A school district’s transportation department produces many types of waste (examples listed below)–some hazardous, some not necessarily hazardous but potentially damaging to the environment if not handled appropriately. If not properly treated and/or disposed of, these wastes could result in a significant cost to a school district.

Examples of Transportation-Related Waste Materials

  • Solvents
  • Used oil
  • Grease
  • Oil filters
  • Fuel filters
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Scrap tires
  • Coolant (antifreeze)
  • Scrap metal
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Spent lead-acid batteries
  • Refrigerants
  • Off-specification products
  • Brake cuttings/fillings
  • Brake shoes and pads
  • Diesel particulate trap residue
  • Oil-water separator sludge
  • Gasoline/diesel fuel
  • Transmission fluid/filters
  • Wiper fluid
  • Shop towels
  • Contaminated absorbent/floor sweep
  • Aerosol cans

By implementing key pollution prevention strategies targeted at reducing the amount of such materials purchased and disposed, a school district may receive the following benefits:

  • Decreased operating costs.
  • Decreased waste disposal costs.
  • Reduced long-term liability.
  • Preservation of environmental quality.
  • Improved workplace safety and health.
  • Projection of a positive public image–being a good neighbor.

Both the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) provide resources to assist with the proper management, recovery, and disposal of the waste types listed above. These resources can also be used to identify specific pollution prevention (P2) opportunities that can be incorporated into the department’s day-to-day operations and to develop administrative procedures to support a districtwide waste reduction policy.

Department of Toxic Substances Control Resources

The DTSC regulates hazardous waste, cleans-up existing contamination, and looks for ways to reduce the hazardous waste produced in California. DTSC staff work to ensure that companies and individuals handle, transport, store, treat, dispose of, and clean up hazardous wastes appropriately.

DTSC’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Technology Development developed the Vehicle Service and Repair (VSR) to reduce environmental and health impacts of vehicle repair and maintenance operations in California. The program focuses on several typical activities in the vehicle service and repair shop, and introduces alternative methods that will reduce the amount of hazardous wastes generated, reduce operational costs, and increase shop operators’ ability to comply with environmental regulations.

Through this program, you can obtain:

Other DTSC Resources

Hazardous Waste Generator Guidance

  • Fact Sheets: Information on proper handling, labeling, storage, and transportation of hazardous waste.
  • Generator FAQs: Answers to frequently asked questions from generators.

If you have questions about hazardous waste regulations, contact a Public and Business Liaison/Duty Officer in one of DTSC’s regional officesPDF download by e-mail or toll free number (800) 728-6942.

California Commercial Offsite Hazardous Waste Management Facilities. This listingPDF download includes all commercial hazardous waste permitted Recycling, Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) that accept offsite waste for a fee and perform treatment and/or disposal at the facility. This listing will be periodically updated as additional information is obtained.

Registered Hazardous Waste Transporter DatabaseIn California, unless specifically exempted, it is unlawful for any person to transport hazardous wastes unless the person holds a valid registration issued by DTSC. A hazardous waste transporter registration is valid for one year and is assigned a unique registration number. You may check on a transporter’s current registration at the link above.

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery

The Local Assistance and Market Development (LAMD) is your resource at CalRecycle for inquiries about waste reduction, including setting up districtwide recycling programs and identifying local resources. LAMD staff serve as liaisons between school districts, local jurisdictions, and recyclers/haulers, building a solid team to address your district’s waste management needs. The following are some of the programs and resources that CalRecycle offers to assist with and promote waste reduction programs related to a school district’s transportation department.

Grants for Tire-Derived Products. CalRecycle provides grants to state and local agencies, including school districts, to purchase tire-derived products such as rubber fatigue mats, resilient padding and floor protection, rubber truck bed liners, playground mats, rubber tracks, wheel chair access products, and many more. See the CalRecycle Tire Program’s Grants page for more information.

Used Oil Registration Program. School districts can earn $0.16 for every gallon of used oil they recycle by registering as industrial generators. Districts must submit claim reports to CalRecycle to receive this payment. School districts that have already taken advantage of this program include:

  • Desert Sands Unified School District, Riverside County.
  • East Side Union High School District, Santa Clara County.
  • Kern High School District, Kern County.
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District, San Diego County.
  • Placerville Union Elementary School District, El Dorado County.
  • Sonora Union High School District, Tuolumne County.
  • Tulare City School District, Tulare County.

For additional information about how to register, call (916) 341-6457. CalRecycle also maintains interesting facts about used oil and filters to help promote your district’s program.

