Household hazardous waste is any product labeled: toxic, poison, corrosive, flammable, combustible or irritant that is disposed of. A typical home can contain a vast array of hazardous products used for cleaning, painting, beautifying, lubricating and disinfecting the house, yard, workshop and garage.

To meet the needs of our residents, several options are provided for the proper disposal and recycling of household hazardous waste. These include door-to-door home collection (by appointment, contact number below) and permanent collection facilities located in the cities of Vista (1145 E. Taylor Street) and Poway (12325 Crosthwaite Circle). The permanent facilities are open on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. Proof of residency (formal ID or utility bill with Encinitas address) is required. 

The collection facilities will be closed the following dates for holiday observances:

 April 11, 2020  Easter

 May 23, 2020  Memorial Day

 July 4, 2020  Independence Day

 September 5, 2020  Labor Day

 November 28, 2020  Thanksgiving     

 December 26, 2020  Christmas

 January 2, 2021  New Year's Day

Make sure lids are on tightly and place containers in a sturdy cardboard box or plastic tub lined with two or more heavy-duty trash bags. Make sure the load is placed securely in the back or in the trunk before traveling to the facility. The California Department of Transportation limits the transport of household hazardous waste to 15 gallons or 125 pounds per vehicle.

For more information or to schedule a home pickup, please call (800)-714-1195.

Motor Oil

Used motor oil can be recycled through the Household Hazardous Waste program. You can also take it to any of the following Certified Collection Centers.

 Auto Zone 120 Leucadia Blvd. (760) 942-2662
 Brad’s Foreign & Domestic 65 Westlake St., Suite 200-C (760) 753-6217
 Charlie’s Foreign Car 751 Second St. (760) 753-4969
 Encinitas Foreign and Domestic 901 Second St. (760) 632-0830
 Herman Cook Volkswagen* 1435 Encinitas Blvd. (760) 753-6256
 Jiffy Lube* 221 N. El Camino Real (760) 632-1155
 Kragen Auto Parts* 180 N. El Camino Real (760) 753-4911
 Valvoline Instant Oil Change 127 S. El Camino Real (760) 943-1517
 Pep Boys* 256 N. El Camino Real (760) 944-7007

* Locations that also accept used oil filters.

California Paint Stewardship Program (Paint Care)

Recycle your leftover paint with PaintCare, an industry sponsored paint stewardship non-profit program established to manage the reuse, recycling and proper disposal of unused architectural paint. PaintCare has established hundreds of drop-off sites at paint retail stores, government-run household hazardous waste facilities, and other locations across California. These sites accept program products (primarily latex and oil based paint) from all residents and certain businesses. For more information and to find Encinitas locations:

Here are some tips for saving money, the environment and storage space:
Buy Right. Be a wise consumer and buy only what you need. Your local paint retailer can help you buy the correct volume of paint for your project. Purchasing the right volume of paint eliminates the need to store or dispose/recycle leftover paint and will save you money. When your painting project is complete, take a look in the can. If there is only a small quantity of paint left, use it up.
Store Properly. If your project is complete and you still have a fair amount of paint left over, store it properly for future use. For best results, cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap and securely seal the lid. Store in a place with a moderate room temperature to avoid freezing. Be sure to choose a safe location out of reach of children and pets.
Reuse/Donate. Leftover paint can be used for touch-ups or for smaller projects. Record the room name on the lid for future touch ups. If you can’t make use of the paint yourself, donate your useable leftover paint to a neighbor, community association, theatre company, church group or other local organizations.
Recycle. Conveniently recycle your unused paint at a PaintCare location or through the City’s Household Hazardous Waste program.

Universal Waste

Hazardous waste regulations contain a category called “Universal Waste.” These are many common products that we use in our daily lives but contain hazardous elements and need to be disposed at a designated collection facility. It is illegal to dispose of universal waste in trash or recycling containers, storm drains, open fields, etc. Illegally disposed universal waste can contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat. Universal wastes are accepted through the City’s Household Hazardous Waste program.  Examples of Universal Waste include: household batteries; electronic waste (see below); fluorescent lamps and tubes; automotive batteries; mercury-added novelty items, such as pilot light sensors, as well as mercury thermometers and thermostats; metal halide lamps; and sodium vapor lamps.

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste or "E-waste” refers to any unwanted electronic device or Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and is classified as universal waste. E-waste frequently contains hazardous materials, predominantly lead and mercury, and is produced by households, businesses, governments, and industries. Common examples of E-waste include: computer monitors and televisions; answering/fax machines and copiers; telephones; computers; stereos and radios; and microwave ovens.

Electronic waste may be collected through the City’s Household Hazardous Waste program. In addition, many schools, churches and other charitable organizations host one-day E-waste collection events throughout the year.

Household Battery Collection

Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many retail sites such as Target, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Contact your local retailer to verify that they are currently accepting rechargeable batteries. For the convenience of our residents, non-rechargeable alkaline batteries are accepted for recycling at the following facilities during regular business hours. Automotive batteries are NOT accepted at these locations.

Public Works Facility Lobby, 160 Calle Magdalena, Encinitas
 Encinitas Public Library Lobby, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas
 Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Dr, Encinitas
 Cardiff Library, 2081 Newcastle Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea

Pharmaceutical Waste

Medication waste is defined as items intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans or other animals. Medication waste is synonymous with drug waste, pharmaceutical waste, unused or expired medication, unused or expired drugs, prescription and over-the-counter human drugs, veterinary drugs, diagnostic agents, and nutritional supplements. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals and studies show that exposure to even low levels of drugs has negative effects on fish and other aquatic species, and also may negatively affect human health. Thus, we recommend households do not dispose of waste medication down the drain or down the toilet. This includes any prescription or nonprescription substances intended to be swallowed, inhaled, injected, applied to the skin or eyes, or otherwise absorbed. Encinitas residents can utilize the Household Hazardous Waste program for disposal of all pharmaceuticals except controlled substances. Another convenient option is to take your left-over medications to the Encinitas Sheriff Station located at 175 North El Camino Real (does not accept Sharps).

Sharps Waste

California law prohibits the disposal of sharps waste, syringes and lancets in the trash. Sharps may accidentally stick and expose children, housekeepers, janitors, trash collectors and pets to disease when improperly stored or discarded. Several options are available for proper disposal of sharps waste.  For example, ask your health care provider, pharmacist or the manufacturer if they take back used needles, lancets or syringes.  You may also take your used needles, lancets, and syringes to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities located in Poway and Vista or utilize the home pickup service. Please place sharps in a puncture-proof, shatter-proof container with a tight lid (i.e. bleach or detergent bottle). For information on these locations or to schedule a home pickup, please call 800-714-1195.