Correct disposal of household hazardous waste is vital in ensuring a healthy home for our families. Looking beyond our own homes and communities, however, proper management of household hazardous waste also helps preserve the overall quality of our groundwater, lakes, and streams - all of which affect not just human health but also of our environment and wildlife.

This is why any hazardous household waste that our homes produce should never be:

  • irresponsibly thrown and mixed in with non-hazardous waste in the trash or recycling bin
  • carelessly dumped into the storm sewer, drains, or even flushed down the toilet

This guide will help you understand what hazardous household waste is, how to correctly dispose of it, and other important tips that will also help you and your family reduce these types of hazardous wastes.

What Is Household Hazardous Waste?

Per recent statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA, more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste are produced each year by the average American household. If you do some quick math - since there are an estimated 126 million households in the US, then that equates to a total of 1,260,000 tons of household hazardous waste. That is a lot of toxic waste produced from home.

But when is household waste considered “hazardous”? According to the EPA, household hazardous wastes are “leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic…”

You may not immediately realize that these types of toxic wastes are present in your own home. But, if you take a careful look around what’s under the kitchen sink or random things you’ve stashed in the basement or attic, you’ll probably find cans of paint, half-empty bug repellent, or perhaps used motor oil. These are just some of the most common types of hazardous household waste that you will need to dispose of properly.

Here we’ve gathered a list of the most common types of household hazardous waste:

  • Automotive products such as motor oil and fluids, gasoline, oil filters, gasoline, and waxes.
  • Electronics and small appliances such as laptops, desktop computers, printers, cell phones, fax machines, MP3/DVD/CD/cassette players.
  • Batteries that include vehicle and home batteries.
  • Fluorescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps.
  • Paints that include latex and spray paints, oil-based paints, and wood preservative and stain.
  • Pest and garden materials such as fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides.
  • Cleaners that include rust remover, carpet cleaner, shower or tile cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner.
  • Sharp materials such as syringes and needles.
  • Devices that contained mercury such as thermometer and thermostats.
  • Chemicals used in swimming pools.

Changes in Household Hazardous Waste

With the ever-evolving state of consumerism of the country, Americans’ product preference and usage have also changed drastically. And this is reflected in the demand from waste companies to look for new ways of recycling and hazardous household waste disposal.

In recent years, Americans tend to look for products that are both cost-efficient and technologically advanced. An appropriate example of this is the increase in the demand and consumption of LED lights. As a result, there is a rise in the volume of traditional fluorescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lights being disposed of and collected by waste companies.

While the volume of other household hazardous waste products is being maintained each year, we also see a surge in the volume of fluorescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lights being disposed of. This results in an overall increase in the production of household hazardous wastes. Products used for cleaning, paints, and electronics are still considered as top household hazardous waste in recent years.

Hazardous Waste vs. Universal Waste

The EPA defines hazardous waste as any discard that has unsafe components that can cause damage to human health and the environment. It can be generated from different sectors of society; from manufacturing wastes to residential wastes. Hazardous wastes also come in several forms - solid, gas, liquid, and silt.

There are hazardous wastes that are considered to be a universal waste. They fall into this category because these wastes are not exclusively generated by a single sector of society.  Under the federal universal waste regulations which can be seen in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations in part 273, universal waste can be categorized into four types:

  • Batteries
  • Pesticides
  • Equipment that contains Mercury
  • Lamps

After passing the Universal Waste Law in February 2006, residents and owners of small businesses can no longer dispose of by themselves any waste under the universal waste category (i.e. common batteries, products containing mercury, devices with a cathode-ray tube, and equipment that contain other heavy metal).

Safe Management of Household Hazardous Waste

The inappropriate disposal of these household hazardous waste includes pouring liquid hazardous wastes on the sink, down the drain, or on the ground, and throwing solid hazardous wastes in the regular trash bins. These are obviously the improper method of disposal and may result in environmental pollution and damaging human health.

These are some quick and helpful ways on how to safely handle household hazardous wastes:

  • Follow the instructions provided on the product labels for its proper use and storage to avoid untoward accidents at home.
  • Once the need to dispose of household hazardous wastes arises, make sure to read the product labels for directions of its accurate disposal to decrease the danger of the products blowing up, leaking, and mixing in with other hazardous components.
  • Do not store products that contain harmful ingredients in a usual food container. Always put them in their original containers with product labels intact. Special handling is needed for products that have corroding containers.
  • When you have different product leftovers, keep them separate and never combine various household hazardous waste. Combining different products may cause harmful reactions due to their incompatibility.
  • It is imperative not to disregard empty containers of household products with hazardous waste as chemical residues may still be present and inappropriate handling and disposal may result in unfortunate incidents.
  • For more information regarding household hazardous waste management, it is best to contact your local environmental, health, and solid waste agency.

Reducing Household Hazardous Waste

To decrease the need to dispose of household hazardous waste, one can opt for environmentally-friendly products that use natural ingredients when shopping for household tools and essentials. There are also DIY recipes found online for common household products such as cleaners, detergents for laundry, dish soaps, pest control, and bug sprays that you can consider as projects to decrease hazardous waste generation in your household.

Listed below are some more ideas to take to reduce hazardous wastes home.

  • To clean your drain, one can use a plunger of a plumber’s snake.
  • Combine a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and a quart of water to make a glass cleaner. Just spray it on any glass surface and wipe it dry using a newspaper.
  • To polish any furniture, combine a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pint of vegetable oil or other mineral oil. Wipe the liquid combination unto the furniture’s surface.
  • Sprinkle baking soda to your carpets (make sure to apply a generous amount), this should act as a rug deodorizer. Leave it for at least 15 minutes then vacuum the carpet. Repeat the process if needed.
  • To polish your silverware, prepare a shallow pan and fill it with water; 2 to 3 inches of water with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and an aluminum foil sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Put in the silverware, make certain that all are soaked with the water mixture, and boil it for about 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful as you handle the silverware after boiling. Take them out of the mixture and wipe dry. If needed, repeat the process to completely polish your silver
  • To replace the mothballs that you store together with your clothing and other materials easily damaged by molds, use natural oils coming from cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mints, or white peppercorns.

In order to assist consumers and businesses reduce hazardous waste, the EPA also came up with a yearly list of products that have ingredients tested to be safer for the environment and human health.

Household Hazardous Waste Regulations

In the United States, household hazardous wastes are not regulated by the EPA. Most states and their local solid waste management agencies have organized and funded collection programs for the safe and proper hazardous household waste disposal.

Common hazardous waste products in the United States are regulated under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA. However, the U.S. Congress has granted exclusions for household waste under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 261.4. In this regulation, the wastes produced by doing normal household activities are exempted from the definition of hazardous waste. The exclusion may be granted if two criteria are satisfied;

  • The individuals producing the waste materials are on the premises of a temporary or permanent residence,
  • The components found on the stream of waste must be waste generally produced by household dwellers.

