Where to dispose of chemicals?



The Department of Environment and Conservation NSW is working with local councils to provide drop-off events for old or leftover chemicals found around the home.

Household quantities of the following chemicals are accepted:

  • Paint & paint related products
  • Pesticides, herbicides and poisons
  • Solvents and household cleaners
  • Motor oils, fuels and fluids
  • Batteries
  • Gas bottles & fire extinguishers
  • Pool chemicals
  • Acids and alkalis
  • Hobby chemicals
  • Fluorescent tubes

To find the date and the location of your closest collection:
Visit: The CleanOut Website or call CleanOut on 13 15 55.

Community Recycling Centres

Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) are permanent drop-off centres for common household problem wastes that can’t be collected via council kerbside waste and recycling collection services. NSW householders can drop off problem wastes at these centres year round, free of charge.

Items accepted at CRCs:

  • Paint
  • Gas bottles
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Motor oils
  • Other oils
  • Car batteries
  • Household batteries
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fluoro globes and tubes

Visit the NSW EPA’s Community Recycling Centres page for more information and locations.

Waste and chemical disposal

‘Waste’ is made up of general waste, such as household waste, and regulated waste which requires a higher level of management to prevent harm to the environment or human health.

We are working with industry and the community to develop a new, industry-led waste strategy. The review of the current strategy is driven by the repeal of the industry waste levy.

If you suspect someone of conducting unlicensed waste transport, storage, disposal or recycling activities please contact the Community Response Pollution Hotline on 1300 130 372, or email [email protected] with as much of the following information as possible:

  • name of alleged offender or business name
  • contact details of alleged offender (phone, email, website, number plate)
  • location of suspected illegal waste activity
  • type of suspected illegal waste activity
  • your contact details (phone, name, email).

Reports can be made anonymously.

Disposing of chemicals and containers

When disposing of chemicals and containers:

  • check the label for advice on disposal of chemicals or containers
  • triple rinse empty containers to remove all traces of the chemical
  • uncap, puncture and crush all rinsed containers—do not burn them
  • ask your local government authority about collection requirements.

The chosen disposal site should:

  • have a depth between 50cm and 1m
  • be located to avoid contaminating homes, underground water, surface water, crops or livestock
  • be level, preferably with a clay liner and have lime spread across the bottom
  • have a heavy duty plastic pit liner where there is risk that chemicals may leak

Drums, other packages and containers marked ‘returnable’ should be returned to the supplier.

DrumMuster provides more information about drum disposal.

Find out more about:

  • management of regulated wastes—guidelines and information sheets about disposal
  • environmentally relevant activities (ERAs)—waste disposal and recovery ERAs
  • Waste transport certificates—for waste handling businesses.

Relation information

  • Penalty infringement notices—fines may be issued for illegal dumping of waste
  • Littering and illegal dumping

How to Dispose of Chemicals Safely

You don’t need us to tell you of the importance of appropriate safety measures in a laboratory, and when dealing with chemicals that are harmful to both your own health and the wider environment, they need to be treated and disposed of in the appropriate manner.

In this article, we’ll explore the correct way to dispose of chemicals, the different categories of hazardous waste, identifying and reducing potential fire hazards, and the importance of risk assessment.

Quick Navigation

  • Categories of hazardous waste
  • Methods of Disposal
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations
  • Potential Fire Hazards
  • Risk Assessment

Categories of hazardous waste

There are many different types of hazardous waste. Some categories have their own subcategories of waste, while other types might fall into certain hazardous waste categories because they display specific characteristics (such as ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity). Additionally, some chemical products can be hazardous after they’ve been disposed of.

Listed Wastes

These can be identified in a series of different lists.

  • F-List

Wastes created as a result of common manufacturing and industrial processes, known as ‘non-specific source waste’ due to their production in multiple industries.

  • K-List

Wastes created from specific industries such as petroleum refining or pesticide manufacturing, also known as ‘source-specific wastes’.

  • Pi-List and U-List

Wastes created by commercial chemical products being discarded in their unused form which become hazardous when thrown away.

