Four Great Ways to Handle “Hard-to-Handle” Waste

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Depending on which city you live in, your waste hauling service may include containers for trash, recycling, and green waste. But what about items that don’t fit any of those categories? What do you do with automobile batteries, electronics waste, paint, or old furniture?

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Depending on which city you live in, your waste hauling service may include containers for trash, recycling, and green waste. But what about items that don’t fit any of those categories? What do you do with automobile batteries, electronics waste, paint, or old furniture?

Many of us are spending more time at home during the pandemic and clearing out excess “stuff.” And as businesses adjust their way of operating, they are also faced with getting rid of hard-to-handle waste.

Not all “junk” goes in the trash or recycling. Some items are too big; others are hazardous and require special handling and proper disposal. And dumping them in an alleyway is dangerous and illegal.

Keeping up with regulations and knowing the right way to manage special waste can be confusing. Athens Services is here to help. We can assess your needs and provide the proper disposal.

Four types of waste require special treatment: commercial special waste, construction and demolition, household hazardous waste, and bulky items.

Commercial Special Waste: What It Is

Special waste is waste that could cause personal or environmental harm if not properly disposed of. The term often applies to commercial or industrial waste.

Commercial special waste can include the following:

  • Asbestos
  • Automotive products
  • Batteries
  • Biosolids
  • Chemicals/chemical drums
  • Contaminated soils
  • Electronics
  • Filters
  • Fluorescent lightbulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Grease/scum waste
  • Materials or devices that contain lead or mercury
  • Pit waste
  • Sludge.

How to Dispose of It Properly

Athens Services employees are trained to handle a variety of special waste removals. They are qualified to assist you in profiling your material and disposing of it quickly and safely, in compliance with state and federal laws.

Our services include:

  • Asbestos Disposal. Asbestos-containing material poses a health risk to humans. California has strict regulations on how to remove, transfer, and dispose of it properly. Athens can help you safely dispose of all types of asbestos.
  • Chemicals and Drums. Athens offers disposal services and replacements for empty or full drums that were used to store chemicals.
  • Contaminated Soil Removal. We will ensure that your contaminated soil is disposed of safely. This includes soil that contains chemical spills, metals, pesticides, petroleum, and other potentially hazardous or toxic substances.
  • Wastewater Treatment or Sludge. Athens works with many Southern California communities to provide wastewater sludge disposal services, including filtered-out material or byproducts of wastewater.

Our team will assess your materials, determine what type of special handling and transportation they need, and provide additional processing as required.

In certain cases, Athens will provide an insurance industry-approved certificate of destruction and photos for your records.

To learn more about special commercial waste, see Athens’ video here.

Construction and Demolition: What It Is

Construction debris accounts for about one-third of the solid waste generated in the United States annually, and responsible management should be an essential aspect of every building plan.

Building construction and other large-scale construction and demolition (C&D) material are generated when new structures are built, or existing buildings are renovated or demolished (including demolition projects).

Construction and demolition material often contains bulky, heavy materials such as:

  • Salvaged building components (doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures)
  • Carpet
  • Drywall
  • Earth and rock from site clearings
  • Inerts: concrete, bricks, masonry materials, asphalt, dirt, and tile
  • Lumber (from construction)
  • Metals, glass, and aluminum
  • Plastic PVC
  • PVC.

How to Dispose of It Properly

Athens Services provides a sustainable and closed-loop solution to C&D material management by diverting it from landfills through recycling. Athens uses a facility that offers the highest diversion certificate percentage available as certified by the City and County of Los Angeles.

For service, call (888) 336-6100 or order online at Our C&D experts are ready to assess your needs over the phone or at the job site. We offer a variety of containers in different sizes to suit your needs.

Household Hazardous Waste: What It Is

It is illegal to dispose of hazardous materials into containers, down the drain, or by abandonment. The Environmental Protection Agency defines some leftover products in the home as household hazardous waste commonly referred to as HHW.

HHW is any product labeled toxic, poisonous, corrosive, flammable, explosive, or an irritant.

Here are some examples.

  • Automotive fluids (oils, antifreeze)
  • Batteries
  • Cleaning products
  • Compressed gas cylinders (full or empty)
  • Electronics, such as computers and televisions
  • Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides
  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Items containing lead or mercury
  • Large appliances, such as air conditioners, ovens, refrigerators, and water heaters
  • Medical waste and sharps
  • Oil, paints, and polishes
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Pool chemicals.

How to Dispose of It Properly

Hazardous waste cannot be placed in the trash. If Athens staff identifies such items in household waste, it will be tagged as hazardous and will not be collected.

There are three ways to dispose of HHW:

  1. LA County HHW roundups
  2. At-home pickup days
  3. SAFE Collection Centers.

Household Hazardous Waste Roundups are one-day events co-hosted by LA County Sanitation Districts and LA County Public Works at various locations around the county. A complete schedule of roundup events is available on the LACSD website.

At-home pickup days can vary by city. Please contact your city or call Athens at (888) 336-6100.

SAFE (Solvents / Automotive / Flammables / Electronics) Collection Centers are permanent facilities throughout LA County that are open every weekend. For more information, go to

For a complete list of materials, drop-off centers, and events, or for more information, visit the LA County Department of Public Works or call 1-888-CLEAN-LA.

For information on sharp mail-back services and a disposal directory for sharps and medication, visit CalRecycle.

Bulky Items: What They Are

Some items, while not hazardous, require special handling because they are too large for your containers. They include the following:

  • Large furniture, such as beds, bookcases, couches, and dressers
  • Multiple bags and boxes
  • Large green waste items
  • Lumber
  • Mattresses
  • Tires.

We encourage you to donate used items when possible. Many organizations will accept drop-offs or come to your location for pickup. For others, you can place an order online at

Making Hard-to-Handle Items Easier to Manage

Athens Services provides solutions for every type of waste. Collaborating with cities and LA County agencies, there are a variety of options to make managing hard-to-handle waste less stressful and more successful.

To order service for hard-to-handle waste, call Athens at (888) 336-6100 or order online at

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