This exclusion includes areas in bunkhouses, picnic grounds, range stations, crew quarters, and areas for day-use recreational activities as per EPA’s interpretation.

Again, the hazardous wastes produced by households are under the state and local level regulations and not by EPA. That is why if you have any specific questions regarding the collection of any hazardous household waste, it’s best to contact your local waste disposal facility for more accurate information.

Where Can I Drop Off My Household Hazardous Waste?

It has been established that household hazardous wastes should be disposed of properly. It should not be put down the drain, on the ground, flushed in the toilet or sewers, and be casually thrown in the trash bins as it may cause potential damage to human health and the environment.

In most states, improper household hazardous waste disposal is illegal. Disposal of such waste must be done through Household Hazardous Waste Programs. You can contact your local authorities for more information regarding your locality’s handling of household hazardous waste.

The payment for disposing or recycling anything will depend on the waste you are trying to get rid of and the place where you live. You can also look for the nearest household hazardous waste collection facility in your area by going to this site.

COVID-19 Drop HHW Drop Off Tips

Due to the health risks brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, many household hazardous waste disposal facilities are taking extra steps to ensure not just the safety of its staff but also that of yours and your family.

These are the suggested rules to follow as you drop off your household hazardous waste in most facilities:

  • Stay inside your vehicle. However, make sure that items that need to be disposed of should be stored in appropriate containers and be placed in the unlocked trunk of the vehicle or in the space at the back cargo.
  • All individuals coming into the facilities should wear masks.
  • Be ready with any documents that the facility staff can use to identify you.

Make sure to contact your local household hazardous waste disposal facility for their operating hours as it may be affected with Covid-19 related restrictions, as well as for other instructions specified in each state facility.


Knowing the things that you are consuming is as important as having the information on the waste products that your household is producing. There are household wastes that are dangerous for the environment and human health. It can cause leaking, explosion, and other risky incidents. That is why, household hazardous wastes need to be properly used, stored, and disposed of. It is important to read labels for appropriate instructions on handling them. If the need to dispose of them arises, there are local facilities that have the capacity for proper household hazardous waste disposal.

Moreover, there are some ways to reduce the usage of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Consumers can opt to buy products that contain natural ingredients that are environmentally-friendly. You can also create your own natural products to be used in your households. In this way, you know what goes in your household which goes a long way in helping the environment.

One thing that most homes have in common is the accumulation of household hazardous waste - you’re bound to have cans of old paint, old batteries, tins of gasoline, and other such items in your home that are simply not possible to throw away with your regular household trash.

Normally, the reason why these types of wastes accumulate in your home is that disposing of them is not that straightforward. You may not be entirely sure whether you need to call a hazardous waste collection company or, in another scenario, you may not be fully aware if some of these are recyclable or reusable.

So, what’s the best method of disposing of household hazardous waste? When do you need to drop off at a hazardous waste collection site? Can you just leave these at the curb? When do you recycle? We answer these questions by providing 14 practical methods in properly disposing of your household hazardous waste.

Quick Definition of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

The term “hazardous waste” refers to any waste that poses any major or possible threats to public health or the local environment and therefore, requires special care during its disposal.

According to the EPA, HHW must show one or more of the following features:


This refers to the corrosive characteristics of substances found in certain household wastes. Common items found in your home that are corrosive are any industrial-strength cleaners that contain strong acids such as hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid. Car batteries which are usually lead batteries, also contain sulfuric acid which makes them corrosive.


This refers to the flammable characteristic of substances found in certain household wastes. Common items found in homes that are combustible or ignitable are gasoline, oxidizers, and propane tanks.


Any wastes that are potentially combustible when mixed together with other substances or exposed to extreme temperatures are considered reactive. A common example is filled or partially-filled aerosol cans that, when exposed to high temperatures, may cause an explosion.


Any wastes that contain toxic materials that when inhaled or consumed can have serious, or potentially deadly,  health consequences. If exposed to any toxic materials, you are to call for medical aid immediately.

Examples of common HHW found in homes include:

  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Automotive wastes
  • Electronics (e-waste)
  • Paints (oil-based, latex, etc.)
  • Pesticides

One of the best ways to determine if a product is hazardous and requires special disposal methods is to check the label. If it has any of the common hazardous waste symbols like “flammable”, “toxic” or “gas under pressure” then extra care must be taken during its disposal.

Now that you have a general idea of what hazardous waste is, now we can talk about how and what you need to know about its disposal. But before we delve into the specifics, here’s one important tip that you must first remember:

Research your county’s specific waste management laws.

Each county has different sets of waste disposal regulations that are either governed at a state or federal level. All of these laws must be adhered to so that you can avoid hefty fines, penalties, or other legal sanctions.

So, asking a family member who lives in another county (or an entirely different state, for that matter) for advice on how to dispose of latex paint, for example, isn’t recommended because their local waste disposal laws may differ from yours. Their local laws may allow them to just include latex paint in their trash bin or leave it at the curb for pick up but yours might not.

We recommend for you to do a quick search for your area specifically by doing any of the following:

  • Searching online - how to dispose of hazardous waste in (insert your county or city)
  • Calling your closest hazardous waste collection facility. A quick search online should bring up a hazardous waste collection site near you.
  • Contacting the experts. You can always reach out to us. Our qualified waste management professionals will help you with all your questions. You can also request a free household hazardous waste services quote.

14 Methods for Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Method 1: Dispose of your household hazardous waste in regular garbage if allowed by your local laws.

The caveat is there are certain situations when this is allowed and some situations where this isn’t. For example, while aerosol sprays are considered hazardous wastes, many areas typically allow people to toss empty cans into the garbage.

However, If you want to empty the aerosol can before throwing it away, you should take this step very carefully. There are specific steps and regulations for recycling aerosol cans. You can find them here.

One key issue about whether HHW can be tossed in with your household trash is how much you have. For example, if you have several smoke detectors, then tossing numerous units of ionizing smoke detectors into the garbage can be dangerous to human health.

In summary:

  • First, have a careful look at your own HHW.
  • Make a list of what you have and how much you have.
  • Research your local laws/contact your local waste management facility to know about proper disposal and if possible to include your HHW in regular garbage.
  • If allowed, follow proper storage procedures, as well.
  • If not allowed, learn about how these can be disposed of or collected safely per your laws. Follow these to the letter to avoid any legal consequences.

Method 2: Looking to dispose of asbestos? Get the help of waste management contractors ASAP.

In situations like asbestos, the removal of the substance could itself be dangerous. This helps to explain why many hazardous waste collection centers don’t accept such items. It’s better to contact an asbestos contractor since they’ll have the know-how to remove the asbestos product then dispose of it properly.

Other than asbestos removal, there are few situations where a contractor is required to go on the field to remove household hazardous waste from private residences.

But if you do have large quantities of unknown or expired chemicals in your home that require removal, always ensure that you contact professionals for safety and compliance. You can request a free household hazardous waste removal quote from ACTenviro here.

Method 3: Where, possible - RECYCLE!