Characterised Waste

These comprise waste materials which meet one or more of the characteristics of hazardous waste.

  • Ignitability

Can the waste create fire in certain conditions, is it spontaneously combustible, or have a flash point less than 60°C?

  • Corrosivity

Can it corrode metallic containers? If the pH level is 2 and under or 12.5 and above, then it should be considered hazardous.

  • Reactivity

Unstable materials that can cause explosions, toxic fumes, gases or vapours when heated, compressed or mixed with water.

  • Toxicity

When certain materials are disposed of, the toxicity can be absorbed into the ground, contaminating water as a result.

Universal Waste

Waste caused by household items, such as batteries, lamps and equipment containing mercury.

Mixed Waste

Waste that contains both radioactive and hazardous components, generated by medical, pharmaceutical, nuclear and other energy industries.

Methods of Disposal

The improper disposal of chemicals is forbidden by law, so it’s important to adhere to correct procedures as strictly as possible.

It may be a case that you need to wash chemicals down the drain with plenty of water. This can apply to the following:

  • Concentrated and diluted acids and alkalis
  • Harmless soluble inorganic salts
  • Alcohols containing salts
  • Hypochlorite solutions
  • Fine silica and alumina

Any material appearing on the Red List should, under no circumstances, be washed down a drain.

The following materials should be disposed of via incineration:

  • All organic solvents
  • Soluble organic waste
  • Paraffin and mineral oil

Controlled waste – waste that’s suitable for refuse collection from the local authority – can, for the most part, be placed in your everyday waste bin. However, your lab must also have a container for certain other items, such as broken glassware, sharp objects and dirty samples or other items contaminated with chemicals.

Hazardous waste regulations

Ensure you understand the properties of hazardous waste. If you are involved in producing, transporting or receiving hazardous waste then you are responsible for it as outlined by Hazardous Waste Regulations.

Potential Fire Hazards

In a lab environment, potential fire hazards can be numerous, so it’s important to treat and handle combustibles in the appropriate manner. Consider limiting superfluous materials in the lab, and where you can, keep these materials from heat sources and store them at least 18 inches below the ceiling.

Ensure these items are appropriately labelled and stored in the correct cabinets. Do not allow them to be kept on benches or on incorrect shelving, and when pouring such liquids with a low flash point from a large container, ground the container to minimise the development of static charge.

Risk Assessment

When using chemicals at work, you are required by law to control their usage by assessing the risks, therefore implementing and maintaining effective control measures. These measures must be specified in writing and fully implemented to prevent accidents in the workplace.

Consider when spills or splashes are likely to occur, when substances might be inhaled, swallowed or absorbed by the skin, and how likely is the potential occurrence of exposure.

Staying safe in a laboratory is of the utmost importance to us. Looking to optimise your environment? For more information about our bespoke fitted labs, visit our homepage or call our team on 01223 894 833.

Dispose of Toxic Household Chemicals, Safely

So, you’re on board with detoxing your home and doing some green cleaning in your home; that’s great! You’re using baking soda for almost everything and have assembled a green cleaning kit to tackle all the dirt, dust, grime and goop in your home. But what do you do with all the old leftover toxic cleaners and chemicals?

1. Read the label: The Center for Disease Control recommends checking with the manufacturers’ instructions for disposal, which can sometimes be found on the label; if not, check with their website for more info.


2. Don’t use ’em up: Household cleaners and chemicals that contain things like ammonia and bleach are dangerous, detrimental to your indoor air quality and bad for anyone who comes in contact with them. So, in this case, it’s best to replace them, straight up, with healthier, safer options right away.3. Don’t pour ’em down the drain: Different locales have different rules on this-some places let you dispose of a small amount flushed with lots and lots of water-but, generally, it’s best not to head for the drain or toilet (especially if you’re on a septic tank system). No matter what, though, you should avoid the sewer, drainage ditches and anywhere else outdoors at all costs.

