Resident’s Guide to Household Hazardous Waste

Protect our Water - what is Household Hazardous Waste and ways to make sure it does not enter our waters.

Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing hazardous components. What Is Household Hazardous Waste? Hazardous material includes substances that are flammable, poisonous, corrosive, or reactive. The used or leftover contents of such consumer products are known as “household hazardous waste.”

But I don't use hazardous items!
Are you sure? Look again. Many common, everyday paints, cleaners, disinfectants, stains and varnishes, car batteries, motor oil, and pesticides are hazardous.

Automotive Items
Antifreeze Car wax / polish
Non-regulated auto care products Brake & transmission fluid
Gasoline & other fuel Rust inhibitors
Automotive batteries

Household Items
Wood preservatives Paint strippers
Household batteries Solvents
Paint thinners Photo chemicals
Oil based paints Stains
Ammonia based cleaners Oven cleaners
Drain cleaners Deodorizers
Mothballs Aerosol sprays
Floor wax Furniture polish
Insect repellants
Florescent light bulbs

In Your Backyard
Insect spray Weed killers
Swimming pool chemicals Pesticides

Oh no! What Are the Dangers of Improper Disposal?
Household hazardous wastes are sometimes disposed of improperly by individuals pouring wastes down the drain, on the ground, into storm drains, or putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods may not be immediately obvious, but certain types of household hazardous waste have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers; contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets; and present hazards to children and pets if left around the house. Not to mention the potential harm to everyone if they get into the storm drains and into the ocean!

What can I do about my hazardous products?
Here are some tips for safe storage, handling, and disposal:
• Reduce the amount and/or toxicity of products you use by selecting non-hazardous or less hazardous components that do the same job.
• If you need to use products with hazardous components, buy and use only the amount needed. Leftovers can be shared or donated. For example, excess pesticide might be offered to a neighbor.
• Recycling is an economical and environmentally sound way to handle some types of household hazardous waste, such as used automobile batteries and oil. Some auto parts stores and service stations accept these items.
• Prevent accidental ingestion - Use and store hazardous substances carefully to prevent accidents at home. Never store hazardous products in food containers. Keep hazardous substances in their original containers and never remove the labels.
• Never mix hazardous products with other products. This may cause a chemical reaction or even explode!
• Always follow any instructions for use and disposal provided on the product label.

Where can I get more information?
Additional information about HDOT’s Clean Water program is available on HDOT’s Storm Water Web site at

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