This method is part of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. When you recycle hazardous waste like smartphone batteries and other electronics parts, this can benefit the Earth’s environment since handset makers can reuse them for new smartphones, tablets, and fitness trackers.

Meanwhile, used car oil can also be saved and recycled. While 75% of the USA’s waste could be recycled, less than one-third actually goes through this process, according to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Batteries are one of the most popular items to recycle. This includes ones like lead-acid batteries. In fact, it’s very important to dispose of these batteries and others because state laws sometimes require them to be recycled or taken to a hazardous waste facility.

Did you also know that you can also recycle chemicals like mercury? It’s important to make sure you store mercury carefully in an air-tight container. Some common examples include mercury thermostats.

Various states even offer free recycling of electronics waste. It’s important to visit your state’s homepage about this issue to learn more.

Finally, another issue is where you take HHW to be recycled. The easiest way to find out is to go online. Here are 2 suggestions:

  • Go to the Earth 911 website and use their search tool:
    When you’re on the page, you’ll simply need to key in what type of waste you’re looking to recycle and your zip code. Once you hit the search button, it will give you the information you need.
  • Another resource is Green Citizen’s Green Directory:
    It works the same way as Earth 911 however, they also offer a search tool to help you find a recycling center closest to you. Just key in a location range e.g. 10 miles from your zip code and it will come up with full details including address and phone number.

Method 4: If you can - REUSE!

This isn’t technically a way to dispose of HHW but is an alternative and more eco-friendly option since it reduces the carbon footprint. For example, one option is to reuse solvents with paint thinners. You can do this by closing the container fully then letting the paint settle to the container’s bottom. You can then reuse the solvent on the top. Next, let the sludge dry out then discard it.

Another simple way to reuse components of hazardous waste is to reuse the containers it comes in. For example, completely dried-out paint cans can be repainted to reuse as “pots” for plants.

Method 5: Share or donate your waste.

This is an effective way to prevent wastes like paint, fertilizers, auto oil, or acids/bases. If you have extra amounts of these substances, then consider giving them away to people who can use them.

Common suggestions include:

  • Schools
  • Homeless shelters
  • Community centers
  • Local businesses
  • Churches

Method 6: Diluting instead of disposing

This method should be done carefully and should be done following specific guidelines. When followed correctly, dilution is a great way to “expand” the usage of your hazardous waste by either diluting them with the same material or diluting with water while safely storing the excess for future use.

Common HHW items that can be diluted are:

1. Gasoline

  • Dilute one part old gasoline to 5 parts new gasoline.
  • Store in a tightly-closed container.
  • Label properly.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures, pets, or children.

2. Antifreeze

  • Prepare a clean, one-gallon container. Make sure it has a tight, secure seal.
  • Pour half of the gallon of antifreeze into the one-gallon container.
  • Fill half-filled gallons of antifreeze with distilled water. The container should now have 50% antifreeze and 50% distilled water.
  • Close the lids of each gallon securely - the leftover gallon of antifreeze and the diluted antifreeze.
  • Store excess antifreeze in a safe place away from children or pets.

If you live in an area with colder climates, use a higher percentage of antifreeze to protect against extremely low temperatures e.g. 70% antifreeze to 30% distilled water in a one-gallon container.


  • Make sure to never use this method if your wastewater goes to a cesspool or septic tank. The reason is it would affect these systems and damage groundwater. Make sure to only dilute antifreeze this way if your home is connected to a sewer.
  • Make sure to never mix different types of chemicals as these can cause serious consequences.

Method 7: Check the schedule for your local Traveling Wastemobile

As the name suggests, this mobile HHW collection service travels to different regions in a city, town, or county. The main benefit is the collection vehicle goes to residents instead of them traveling to collection sites, for example.

Wastemobiles maintain different operating schedules. Some travel around the city during the same few days of the week, while others operate nearly every day except national holidays like New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Wastemobiles typically accept many of the same items as HHW collection centers including:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammonia
  • Antifreeze
  • Automotive fluids/oils
  • Batteries
  • Bleach
  • Charcoal
  • Cleaners (all-purpose, drain, etc.)
  • Cold packs
  • Disinfectants
  • Fertilizer (with pesticides/herbicides)

Meanwhile, items that aren’t accepted typically include:

  • Ammunition
  • Asbestos
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Cooking fat/grease
  • Electronics (e-waste)
  • Explosives
  • Halogen light bulbs
  • Medicine
  • Paint (latex)
  • Sharps/needles/syringes
  • Tires

To find updated Wastemobile schedules, just head over to your county’s website or search Google: “Wastemobile schedule (your county)”

Method 8: Check and see what your local station accepts.

Gas stations can sometimes accept multiple types of automotive waste like brake fluid, transmission fluid, and diesel fuel. However, when taking your auto waste to such facilities, make sure you don’t mix the products with motor oil since this could cause a dangerous situation.

Method 9: If possible, store HHW for later use or disposal.

This involves simply holding on to various hazardous waste until it can be disposed of or used later. For example, let’s say your home has some extra mothballs. These items are toxic /flammable, so you should definitely use them up if you can.

If it’s time to dispose of them, simply store the mothballs in a safe place until a local HHW program can collect them through drop-off centers, collection events, etc.

Another great HHW item to store for later use is paint. Paints are tricky to dispose of as various areas often have different paint disposal regulations. However, as long as it’s stored and sealed properly, paint can last up to 10 years. Keeping them about is handy for touch-ups and DIY projects.

You may also not think of used cooking oil as a type of HHW but it actually is. When disposed of improperly, these can clog sewers and storm drains and can cause disastrous consequences. Simply storing them for future use (even if it’s just a few days) or using it as material for making soap or mixing used vegetable oil in compost are great ways to give “new life” to HHW and help the environment, as well.

Method 10: Check and see if your local pharmacy has a designated drop box for used sharps.

Sharps are classified hazardous and are usually categorized under Regulated Medical Waste but these aren’t just generated by hospitals. Some households also generate waste sharps especially if there is someone in the home that requires medical care like insulin shots or other types of medication.

Several drug stores contain disposal boxes where it’s safe to deposit used syringes. Other drop boxes may be found at doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, hospitals, etc. These are sometimes free but sometimes, fees may apply.

Caution: Always make sure you’re knowledgeable about the sharps disposal laws in your local area before disposal or drop off. Special, puncture-resistant containers are needed for storage before these can be deposited or disposed of. The US FDA provides the correct outlines for the correct storage and disposal of sharps/needles here.

Method 11: Know how to properly dispose of unused medication.

For unused prescription drugs, you should always head over to designated drop-off centers for disposal. Never flush them down the toilet or toss them into the garbage can. The US FDA outlines the correct disposal of unused medicines here.

Method 12: If allowed, directly drop off your HHW at your local landfill.

You can sometimes drop off HHW at municipal landfills operated by your town, city, or county. Make sure to find out what hazardous waste materials are acceptable/unacceptable.

