste behind for new residents.  But this is not always possible.  The obvious solution to the problem is to be aware of the difficulty of moving HHW and to plan ahead by making an appointment to have your HHW picked up. That way, our program can clean out whatever HHW needs to be disposed of prior to moving.  But if you get caught at the last minute, give us a call at 916-461-6730 to see if you can arrange an emergency drop off at our HHW facility.

I have put HHW in my trash for years and have never had a problem. Why should I use your service?

The City is responsible for preventing the discharge of pollution into area rivers from storm drains. The City enforces city ordinances and state laws regarding illegal dumping of HHW. Trash cans and garbage trucks are not leak-proof. So when HHW leaks, it is easy to track it back to the resident who disposed of it. The City also offers a clean boating program for boaters who use Folsom Lake.

The City's HHW collection program is a door-to-door collection program. It is one of the most convenient services for the disposal of household hazardous waste in California. Most other cities require residents to package their HHW and drive it to often distant permanent collection facilities. We have developed a convenient program to make it as easy to dispose of HHW as it is to dispose of trash.  Make an appointment to have your HHW picked up.

How can I help spread the word about your HHW program to my neighbors?

There are many ways that you can help promote the availability of our service. We have staff members who are available to make presentations at neighborhood parties, community groups, or schools. We have brochures that can be passed out to your neighbors, or you can e-mail links to our Web pages.

I am concerned about putting a large amount of cooking oil in my trash. Do you pick up fryer oil?

Cooking oil should not be put in the trash or down the drain.  We will be glad to pick up your waste fryer oil or other food related oils and grease.  They are not considered hazardous waste, however fats, oils, and grease, so called "FOG", are a significant problem if disposed in the sanitary sewer system.  Therefore, we are pleased to be accepting them for recycling into bio-diesel, soaps and cosmetic products.  We ask that you store up more than a quart of oil or grease before making an appointment to have it picked up.

Do I make a household hazardous waste pickup appointment for the empty containers of hazardous waste such as pesticides or paint?  If not, what do I do with them?

Completely empty containers with no substantial free liquid in them (e.g., less than a tablespoon) are considered non-hazardous and should be disposed in the trash or recycling bin depending on the container material type. Leave the lid or caps off. 

Call the Solid Waste Division at 916-461-6730 to find out if a particular container type (glass, plastic, metal or fiberboard) can go in your blue recycling cart. 

If you have paint cans, brushes or paint rollers with paint in or on them, and the paint is completely dried out, you can put them in your regular trash (leave the lids off the cans).

When in doubt call us at 916-461-6730.

Do you pick up household hazardous waste from apartments?  If so, where should the items be put out?

Yes, we do pick up HHW from apartments. Items should be placed near your apartment in a place where Folsom Hazmat staff can locate it. Please ensure that the location is safe for your apartment neighbors too.  Online appointment scheduling for pick ups at apartments is not available at this time.  You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 916-351-6730.

Is there a charge for your pickups?

No, there is no charge for pickups. A portion of your monthly garbage bill goes toward our program and services.

Will you pick up a satellite dish?

A satellite dish itself is not considered household hazardous waste (HHW).  However, the electronics in or on the dish and the satellite receiver is HHW.

Do you pick up fertilizers?  Can empty fertilizer bags go in the trash or do you collect them?

Yes, we do pick up fertilizers through our regular household hazardous waste pickups. Empty fertilizer bags can go in the trash.

What types of consumer electronics do you pick up?

The following are some of the consumer electronics we pick up:

  • Computers (tower CPU, monitor, cables, peripherals, keyboard, mice, and components)  
  • Televisions (LCDs, CRT, Plasma, Flat Screens and Projection)
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Faxes
  • Copy Machines
  • Telephones and Cell phones
  • VCRs
  • DVD Players
  • Stereos (no speakers please)
  • Cable/Satellite receivers
  • Photoelectric smoke alarms (no ionizing/radioactive please) 

The State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) defines consumer electronics as part of a classification of hazardous waste called Universal Waste and lists many of these examples.  What one can extrapolate from the examples (of what DTSC thinks is hazardous) is that the hazardous components in electronics are concentrated on the circuit boards. Old circuit boards have lead solder, mercury and other heavy metals. So if you have an electronic device that has a significant circuit board then it is probably a hazardous waste and should not be thrown in the regular trash.

Does the information on hard drives get wiped out in the recycling process?

Folsom Hazmat does not wipe the hard drives clean.  Even though most electronics recyclers have security processes in place and some shred hard drives as part of the recycling process, it is highly advised that you wipe your hard drives clean or destroy the discs before submitting them to anyone for recycling.

You request we have a minimum of 5 pounds of household batteries for pick up. What if I have other household hazardous waste to be picked up? Do I still need to save up five pounds of batteries?

No, if you have other hazardous wastes to be picked there is no minimum required. Just put your batteries out with your other waste on your appointment day. 

What is the best way to prepare my household batteries for a pick up?

For rechargeable Ni Cad greater than 9 volts, Lithium, and sealed Lead Acid batteries you must cover the electrodes with plastic, non-conducting (electrical) tape or put the individual batteries in plastic bags so the terminals can not touch.  There in no need to tape or bag regular alkaline household batteries.  Always put any batteries that are leaking in their own separate plastic bag.  Sort and package all batteries by type and/or chemistry.  If you have any questions call us at 916-461-6730. 

Do you take tanning bed UV lamps?  Are they hazardous?

Yes we take tanning bed lamps from residents through our Door to Door Pick Up appointment system. Lamps generated from businesses are accepted on a case by case basis.  Call 916-461-6730 for details.  Tanning bed lamps are fluorescent lamps so they contain a small amount of mercury.  Please prepare them for pickup in a manner that prevents them from breaking.  Please wrap the ends with tape and bubble wrap before placing them out on your driveway.

Can you take my pharmaceuticals that are controlled substances?

Sorry, we cannot accept pharmaceuticals that are controlled substances in our residential door to door pick up program. If you have controlled substances please drop them off where you purchased them or at one of these locations.

Please follow these guidelines when preparing your medications for drop off. 

About 10% of prescription drugs are considered controlled substances.  Here is a list of controlled substances.

Do I need to be home for my household hazardous waste (HHW) to be picked up?

No you do not need to be home. Please properly package and put the HHW out at the bottom of your driveway by 7:00 AM on your appointment day.

How do I properly dispose of hazardous waste in Folsom?

Options for proper disposal and recycling of hazardous waste are provided on our website.

How do I make an appointment to have household hazardous waste removed?

You can schedule removal of household hazardous waste on our website.

I have more questions about properly disposing of hazardous waste in Folsom, where should I go for answers?

If you have not found answers to your questions in our Hazmat FAQs, call us at 916-461-6730 Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.