Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
- The average US household generates about 30 pounds of household hazardous waste per year.
- The United States generates about 1.6 million tons each year.
HHW is hazardous material that has already been used or can no longer be used. If not disposed of properly, it can pose a threat to human health and the environment.
It’s Hazardous and It’s in Your House
- Household maintenance products like paint, thinners and glues make up more than a third of the HHW in our daily garbage.
- Anything from household cleaners and batteries to personal care products like nail polish, polish remover and hair spray make up the other two thirds.
- Vehicle care requires grease and oil, which are hazardous products and gardener use pesticides and fertilizers.
- Keeping our pets pest-free requires hazardous chemicals.
- Lighter fluid you used to start your grill is hazardous.
- Pool chemicals and pharmaceuticals take us from the backyard to the medicine chest.
Learning about household hazardous wastes, reducing the amount used, and using non-hazardous alternates are steps we can all take to reduce the waste we put in our local landfills.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!
- HHW can be reused and recycled if it is brought to a HHW waste collection center.
- Many counties in NC have HHW collection centers. Check the list to find one near you.
- HHW collection sites consolidate wastes for reuse, such as donating paint to Habitat for Humanity or by using hazardous wastes as a fuel.
- Many HHW collection centers also accept used oil and so do many auto parts retailers.
Reduce the amount of hazardous waste you generate.
- Read cleaner and chemical labels carefully before you buy to make sure that the product is appropriate for the job.
- Buy an amount that you think you may use completely so as not to have any left over.
- You can also use less hazardous alternatives. Baking soda and water make a great mild abrasive cleanser.
- Windows can be cleaned with a vinegar and water mix and then wiped dry with old newspapers.
- Most cleaning jobs can be done using liquid soap and borax (found in the detergent aisle). For more ideas on how to reduce the amount of HHW you create, check the chart below.
Common Household Hazardous Waste With Disposal Information and Alternatives
|Substance ||Problem ||Disposal ||Alternatives |
|Rodent bait ||Lethal ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Cats, traps |
|Insect repellent ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Screens, marigolds, rosemary, garlic |
|Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Hand pick or hose, pyrethrins, ladybugs |
|Drain cleaner ||Corrosive ||Wash down with lots of water or bring to HHW collection site ||Baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water |
|Oven cleaners ||Corrosive ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Salt and ammonia overnight |
|Toilet cleaner ||Poisonous ||Wash down with water ||Mild detergent and bleach |
|Spot remover ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Cold water and detergent, alcohol |
|Silver polish ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Water, baking soda, salt and aluminum foil. Toothpaste |
|Furniture polish ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Lemon oil and mineral oil |
|Dyes ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Vegetable dyes like onion, teas, marigolds |
|Paint ||Flammable ||Allow to air dry, mix with litter ||Latex, buy only what you need |
|Air freshener ||Numb nasal tissue ||Wrap in plastic ||Potpourri |
|Brass and copper cleaner ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Lemon juice and salt |
|Antifreeze ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||None |
|Oil and oil filters ||Poisonous ||Use up or bring to HHW collection site ||Drain oil filters |
List of HHW Collection Facilities
Additional information can also be obtained from the Household Hazardous Waste Council of the Carolina Recycling Association at (877) 972-0007.