Landfills are often connected with in-house collection centers for HHW, e-waste, business waste, etc. Recycling centers are another kind of collection site that is often available at landfills.

When possible, you should try to prevent waste from ending up in landfills. If the landfill isn’t managed properly, the waste can seep into the soil and then into the groundwater. You can minimize how much waste ends up in landfills by taking steps like recycling.

Method 13: Drop Off Your HHW At Designated Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites

This is a general method of hazardous waste disposal. There are various methods, including drop-off days during the week, collection events, and Wastemobile pick-ups.

A local city, town, or county can provide information regarding this HHW-processing method. Sometimes municipal landfills operate HHW collection sites that accept various HHW, including fluorescent light bulbs, oil-based paints, electronics waste (e-waste), etc.

When dropping off HHW at collection sites, it’s important to follow particular guidelines the center has set including:

  • Don’t mix/blend products
  • Cover/Tie down load
  • Stay in the vehicle while unloading at the site
  • Label unmarked products
  • Secure products to avoid tipping/leaking
  • Keep products in original containers

Look for specific guidelines by having a look at your local area’s official website. It should have the information you need.

Method 14: Use it all up!

This last method is simple - it’s about using the item yourself instead of sharing it with friends or family. There are various products you can apply this process to like personal care products.

Furthermore, there are also different ways you can consume leftover substances. For example, if you have some leftover paint, you could use it up on small projects. This will eliminate the amount of hazardous waste you produce.

When an item is all used up and the container’s empty - it’s usually a lot easier to dispose of, in the first place.

Quick tips to help you use up all items that contain hazardous materials in your home include:

  • Correctly calculating just how much you need. For example, before taking on a DIY painting project, calculate the exact amount of paint you need by using a paint calculator found online. You can also just ask the store where you’re buying from. The attendants at Home Depot or Lowe’s would be able to give you an estimate as long as you have the measurements/dimensions of what you’re painting. You can also avail of free estimates online or free consultations.
  • Buy it only if you need it. It’s tempting to buy bottles upon bottles of drain clears or cans of Lysol, for example, especially in this time of living in a global pandemic but not only are you preventing another family to purchase their own share of products, but you’re also hoarding HHW in your own home. This will make it a challenge to store and dispose of.


There’s no question that hazardous waste has become worldwide public health and environmental issue. So it’s critical to always determine issues like what you’re disposing of, how much of it you’re disposing of, and how to store, treat, and transport the substances.

In most situations, the best method of disposing of household hazardous waste is an HHW collection facility. They have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to make sure it’s disposed of properly. On the other hand, sometimes there are better alternatives such as recycling, donating, or simply using up the product.

When in doubt, contact ACTenviro. Our expert team is knowledgeable about the intricacies of hazardous waste disposal. Get in touch with us today.

Household hazardous waste (HHW), sometimes called retail hazardous waste, should be taken to an appropriate waste collection center near you. As they have great potential for environmental danger and bodily harm, hazardous wastes from your home should never be thrown in the regular trash collection and recycle bin.

It’s also not safe when strong household chemicals are flushed down the toilet, poured down the drain, or even disposed of in the sewer. ACTenviro offers you a reliable, convenient, and compliant way to get these items out of  your house:

  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Fertilizers
  • Gasoline
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • Cleaning and polishing fluids
  • Metal cleaners
  • Paint thinners
  • Aerosol paint cans
  • Latex and oil paints
  • Sealants, caulks and adhesives
  • Animal baits and traps
  • Lacquers and varnishes
  • Photo developers
  • Mineral spirits
  • Drain cleaners
  • Battery acid
  • Automotive parts cleaner
  • Wax
  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Mercury products
  • And other dangerous household products

While the above-listed items seem trivial as they’re used in everyday settings, they become potentially hazardous substances with improper disposal; they can pollute water systems, contaminate food sources, and even endanger unsuspecting lives.

As a responsible homeowner, it is important that you monitor the usage, storage, and proper disposal of your home-generated consumer wastes.

ACTenviro household hazardous waste disposal can get you and your family out of harm’s way through their various services.

Bulk Solid Disposal for condominiums and apartments that routinely generate bulk solid wastes. You can book ACTenviro services and they will schedule your regular household waste collections from their different branches across the western United States. Household hazardous wastes such as asbestos-containing materials (ACM), contaminated soil, construction debris, filter cakes, and recyclable metals can be loaded into their specialized roll-off boxes that they deliver to your home. You can schedule a pickup at your own convenience.

ACTenviro Transportation and Disposal of household chemical wastes. This service is the cornerstone of the company as a waste management broker, and they guarantee the safe mobilization of hazardous by-products from your home to the disposal facility. ACTenviro is one of the best agencies where you can take your dangerous home items such as flammable liquids, acids, bases, infectious materials, sharps, and electronic wastes.

ACTenviro Coronavirus Services can take care of your hazardous home wastes such as masks, gloves, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and items that might be contaminated with the deadly virus. ACTenviro’s Covid-19 response team follows strict CDC protocols in decontaminating surfaces, household hazardous waste disposal, and even disinfection.

ACTenviro Emergency Response for household hazardous waste accidents. Sometimes, even the slightest domestic mishap can unfold into something catastrophic that’s why ACTenviro’s24-hour emergency response hotline (866) 348-2800 is always ready to assist you with oil or mercury spill cleanup, infectious disease decontamination, hazardous material disposal, and even disaster response.

ACTenviro Recycling for hazardous household wastes can turn your old paints, used solvents, dead batteries, broken electronics, shattered glass, used oil, and universal wastes (mercury or fluorescent products) into a renewable resource. When you take a HHW to them, they ensure these by-products will be recycled as semiconductor components or as raw materials in manufacturing.

ACTenviro Vacuum Truck Services for the household waste that no one really likes to talk about - overflowing wastewater. ACT’s state-of-the-art vacuum service can suck out septic tanks, pump out flushed chemicals, and clean underground storage tanks.

What are the items considered as household hazardous wastes? These are your everyday things that are accepted to be disposed in most waste management agencies before being transferred to an incinerator or landfill site:

Chemicals and solvents - acetone, turpentine, paint thinner, and the likes should never be mixed with motor oil. Likewise, if you have a good amount of these liquids for disposal, do use them in tanks that used to contain automotive fluids.

Acids and Alkali - bottles of hydrochloric acid (commonly called muriatic acid) and ammonium hydroxide found in most home disinfectant solutions can be discarded when empty. However, always use separate containers for ammonia-based solutions with acids or bleach.

Aerosol spray cans and inhalers - compressed gas cartridges such as aerosol cans, spray inhalers, and gas tanks (usually holding oxygen, helium, or CO2 for patient home care) are readily accepted in most household hazardous waste management sites.

Automotive fluids - not all of these liquids are compatible. Self-service pour recycling centers of automotive fluids have precautionary guidance for liquids compatible with motor oil, anti-freeze products, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), windshield washers, and other fluids that can’t be mixed inside the recycling tanks.

