Most people give little thought to recycling or disposing of their daily discards, but when consumers have to discard a large, heavy item, questions arise about handling.

In Ventura County, most single-family homes subscribing to curbside refuse service have access to at least one free annual bulky-item collection by the hauler contracted to their city or the county. If you call the number on your refuse bill and request your free bulky-item collection, you can get rid of most items.

Here are tips for managing some large waste items in Ventura County.

Mattresses: The best option is to have your retailer pick up your old mattress when delivering a new one. Mattresses in separate loads (not mixed with other items) are accepted free at Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer (Ventura), Del Norte Recycling and Transfer (Oxnard) or the Simi Valley Landfill.

Tires: Gold Coast, Del Norte and the Simi Landfill are also options for tires, but they charge at least $5 for each car tire. The best option is to turn in your old tires when buying new ones. Tire dealers serving their customers, sometimes helping even months after a sale, generally charge less than $3.

Windows: Do not recycle window glass in your curbside recycling cart. It has a different melting temperature than bottle glass and can ruin an entire load of bottle glass. Dispose of glass in garbage carts. Only high-quality, dual-pane, standard-size windows are accepted for resale at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores.

Phone books: These are still delivered in some Ventura County neighborhood, despite the popularity of online searches. They can be recycled with paper in curbside carts.

Toilets: The nearest company accepting toilets for use in road base is in Colton. This distance makes recycling impractical. Only the highest-quality, clean, low-flow toilets are accepted at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. Otherwise, toilets must be discarded in a curbside bulky item program or hauled to a disposal facility.

Concrete and asphalt: These materials are too heavy for curbside carts or commercial bins.
Instead, if you have only a single chunk of concrete under 3 feet in diameter, some garbage collection companies, using your free annual bulky-item collection allocation, will come to your home and load it into a lift-gate truck in response to your call. If you have enough concrete to justify the cost, you might order a “low-boy” (short sided) roll-off box instead of a bin from your refuse collector.

If you can haul concrete yourself, you can bring the material to an inert recycling facility, which will crush it into small pieces for reuse as new road base.

If you bring concrete to a landfill, keep it separate from other waste so it can be reused for on-site roads.
City and county contracts with haulers and landfills also provide for free collection events or free disposal days. Concrete and asphalt are often sorted from mixed roll-off bins of construction debris hauled from these events.