The Glendale Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau offers many services to the community including its Household Hazardous Waste 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, around 350-400 Glendale residents participate in the Hazardous Waste Program monthly — yet the numbers have been on the rise 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, Gonzalez wants people to know that they still have a convenient outlet to dispose of their hazardous materials.
Through the waste program, which operates every Wednesday and the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge 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 News-Press.
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.
“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.
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.
The Glendale’s Fire Prevention Bureau engages in community outreach efforts such as social media campaigns, booths at city events and flyers, and have plans to implement education opportunities for the community to learn more about the services they provide.
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.
As implied by the name, the Fire Prevention Bureau also works to mitigate the risk of fires throughout the city by performing more than 9,000 inspections on properties in Glendale’s high fire hazard zones — Glen Oaks Canyon, Chevy Chase Canyon and some of the woodland areas —paying close attention to vegetation and potential hazards.
For the last few years, the fire department has also hosted brush clearance days where they bring in goats to graze dried vegetation, which is highly flammable.
Gabriel Reza, another fire and environmental safety specialist with the bureau, spoke on expanding the goat brush clearance.
“Every year we see that gain more and more attention. We see it growing. It’s no longer in its incubation stage and we’re getting some more backing from our command staff to add more and more as we go,” Reza told the News-Press. “So, we’re looking for larger properties and other areas of the city for the goats to graze where we can establish effective brush clearance.”
First published in the December 2 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.