How many times did you tell yourself that it’s always handy to keep a small bottle of paint for quick wall touch-ups or stock up on household cleaners only to find out that they’ve gone past their expiration dates? Now you’re faced with the task of properly disposing these toxic home byproducts.

But even if you can take your household hazardous waste to ACT, it’s a good practice to know the proper handling of the HHWs at home.

  • Always read the label on the container as it often includes instructions for use, storage, and disposal. Don’t throw away or peel off the labels to prevent mishaps.
  • Take note of products that risk igniting, exploding, corroding, or leaking when exposed to direct sunlight, mixed with other chemicals, or when disposed of inappropriately.
  • Be sure you are following all instructions and precautions on the label when transporting your household hazardous waste to a management facility or when handing it off to personnel.
  • Do not ever store dangerous chemicals inside food containers to avoid accidental ingestion.
  • If certain waste products require special handling (sharps, radioactive household wastes), call the local agency for safety instructions.
  • When you are unsure, do not mix household hazardous wastes with other HHWs. For example, don’t dispose of your old batteries (which contains sulfuric acid) with alcohol or ketones as it might potentially explode.
  • Ask assistance from your local environment, health agency, and solid waste management facility for the HHW disposal guidelines in your state. If your community has a local collection site, drop off your by-products inside a safety container.
  • Whenever possible, do not recycle empty receptacles of hazardous home wastes as they are still at risk of contaminants and chemical residues.
  • Schedule a home pick. Contact ACTenviro or a local waste management company in your locality. Having a professional to help you sort out and dispose will save you from a lot of guessing games that might end up hurting your health.
  • Find a drop-off location. A lot of private waste management facilities like ACTenviro can help you schedule a drop-off - whether in small amounts or in bulk - and they help you with the paperwork whenever needed.
  • Donate usable chemicals to charitable institutions, churches, and social organizations. You probably have a can of latex paints or cleaning bleach lying around in your shed. The best way to “dispose” of it is by putting it in good use instead of disposing it in nature.
  • Another useful tip is taking a photo of the labels before they get torn or faded. Make sure you know what ingredients they contain in case of accidental ingestion. Keep it near the emergency response team contact number and fire station.

In general, dangerous or contaminated garbage from households are excluded from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)’s regulation covering the general hazardous by-products from commercial or industrial waste generators.

To be clear, HHWs are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Instead, state regulations on local solid waste management have come together to form a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program to give residents a safer way to dispose of harmful household chemicals.

So you might be asking where can I take my household hazardous waste? As long as you are throwing away items that belong to the following criteria:

  1. Wastes generated by individuals on the premise of a permanent, temporary, or transient residence, and
  2. Waste streams primarily composed of consumer household items,

They are regulated under the state and local level as solid waste can be picked up or delivered to a waste management agency in your area.

The EPA also expanded their definition of “household waste generators” to include crew bunkhouses, employee quarters, camping sites, picnic groves, and even day-use facilities. However, household hazardous wastes should not be mixed with other trash piles.

The EPA’s comprehensive definition of “hazardous” household items in the trash is the same as the items listed above but are categorized into four:

Reactive substances - solid, liquid, or gas that is prone to explosion under high temperature or pressures.

Combustible materials - those that easily ignite or burn easily with or without an explosive reaction.

Toxic substances - can cause harm upon skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation including chemicals, pollen, and even mold-infected household items.

Corrosive substances - are usually liquid that can corrode or oxidize metals. These chemicals are found in industrial-grade cleaners that are sold in home improvement shops.

A lot of hazardous factory-grade chemicals are surprisingly found in our homes. You probably have a handful of those substances lying around the house, workshop, or pantry. This has prompted federal regulations to permit the disposal of HHW into mainstream solid waste management programs but they remain stringent in regulating it.

Some states, even in Canada, have equipped their local fire stations in accepting empty propane and helium tanks. No doubt the fire brigade would certainly know how to dispose of flammable liquids and gas containers.

The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) has a handy list of battery recycling centers in almost every state in the United States that are accredited with local environmental organizations.

Whereas the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA) publishes whitepapers, holds annual conferences, and conducts training aimed towards the proper disposal of household hazardous wastes and where to take them.

In context, however, the definition of household hazardous wastes is not just limited to the common household chemicals listed by the EPA and federal state agencies. They may also include personal care items with a high risk of contamination, sharps, and medical drugs.

What’s the Universal Waste Law of 2006 and how can it affect where I take my household hazardous wastes? A “universal waste” is garbage generated by several sectors including hospitals, factories, commercial spaces, and not just homes. Examples of universal wastes generated in a home setting include the common batteries, light bulbs, mercury-based thermostats, e-wastes, aerosol sprays.

As of February 2006, it has become illegal for homeowners to dump universal waste items in the regular garbage streams because they can’t be disposed of in landfills. Lead and mercury are toxic when absorbed in the soil and released into the air and bodies of water.

Disposing of household hazardous wastes can also be done in no-contact drop-off facilities where you have the option to stay inside your vehicle and items will be unloaded from your cargo trunk. The disposal staff will not open a passenger door or enter a vehicle. Drivers and passengers must still wear masks during hazardous household waste drop-offs.


Such everyday items like the AAA batteries inside your remote control and the brake fluid you always spill in your garage becomes hazardous in magnitude. Imagine when thousands of households toss out toxic stuff daily.

Through the years of living at your home or even when you’re about to move, you’ll soon find yourself tossing out used and half-empty chemicals, batteries, and oils of all sorts. Always remember that there is a proper way to dispose of these household hazardous wastes.

Federal and local agencies may offer free disposal for these wastes but may not be readily available at all times. Private collection agencies like ACTenviro can give you the best option in HHW drop-off or pick-up waste disposal services.

As household generated hazardous wastes come in all forms - solid, liquid, or gas - there is no one size fits all disposal method. Instead, you have to learn how to containerize it properly, label appropriately, and categorize it correctly. For example, not all liquids can go together in one canister. Batteries may also explode when in contact with chemicals.

You can always eliminate the guesswork on where you can take your household hazardous wastes through ACTenviro’s waste disposal services as they offer removal, transportation, and even sanitation work.

Steps For Safe & Effective Ways To Dispose Cooking Oil At Home (2021 Edition)

After preparing fried chicken, stir-fry, or bacon & eggs, pouring used cooking oil down the drain might seem to be the fastest and easiest solution. However, that’s the worst thing to do because grease can clog up kitchen pipes and local sewage systems. These are both situations you should avoid.

So, to help you with proper disposal, we’ve outlined the steps you can take to dispose of used cooking oil at home in a safe, effective, and eco-friendly way. We’ve also included some creative tips for you to incorporate used cooking oil in compost and in making other useful items like soap.

Remember that even the smallest amount of grease poured down the drain on a daily basis can have a cumulative and potentially harmful effect to your home and the environment.

Simple, Easy Steps for Cooking Oil Disposal

1. Store properly and then dispose along with other household waste

This is a common practice in most households since it is generally acceptable to store used cooking oil then dispose of it with the other household garbage. However, there are proper steps and points to keep in mind.

