In a place as beautiful as the Salinas Valley, every day is Earth Day! It is difficult to imagine why anyone would choose to pollute our scenic vistas and rural corridors by illegally dumping trash, but they do. If there is any possible explanation, it may be that the ones doing the dumping do not know about the many options and alternatives available – so we’re here to help!
As we get new things, stuff starts to accumulate. When we move or need space, the stuff must go somewhere, but where? The first thing to remember is that one person’s trash may be another’s treasure. Donating useful items is one of the greatest things we can do for our community and our planet, by providing low-cost or free goods to those in need while keeping valuable resources out of the landfill. Donating is free, and may even be eligible for a tax credit. Several Goodwill donation stations are located on the Central Coast and Salinas Valley, making it easy to donate locally. Other donation options are available through charities, thrift stores, craigslist.org (advertise free items), and more. Visit SalinasValleyRecycles.org for additional donation resources.
Residents and businesses can recycle most appliances and electronics for free at any Salinas Valley Recycles’ (SVR) facility, any time during business hours. Only appliances with Freon coolant require a nominal disposal fee. If you’re unable to deliver them to one of our sites, ask your waste hauler about the bulky item pickup included with your service. Multifamily dwellings (apartments and town homes) may also be eligible for pickup services – ask your property manager!
Residents and businesses can also recycle mattresses for free, every business day at any SVR facility. California participates in a producer responsibility program that requires consumers to pay a small disposal fee when buying new mattresses, which funds the program and allows SVR to provide free mattress and box spring recycling, no matter where they were purchased or how poor the condition.
Recyclables such as cardboard, glass, plastic and metal are accepted for free from residents and businesses at all SVR locations, or through your curbside recycling service. In addition, many Salinas Valley communities hold annual or semi-annual cleanup events where residents can drop off extra trash and recycling at no cost.
Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes old chemicals, car batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, motor oil, sharps and more. Residents can properly dispose HHW for free at SVR’s HHW Facility at the Sun Street Transfer Station in Salinas. SVR also has ABOP drop-off locations for antifreeze, batteries (household and auto), used oil (and filters) and latex paint at Johnson Canyon Landfill in Gonzales and Jolon Road Transfer Station in King City. Used motor oil and filters can also be recycled curbside by your waste hauler or returned to an auto parts store. Batteries, paint, pharmaceuticals and medical sharps can often be returned to the store where they were purchased.
Residents can recycle tires for free several times a year with SVR, thanks to grants from CalRecycle. Check our website for dates and locations of free tire recycling events happening this April, May and June, and coming again later this fall.
With all these options, there’s no excuse for illegally trashing the Salinas Valley. It creates an eyesore, harbors pests, and invites more dumping. The tax dollars spent on cleanup by Monterey County and its cities are better spent on programs that enhance our communities with public safety services and improvements.
If you witness illegal dumping taking place, call the authorities immediately. If you see a problem area, report it to KeepMontereyCountyClean.org. And if you want to volunteer for cleanups, get involved in the many organized events throughout the year or organize your own. These events provide free supplies and disposal and can help you earn community service credits. There are several events scheduled this spring, so visit SalinasValleyRecycles.org for a cleanup near you and help make Earth Day, every day in the Salinas Valley!
Mandy Brooks | Resource Recovery Manager