Rerefined Oil. Did you know that school districts have the option of purchasing from the State’s rerefined oil purchasing contract? Information regarding this contract–including purchasing and price details–is available in CalRecycle’s Rerefined Lubricants fact sheet. Get the facts about rerefined oil, including common myths and questions, the process of rerefining, who uses rerefined oil and why, automotive industry positions, and a list of rerefiners, blenders, and distributors.

Fact Sheets

  • Antifreeze: Hazards and Responsible Use explains what antifreeze is and the hazardous effects it could have on our health and the environment. It also presents practical ideas on how to use, store, recycle, and properly dispose of antifreeze.
  • Lead-Acid Batteries–Hazards and Responsible Use describes negative health and environmental effects of lead-acid batteries if they are disposed of or handled improperly. It also presents tips on maintaining lead-acid batteries and information on recycling them.
  • Don’t Waste Tires provides tips on tire maintenance, encourages use of tire-derived products and retreaded tires, and promotes the reuse or recycling of tires.

Other Resources

In addition to the information and tools the DTSC and CalRecycle offer, a number of other resources are available to help you develop and implement an integrated waste management program that will meet your district’s needs:

City/County Recycling Coordinator. You can use the Local Assistance and Market Development Contacts page to obtain the contact information for your local and primary partner in developing a school district waste reduction program.

Earth 911. Through a single toll-free phone call to 1-800-CLEANUP or the use of this website, you can access several sections of community-specific environmental information at no cost. For community-specific information, simply enter your ZIP code to obtain information about used motor oil recycling, household hazardous waste, recycling services, and dozens of other resources.

King County Environmental Purchasing Program. King County, Washington purchases many recycled and environmentally preferable products, including re-refined antifreeze and motor oil used by all county vehicles, including the fleet of 1,200 Metro buses (one of the largest in the nation), low-VOC asphalt cold-patch compound, plastic lumber, compost, shredded wood waste, tire retreading services, hybrid vehicles, biodiesel, and bio-based oil. Many of these products are more economical than those they replace, and the county saved almost $1 million in 2004.

Filter Manufacturers CouncilYou can access a listing of companies, by state, that transport, process, and recycle used filters by calling the Filter Manufacturers Council hotline at 1-800-99-FILTER.

Lower-Emission School Bus ProgramThe goal of this California Air Resources Board program is to replace older buses with safe and clean new buses and clean up in-use buses. This will reduce school children’s exposure to harmful diesel exhaust emissions.

Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). The RMA recommends taking five minutes every month and before every long trip to check your tires, including the spare. “Be Tire Smart–Play Your PART: Pressure, Alignment, Rotation, Tread” with RMA’s tire maintenance checklist.

Tire Retread Information Bureau. The Tire Retread Information Bureau publishes useful retread facts.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

  • Fuel For Thought…How to Reduce Wastes at Your ShopPDF download. This brochure identifies waste reduction and pollution prevention (P2) options that may be followed to ensure that wastes do not end up in the wrong place where they can cause harm. In addition, a list of important contacts and useful waste reduction and P2 tips are provided.
  • Clean School Bus USA. The goal of this program is to reduce both children’s exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses. They provide resources to facilitate:
    • Implementation of policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary public school bus idling.
    • Upgrading (“retrofitting”) buses that will remain in the fleet with better emission-control technologies and/or fueling them with cleaner fuels.
    • Replacing the oldest buses in the fleet with new, less-polluting buses.

Local Government Green Business Programs. The following local governments have recognition programs for businesses and public agencies that employ environmentally preferable practices. These programs have easy-to-follow checklists for energy and water conservation measures, nonhazardous waste reduction, and water quality best management practices in addition to the P2 practices already mentioned. If you are located within one of the areas below, you may participate in the program or use the checklists they provide to assess your district’s transportation facilities.

Other Helpful/Resourceful Websites. The following documents may contain hazardous waste regulatory compliance information that is not applicable in California. These fact sheets do not replace or supersede relevant California statutes or regulations. These documents are referenced for pollution prevention information only.

  • Waste Reduction in Auto Repair and Fleet Maintenance. North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance web page regarding the automotive repair and maintenance sector discusses cost-effective strategies to improve environmental performance and worker safety in the automobile repair industry. Information is provided for improved methods to manage vehicle fluids, batteries, tires, solvents and shop rags. Environmentally friendly parts cleaning, surface preparation, and coating techniques are also discussed.

For more information contact: Schools Program,