  • First make sure the used oil is cool enough to pour into another container intended for disposal.
  • Once it’s cool enough, make sure to store it in sealable, disposable containers like plastic bottles, take-out boxes or empty milk cartons.
  • Seal the containers properly and tightly.
  • Once tightly sealed, you can now include this in your food waste bin for disposal.

Additional Tips:

  • You can freeze used cooking oil if you prefer dealing with it in “solid” form rather than as liquid waste. It takes about a day to completely freeze used cooking oil.
  • Do not use plastic bags to store used cooking oil when trying to mix it in with your other household waste. Plastic bags aren’t sturdy enough and used oil may potentially leak out of the bags.

Also, just an interesting cooking oil fact:

Did you know that you can preserve cooking oil by freezing it? As long as it’s sealed tight, fresh, unused or unopened cooking oil can last up to 2 years in the freezer and about 1 year in the pantry.

2. Take used oil to restaurants for correct disposal

Do you know anyone who owns a restaurant? Or, perhaps, you live close by a restaurant? The reason why having a restaurant helps you in disposing of cooking oil is because they will have sources for hazardous waste disposal so you can be assured the waste is being disposed of properly.

3. Contact a household hazardous waste disposal company

This is a multi-beneficial option since companies that collect household hazardous waste (HHW) often collect other categories like medical waste. If they have a doorstep pick-up service, then this gives you a chance to get rid of multiple types of hazardous waste at one time. 

ACTenviro can most definitely help you with household hazardous waste disposal.Get in touch with us. We’re happy to provide you with a free quote.

4. Use a Grease Disposal System

This is actually a system kit that works as grease disposal. This system includes a plastic container with foil-lined bags that can hold a maximum of 32 ounces (2 lbs). You can choose many available options such as this The Fat Trapper Grease Disposal System sold by Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Just put a bag into the container then pour used/COOLED cooking oil into the bag. After the bag is full, seal it up and throw the bag into the garbage.

5. Add to compost

This might be surprising since it’s oil, right? Well, if you’re using 100% vegetable cooking oil, then it’s simply extracted from foods like:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Sunflower
  • Grape-seed
  • Olives
  • Coconut

So since these are all-natural foods, it’s perfectly safe to add to your regular compost pile. The exception is if you added animal fat or cooked with meat, since this could attract unwanted bugs and small animals.
Fun Fact:
Earthworms actually enjoy eating cooking oil. So, when you add some cooking oil to your compost pile, you’re benefiting the oil and creepy crawlers underneath.
There’s a caveat, though:
Try to minimize how much cooking oil you add. One reason is it might attract more critters besides worms. Another issue is it might cause a situation in which there’s too much grease and blocks air/water flow. If you want to impress your friends and family, the fancy term is "hydrophobic barriers."

6. Mix with other solid waste materials

Before you dispose of the used cooking oil, you can actually blend it with other absorbent waste materials to “convert” it into solid waste. You can then just store that properly per normal process and then include it in your daily household waste disposal

  • Sawdust
  • Sand
  • Flour
  • Cat litter

It’s easy to see that this method helps to soak up the liquid quickly.This makes a less messy situation and helps out city sanitation workers at the same time.
To make a more profound impact on our environment, you can opt to reuse or recycle cooking oil. The next section explores these options further.

Tips for Reusing Cooking Oil

1. Store in Glass Jars

This is an oldie-but-goodie option because it's a great way to store used cooking oil before reusing it for another dish. Another benefit of this option is that it also allows you to reuse old jars.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Once you’re all done with frying, you can simply leave the used cooking oil in the flying pan to cool down.
  • Once cool enough, you can now carefully transfer it to a glass container.
  • Seal the container tightly.
  • Make sure you store used cooking oil separately depending on what type of dish you were using the cooking oil with. For example, don’t mix used cooking oil from fried chicken with used cooking oil that you used for some stir-fry seafood. Common sense would tell us that these flavors won’t mix well together.
  • Once that’s done, you can safely store your glass container in your pantry or kitchen shelves.

Storing used cooking oil in glass jars is one effective way to delay how soon you dispose of/recycle the grease. You won’t be able to reuse it in an unlimited number of times, of course.  However, based on factors like what kind of food you’re cooking (meat/veggies), how much food you’re cooking, and the cooking temperatures—you can often get about 2 to 6 (tops) re-uses from the cooking oil.

Additional Tip:

To make the most out of your used cooking oil and keep it free from “impurities”, one common kitchen hack is to place  a small strainer or piece of coarse cloth on the mouth of the glass jar as you pour it. This allows you to effectively strain any bits and pieces of batter or other foodstuff.

If you’re using a strainer, always remember to wipe out any excess traces of oil before washing it in the sink to avoid having even small amounts of grease going down the drain.

Now, it might be instinctive of us to wipe out grease from strainers, dishes, pots and pans with paper towels, and then afterwards, throw the used, greasy paper towels in the recycling bin because - well, paper towels are generally recyclable, right?

But, wait.

Paper towels that are lined with grease are generally not accepted by recycling centers. It’s best to use other more eco-friendly alternatives like a wash cloth cut up from an old t-shirt or a microfiber cleaning cloth that you use to clean your computer keyboards, which you can easily rinse, wash, dry and get rid of grease while helping reduce non-recyclable waste.

2. When reusing cooking oil, keep track of its “expiration date”.

Knowing the telltale signs of bad cooking oil is the cardinal rule of reusing it. This is based on a wide range of signs, including the appearance, texture, and smell of the oil. Here are some general tips from the experts:

  • If you do decide to reuse cooking oil, make sure you separate cooking oil used to fry fish or other seafood from cooking oil used to fry chicken, pork or beef. It’s also important to label jars that you can indicate what sort of food the cooking oil has been fried with.
  • Cooking oil from fried chicken can be stocked and reused 3 to 4 times max. Tests show that after the 4th reuse of used fried chicken cooking oil, it showed a murky, green color.
  • Cooking oil from potato chips are generally "cleaner" which means this type of used cooking oil can be used a maximum of 8 times.

Based on the above, here’s a quick guide:
Are you reusing cooking oil from a dish that's been breaded or battered? 
It's safe to reuse up to 3 to 4 times.
Are you reusing cleaner or clearer cooking oil from frying potato chips or french fries? 
It’s safe to reuse 8 times. This can be reused much longer if it is also replenished or combined with new, fresh oil.

3. Convert soybean oil into biodiesel.

Can you really rev up a diesel engine with soybean oil? It turns out it’s a possibility. Consider that corn is used for that exact purpose today.

One caveat is you’ll need more than the cooking oil used for frying an egg. You’ll actually require large amounts. In fact, some industries like restaurants have even made a business of it. They sell industrial amounts of cooking oil to companies, which convert it into biodiesel. 

You can find various online resources to find local companies that convert cooking oil into biodiesel. If they only accept bulk amounts, find a local restaurant that follows the practice. Perhaps you can donate your own household cooking oil.

