Do you have hazardous waste hiding out under your kitchen sink? How about in your basement, or in the dark corners of your garage? The answer, almost certainly, is yes. Household hazardous waste includes things like stains, varnishes, cleaners, batteries, automotive fluids, pesticides, herbicides, paints, and many other items.
While household waste may not seem nearly as dangerous as something like nuclear waste, the reality is that household hazardous waste does pose a significant danger. Children and pets may accidently come into contact with toxic or poisonous chemicals that are improperly stored or disposed of. Additionally, improper disposal of household hazardous waste can contaminate septic tanks, waste water treatment facilities, and poses a danger to sanitation workers.
It’s important that you store and dispose of household hazardous waste properly. You might just save the life of a loved one.
Common Household Hazardous Waste Items
- Batteries (household and automotive)
- Fluorescent light tubes and ballasts
- Automotive products (antifreeze, fluids, motor oil)
- Herbicides & pesticides
- Household cleaners
- Stains & varnishes
- Paints (oil & latex)
- Pool chemicals
- Highly flammable materials/solvents
Identifying Household Hazardous Waste
There are four categories that household hazardous waste can fall into. These categories are always noted on the label of any hazardous product.
Flammable – Low flashpoint, ignites easily and burns rapidly. (hair spray)
Corrosive – Can cause chemical burns on skin, and the deterioration of material it contacts. (bleach)
Explosive – Contents may explode if stored at high temperature or introduced to fire. (aerosol cans)
Toxic/Poison – Harmful or deadly if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin. (pesticides)
A quick inventory of the contents in your home will undoubtedly yield multiple examples of household hazardous waste. It is important that you not only dispose of these items correctly, but that you also keep them stored securely to prevent accidents.
How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste is not the same thing as solid waste, and cannot be disposed of the same way. Solid waste refers to regular household trash that is disposed of in a trash can or dumpster. The disposal of hazardous waste is much more tightly restricted.
In Virginia, the hazardous waste disposal services offered differs from county to county. Some counties hire private companies to manage their waste and have the means to accept some forms of hazardous waste, like oil-based and latex-based paint. Other counties manage their solid waste independently, and have no means to dispose of hazardous waste, except on one or two designated days throughout the year.
Knowing how your county handles hazardous waste is really important, especially if your county only accepts this kind of waste a few days a year. Below you’ll find hazardous waste collection information for some of the counties in our service area.
Hazardous Waste Collection by County
Rockingham county hazardous material day: October 21, 2017
Augusta County: 09/16/2017 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM (already passed)
Already passed, but always accepting latex and oil paints
Page county hazardous material day: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Battle Creek Landfill
Does not offer this service
Does not offer this service
Automotive Fluid Disposal
If you have automotive fluids, such as motor oil, most automotive parts stores (ie; Autozone) accept and properly dispose of used motor oil. Call your local auto parts store to verify.
Hopefully this article has helped you identify household hazardous waste, and ways to dispose of it safely. If you found the article helpful, please do us a favor and share it with your friends.