The Glendale Fire Department’s Household Hazardous Waste Program has been available to La Cañada Flintridge residents since 2000, yet few residents are taking advantage of the program, which allows people to safely dispose of hazardous waste to protect landfills and water treatment plants.
According to Javier Gonzalez, a fire and environmental safety specialist with GPD’s Fire Prevention Bureau, LCF participation in the Hazardous Waste Program is “very minimal, with only about 10-15 participants per month,” compared to around 350-400 monthly Glendale participants.
Through this program, which operates every Wednesday and the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., LCF and Glendale residents can drive up to the collection site at 780 Flower St. in Glendale and a member of the Fire Prevention Bureau will collect the waste straight from people’s cars.
Hazardous waste items eligible for collection include paint, batteries, fluorescent light lamps, electronic goods, light bulbs, propane, fire extinguishers, thermometers, fertilizers, calking, resins, aerosol cans, pool chemicals, expired medication and more.
Properly disposing of these materials helps keep the community and environment safe, Fire Marshal Jovan Diaz said.
“This program diverts a lot of waste from not only landfills, but also from going into storm drains or being abandoned altogether,” Diaz told the Outlook Valley Sun.
On average, the program brings in about 200,000 pounds of waste annually and has collected 3,000 tons of waste since the program’s start. Once hazardous waste is dropped off, the Fire Prevention Bureau works to breakdown materials into what can be recycled and what must be carefully destroyed. Diaz estimates that about 75% of the materials they collect are recycled, whether that’s glass, chemicals or beyond.
Diaz also stressed the importance of properly disposing of unused medication and explained how discarded medications that end up in water sources and treatment plants negatively affect microorganisms that help breakdown harmful chemicals in water. The bureau, however, is unable to collect drugs that are controlled substances so those must be discarded at designated drug drop-off sites.
While Glendale’s Fire Prevention Bureau engages in community outreach efforts such as social media campaigns, booths at Glendale city events and flyers, these efforts are primarily targeted to Glendale residents — although Diaz said he wants to connect with LCF city staff to facilitate more outreach and advertising to the community. This is especially important following the recent closure of a S.A.F.E. Center location, which was another hazardous waste collection facility in Central Los Angeles. With this closure, Diaz and Gonzalez want LCF residents to know that they still have a convenient outlet to dispose of their hazardous materials.
“We’re protecting our landfills and preventing [harmful materials] from going into the landfill and damaging our environment and protecting against [chemicals] that might leach into our waterways and damage our water,” Gonzalez said.
To view a full guide of what can be collected through this program and more, visit glendaleca.gov/government/departments/fire-department/fire-prevention/environmental-management-center/household-hazardous-waste.
First published in the November 30 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.