4. Make soap.

This is probably the last thing most people would likely consider using used cooking oil for. Usually, soap is produced from fat. Thus, using cooking oil to make soap is practical since it’s another way to reuse the oil besides cooking with it again.

It’s also 100% better than tossing the oil into the garbage can. That’s the opposite of the 3-Rs and definitely less eco-friendly.

5. Reuse cooking oil as a non-toxic insecticide or weed-killer.

Ironically while insects and small animals love cooking oil, you can also use it to keep bugs away. The oil effectively suffocates harmful bugs as it coats its bodies and blocks the pores that they use to breathe. Besides that, it’s also an eco-friendly option since it’s just veggie-based oil.
Here’s how you can make insecticide out of cooking oil:

  • Mix 1 cup of used vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap in any container as long as you can close it with a lid.
  • Cover it tightly and shake thoroughly.

When you're ready to use your own homemade cooking oil pesticide spray mix, here's what you need to do:

  • Add 2 teaspoons of oil spray mix with 1 quart of water in a generic spray bottle.
  • Spray directly on the surface of pest-infested plants.

A related option is to use vegetable oil as a weed-killer. Use it the same way as a pesticide.
If you prefer recycling used cooking oil over reusing it, then the next section offers you some basic tips.
reuse cooking oil

How to Recycle Cooking Oil

Step 1: Preparation

Consider if you prefer used cooking oil in liquid or solid form. 

Some people would rather deal with solid waste versus liquid form. If that’s the case, then simply let the oil cool down, and it will turn into a block of frozen grease. If you want it to be super-solid, then freeze the cooking oil after it cools down, so it solidifies more. One of the main benefits of freezing cooking oil is it’s easier to deal with. That includes whether you plan on reusing it soon or disposing of it.

If you don’t mind directly storing used cooking oil in its liquid form, then store it as we have earlier mentioned in the first part of this article: cool the cooking oil, transfer to a plastic container with a tightly-closed lid and then include it in your food waste bin for proper disposal.

Step 2: Pick the right container

For recycling, you have various options like plastic butter containers or coffee cans. Make sure to label the container, so nobody confuses cooking oil for ground coffee beans.

You don’t have to refrigerate the oil. The only exception is if you plan to reuse it later.

Step 3: Keep filling up container

This is especially true if you only use very little amounts of cooking oil. By topping it up as needed, you can make the most out of the container you’re using and also save time by dropping off all your used cooking oil in one go. 

You don’t have to worry about the different kinds of cooking oil mixed up in the one disposal container you’re using because, in this case, it’s assumed that these have already been reused to its maximum capacity and ready to drop these off at the recycling center

However, you should certainly remove any large pieces of meat or veggies.

Step 4: Find a recycling center

Sometimes recycling centers accept used cooking oil as part of household hazardous waste (HHW). In some situations, they’ll only accept cooking oil during the holiday season. If that’s the case, you can look for other disposal solutions.
Make sure to check with the local department of public works first to find out if there are any free programs available. You could just Google or call the relevant local or state office to find out whether or not such programs are available. Afterwards, you’ll just have to drop off the cooking oil. They’ll handle the rest of the work so others can use the cooking oil for some tasty fried chicken or shrimp tempura.
You can also use the following web-based resources to search for recycling centers that are happy to put your waste cooking oil to good use:

Another alternative is to contact the local fire department. In some situations, they’ll accept used cooking oil for recycling. This not only helps to get rid of the cooking oil but also supports your local FD.
Recycling cooking oil has some great benefits including:

  • It’s a good way to turn a common household waste item into clean biodiesel that powers most diesel engines.
  • It prevents pouring greasy oil into the drain, which can clog/damage pipes and sewage systems.
  • Restaurant owners and other businesses can earn money by selling a large amount of used cooking oil to be processed by commercial oil recyclers

Mistakes to Avoid When Disposing of Used Cooking Oil

  • Don’t pour down drain
    It’s just as important to know how NOT to dispose of cooking oil than how to dispose of it. There’s no question that used cooking oil is nasty. It’s especially true if you’ve been deep-frying food, for example, since there might be lard or vegetable shortening involved in the process—that makes the oil even more dangerous.
  • Don’t pour down the sink - even in small amounts
    This might seem like an easy step, but it’s also quite dangerous. Even a little cooking oil can clog up the kitchen/sewage pipes. If that happens, you’ll have to hire a plumber for repairs, which can be quite expensive.If the sewage pipes get clogged up, that can actually affect neighborhood basements due to leaking sewage.
  • Don’t pour down toilet
    Pouring used cooking oil down the toilet can cause several of the same problems as pouring it down the sink. That involves bathroom pipes, sewage pipes, etc.
    One of the key problems is based on basic physics laws: oil and water don’t mix. Besides that, the drain line walls will also get damaged. Another factor is the oil moves slower than water. That, in turn, will cause it to mix with other stuff and clog up the whole piping system.The situation is worse when you’re dealing with used cooking oil versus new cooking oil. When the oil is used, stuff like animal fat worsens the situation and increases the risk of clogged pipes/sewage.
  • Don’t pour hot oil into the garbage can.
    This can attract lots of stuff like bugs and rats. It can even cause issues with garbage trucks as well as solid waste sites.
  • Don’t add to the septic system.
    The reason is it can clog up pipes and even affect the drainage field and distribution lines. There’s even a chance it could pollute local waterways.

As much as it’s beneficial to properly dispose of, reuse and recycle used cooking oil, what actually works best is to reduce the use of it in the first place. Follow along the next section as we show you some effective ways for you to reduce the use of cooking oil.

Tips for Reducing the Use of Cooking Oil

One way to tick off used cooking oil disposal from your to-do list at home is to actually use less of it when cooking. Not only is “oil-less” cooking generally healthier, it also makes for more delicious, creative dishes.

Here are some tips that you can use in the kitchen for reducing the use of cooking oil:

  • Use an air fryer.
    Designed to simulate frying, an air fryer is a great alternative to traditional frying. It utilizes hot air circulating at high-speed which then browns or crisps the food placed inside.
  • Bake.
    While it may seem more tedious than frying, baking is a healthier alternative. There are tons of dishes that you can bake instead of fry: potato croquettes, samosas, fritters, kebabs and patties - these (and more) taste delicious, warm and tender when baked.
  • Steam or pre-cook.
    Have you ever had steamed fish? Or steamed chicken breasts? When sprinkled with garlic, pepper, salt and generous amounts of butter, it tastes heavenly! Pair it up with some boiled potatoes and carrots, and you have a quick, healthy dish. Pre-cooking before frying also reduces the amount of oil needed.

    Use a shallow frying pan. Instead of deep frying, frying from a shallow frying pan with a lid helps consume less oil. It also traps moisture which also helps cook food sooner and make it taste better.


When is it time to dispose of frying oil?

