Waste Not


This year, Napa County’s recycling program expanded more than ever to include not only such traditional recyclable items as cans, bottles and plastic bags, but also those awkward items that no one feels are really right to put in the trash can. As environmental awareness continually increases, so does that weird pile of un-throw-away-able junk in the backyard.

What to do with that plastic bucket full of eight-month-old car oil that was once so recklessly poured down the storm drain? What to do with the old washing machine that was fixed five times on long Saturday afternoons before finally going completely kaput? And what to do with the kids’ old computer monitor that stopped working when a glass of Fanta accidentally disappeared into its ventilation slots?

But even trickier are pharmaceutical drugs, sharp syringes and razor blades. Putting pharmaceutical drugs down the drain can be incredibly harmful to the environment and our habitat, and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize the dangers of chucking razor blades and needles in the trash. In fact, as of Sept. 1, 2008, a new state law makes that practice illegal.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, the city of Napa hosts a collection event for unused or expired pharmaceuticals and home-generated “sharps.” Place syringes and razor blades in a puncture-proof container, such as an old bleach bottle or coffee can, and bring them to 1539 First St., Napa, on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10am to 4pm. Also, pharmaceuticals and sharps, along with other household waste, will be accepted at a special hazardous waste collection event on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 9am to 3pm at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. For more information, see www.naparecycling.com or www.napamax.com.

For disposal of other problematic items, Napa area residents can head to a consolidated area of disposal centers located around Highway 29 and South Kelly Road. The bucket of used oil can be taken to the Napa-Vallejo Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 889-A Devlin Road in American Canyon. Open 9am–4pm on Fridays and Saturdays, the facility also accepts old paint, propane tanks, batteries, solvents and cleaners. Call ahead of time to check that your waste can be dropped off, at 1.800.984.9661.

As for the soda-soaked computer monitor? Around the corner, there’s the Napa Recycling and Composting Facility at 820 Levitin Way, which will take broken old computer parts and other assorted e-waste like cell phones and TVs. Concrete, tires and metal can be brought as well. Open Monday–Friday, 8am to 4pm, the facility appreciates calls ahead of time at 707.255.5200.

What about the broken washing machine? The Devlin Road Transfer Station, at 889 Devlin Road in American Canyon, takes bulky items such as appliances, mattresses and furniture. It’s open daily from 8am–4pm. 707.252.0500.

Sonoma County Library