How to Dispose Household Hazardous Waste

Hazardous wastes are the wastes which are dangerous to tghe health and well being of living beings: humans, plants or animals. These waste materials must never be discarded with regular wastes because they need special disposal techniques, for safety.

What are Household Hazardous Wastes?

hazardous materials

Household Hazardous Wastes or HHW can be any of the following:

  • Batteries used in the house or vehicles, or even in electronic gadgets like cell phones or laptops.
  • Electronic items like TVs, mobile phones, laptops and computers, music players etc.
  • Paint products like wood stain, wood preservative or any kind of paints used to paint the house.
  • Chemicals used in gardening like chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Thermometers because they contain the poisonous mercury.
  • Sharp objects like scissors, broken glass, syringes or needles.
  • Cleaning chemicals like bathroom cleaners or rust removers.
  • Fluorescent lightings like CFL etc.

Each of these products contains chemicals that are harmful not only for our bodies, but also for the environment. They can accidentally cause death of innocent animals if discarded carelessly.

Common HHW Categories

HHW can be classified as any of the below categories:

  1. Toxic – pesticides, medicines, batteries, solvents, radiator coolants, CFLs etc.
  2. Flammable – furniture cleaners, paint thinners, kerosene, gasoline, insect repellents etc.
  3. Corrosive – stain removers, rust removers, drain cleaners etc.
  4. Reactive/Explosive – acids, cylinders with propane or butane etc.

How to Safely Dispose of HHW?

There are certain techniques and ways to get rid of these Hazardous Household Wastes. One must always follow the stipulated ways to dispose of such dangerous wastes, as laid out by state regulations.

Look for a Home Collection Service in your city

If there is a specialized waste management program in your city or town, you must always give them a call so that they can arrange for pickup of your HHW materials. They follow proper methodologies to dispose of them.

Use up Products Fully

When you fully use up a product containing hazardous waste, the risk of contamination is minimized. However that does not give you the leverage to dispose of it with the common domestic wastes.


Recycling is always a good option because then you need not bother about discarding the HHW. It helps reduce the amount of total hazardous waste you produce.

Community Waste Collection

A way of helping sustainable living in our society, you can carefully gather all your HHW materials together and save for a community waste collection day. Your municipality waste management generally arranges this.

Donate your Extras

If after painting your fence you have leftover paint, please do not dispose of it too soon. Rather than pondering on this toxic waste disposal you might consider donating it to someone who needs it. It could be a local club that might put your excess paint to good use. Similarly, old cell phones in a working condition can be donated to someone who can use it.

Store your HHW with Care

Make sure to not mix up different household hazardous wastes together. Store them separately and in tightly enclosed containers.

While we cannot completely eliminate products containing HHW from our lives, we can try to minimize their use. A good way to do so is by opting for less toxic alternatives. This way we can also reduce the load on the environment.