4. Let your fingers do some walking: To learn what the rules are in your neck of the woods, do a little searching with Earth911.org. Many states and cities have regular collection days or local collection sites that can take the toxics off your hands and dispose of them safely. For example, in the Los Angeles area, check out the S.A.F.E Permanent Collection Centers (that’s Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics); San Franciscans can check in with the San Francisco Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Facility. If you’re in Chicago, use the City of Chicago Permanent Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility, and residents of New York should head to Special Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Sites. Thanks to Apartment Therapy for finding these!

There are many more state-level and regional resources (too many to list here) from Washington state to Washington, DC, so use the power of the internet for use and find one near you.

5. Toss ’em, with care: As a very last resort, if the above options fail, some hazardous waste is accepted at landfills, after getting some special treatment. And, again, please check with your local municipality and ensure you follow their rules for disposal; the nasty stuff you’re getting rid of isn’t good for anyone or anything, and it’ll be in the landfill for a long time.

Of course, once you’ve fully made the switch to non-toxic alternatives-and that goes for cleaners, but for other home-related products like paint, which you can even make yourself-you won’t have to worry about any of this anymore. Until then, please take proper care to see that the chemicals safely end up where they belong. Get more info from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Difficulty level: Easy

Public Health

Dispose of your household chemicals responsibly and recycle your old computers by dropping them off at the City’s permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street (two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street).
When thrown out with our garbage, household chemicals and computers, which often contain hazardous substances, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can contaminate our air, soil and water. Through proper disposal methods or recycling, these hazardous substances are reprocessed and reused in an environmentally-responsible manner.
The Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility accepts a range of items, including household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computers and related equipment to name a few. It does NOT accept business/commercial sector wastes, explosives, fireworks or latex paint. Please review the full list of items in both categories before you visit.

During business hours, an attendant is outside, ready to help unload your vehicle and accept your materials. Materials should not be left outside the facility unattended. Therefore, please do not drop off any items outside of scheduled business hours:

Tuesdays 7 am – 12 pm

Thursdays 2 pm – 7 pm

The first Saturday of every month 8 am – 3 pm

  • What happens to items taken to the HCCRF
  • View a complete list of accepted/not accepted materials
  • About the HCCRF

Each person in Pennsylvania produces an average of four pounds of household hazardous waste each year. That’s about 25,000 tons/yr statewide.

But what is Household Hazardous Waste you ask? The DEP defines household hazardous waste as “those wastes produced in our households that are hazardous in nature, but are not regulated as hazardous waste, under federal and state laws.”

Improper and unlawful disposal of household hazardous waste can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or putting them out with the trash. The improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.

For more information regarding household hazardous waste, visit the PADEP website.

At ECS&R, we provide several household hazardous waste recycling options, listed below:

Recycling Collection Events: In partnership with 90+ municipalities across Pennsylvania, ECS&R organizes and manages recycling collection events for both residents and businesses. Register now for an event near you!!

Recycling Center Drop Off Locations: We accept household hazardous waste recycling drop offs at three major recycling centers- Erie, Cochranton, Eastern Pittsburgh and Butler (Evans City).

Point, Pack and Pick Up Service: We will come to your home and collect your old household hazardous waste for a small fee (calculated based on distance from our recycling centers).

Household Hazardous Waste Includes:

    • Oil Based/Latex Paint
    • Flammable Liquids
    • Stains/Finishes
    • Fertilizers
    • Pool Chemicals
    • Antifreeze/Oil Putties
    • Glues, Adhesives
    • Wood/Metal Cleaning and Finishing Products
    • Water Sealers
  • Household cleaning agents
  • Aerosols
  • Gasolines/Kerosene/Fuel
  • Paint Stripper
  • Propane Tanks/Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Waste Oil/Motor Oil
  • Fuel Additives
  • Transmission/Brake/Starter Fluid
  • Degreasers
  • Car Wax and Polishes
  • Bleach
  • Lye
  • Indoor Pesticides
  • Flea Repellents/Shampoo
  • Bug Sprays
  • Strychnine
  • Mouse/Rat Poison
  • Driveway Sealer

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