You should generally dispose of it after using it 2 or 3 times. However, if the smell is OK and it burns hot, then you can keep using the oil.

Can you throw out used cooking oil?

You can, but it should cool down first. Put it in a sealed and sturdy container. This will help it from leaking into the other garbage.

Can you dispose of cooking oil in a garden?

Yes, you can use the cooking oil as compost, but only if you were frying plant-based foods. If you were frying any meat products, the oil could attract critters like rats and raccoons.

Can you pour vegetable oil down into the drain?

No. You can’t do that since grease will clog up pipes and damage the local wastewater mains. Better options include reusing the oil or storing it in a sealed/non-breakable container.

How do I get rid of expired vegetable oil?

You can do that by putting it in a sealed/non-breakable container then toss it into the trash. You can take it to a local waste center if it accepts grease.


The global market for used cooking oil is worth about $6 billion (2019), according to Global News Wire. There are several options for “disposing of” cooking oil, including reusing, blending, and recycling. Besides the basics, you can also use the used oil for compost, pesticides, or biodiesel.

The main takeaway is to dispose of the cooking oil in a safe and responsible way. This will help to minimize the effects on your household, neighborhood, and city/town. That, in turn, means you can keep on cooking up tasty morsels.

If you need the experts to help you with disposal of used cooking oil for your household or business, contact ACTenviro or learn more about our household hazardous waste management services.


All U.S. homes should know: what household chemicals might be harmful if not disposed of properly? Only about 1% of the approximately 84,000 chemicals on the market has been tested for safety, according to CNN.

This highlights the need to make sure people properly dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) in the form of chemicals. That includes ones like bleach, ammonia, antifreeze, paint, and formaldehyde. 

Here’s a list of the most dangerous household chemicals.

Lye & Hydrochloric Acid

These two chemicals typically exist in drain cleaners. Lye is a “caustic chemical” that can cause esophagus/stomach damage when ingested.

Meanwhile, hydrochloric acid is very corrosive and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract.


When buying paints, it’s important to pick products that list all ingredients they contain. Watch out for toxic chemicals that can cause problems for human health and the local environment. 

This includes volatile organic compounds (VOC). The paints emit these gases into the air as soon as you open a paint can. The chemicals can reduce indoor air quality and could cause major health risks.

Another potential problem is VOC paints can also contain preservatives like MI and MCI.

These are strong “biocides” that control/destroy microorganisms such as bacteria. This sounds like a good thing, right? The problem is the preservatives themselves can be toxic.


These two chemicals exist in air fresheners that people use in homes and vehicles. Formaldehyde functions as a toxic cancer-causing substance, and direct contact can result in blindness.

Meanwhile, when phenol contacts skin it can cause various results like:

  • Cold sweats
  • Convulsions
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Coma


This is a powerful corrosive that irritates/burns eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. If a person ingests bleach, they can also experience vomiting or coma.

Certain mixtures with bleach, including vinegar and toilet bowl cleaner, can cause toxic fumes. Avoid mixing bleach with ANY acid.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons

This is found in many pesticides and affects a person’s nervous system. It’s linked to serious health issues like cancer. Chlorinated hydrocarbons are found in fatty tissue and food, and attack people’s nervous systems.

Lead Oil

This is a mixture of linseed oil and white pigments to create a semi-absorbent substance for oil painting. The oil can dry within 2 days to a full week based on various factors like light, humidity, and temperature.

Like other products with lead, lead oil can pose a threat to human health. This is due to lead harming the body’s blood cell production, and calcium absorption for healthy teeth, strong bones, and muscle movements. 

It can also have a negative effect on the function of blood vessels and nerves. High levels of lead intake can cause kidney and brain damage.

Sodium Hypochlorite

This substance has staining properties and is added to mold/mildew cleaners. Sodium hypochlorite is naturally corrosive and irritates/burns skin and eyes. It can also cause fluid buildup in the lungs, which can lead to serious problems like commas.

Battery Acid

Lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid. This substance is highly corrosive and more dangerous than the acids in most other kinds of batteries. For example, swallowing the battery acid can result in damage to internal organs. When handling sulfuric acid, it’s important to wear protective gear.

Carpet/Upholstery Cleaners

They contain a serious substance known as naphthalene. It’s known to cause liver damage after long-term exposure. The ones added to car cleaners can cause various conditions like:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Kidney problems
  • Brain damage


Various items like thermometers, barometers, and batteries contain mercury. The main issue is breathing in mercury vapor. This can cause various health issues related to the digestive, nervous, and immune systems. It can affect your kidneys and lungs. 

Meanwhile, mercury can also provide problems if it contacts the eyes or skin. If you ingest it, you can also experience kidney toxicity.


The super-volatile chemical solution is used as different household cleaners and mostly for glass. These solutions irritate eyes and the respiratory/digestive tracts’ mucous membranes. 

Make sure to avoid mixing ammonia into a liquid with bleach since it could cause a poisonous gas. You should also avoid mixing ammonia with chlorine products/strong oxidants since this can create dangerous chemical compounds.


This substance is added to different products like nail polish remover. It can irritate the throat and nose. Meanwhile, acetone can also harm a person’s nervous system at high concentrations. 

Acetone can cause various problems, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness

When people experience major exposure to acetone, this can trigger unconsciousness.


You should always take precautions because smoke can contain harmful substances like carbon monoxide. Besides that, you should also watch out for other substances including:

  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen Cyanide
  • Lead
  • Nicotine
  • Radioactive Elements


Pesticides can be stored in the human colon, which can gradually poison a person’s body. Several studies show that pesticides are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), etc. 

Studies also show that pesticides can have a negative effect on the nervous system and reproductive system.


Swallowing antifreeze can cause damage to kidneys, heart, brain, etc. Meanwhile, inhaling antifreeze can cause dizziness.

Petroleum Distillates

This petroleum product is linked to skin/lung cancers. They can irritate eyes, nose, skin, and lungs. Meanwhile, if they enter the lungs, they can cause a serious lung condition. Petroleum distillates are usually added to furniture and car polishes.

What Happens If Dangerous Household Chemicals Are Not Disposed of Properly?

Water Pollution

The Earth’s rivers, lakes, and seas are swimming in various pollutants, including chemicals, plastic, and waste. Water, like air and food, is critical for human life. However, the world’s population continues to pollute its waterways like oceans, lakes, and rivers.

When pollutants like household chemicals cause water pollution, this puts public health in jeopardy. In fact, studies show that unsafe water kills more people than all wars, according to estimates by the United Nations. 

Another related issue is that humans can only access 1% of the world’s freshwater. Studies also show that contaminants like lead, copper, and arsenic are contained in the tap water of each US state.

Various kinds of household hazardous waste (HHW) can contaminate wastewater treatment systems and septic tanks. 

Water is a “universal solvent” that’s super-vulnerable to pollution. Fun Fact: No other liquid on planet Earth can dissolve more substances than water. HHW can cause various kinds of water contamination including: sewage, wastewater, and agricultural 

Water pollution due to household waste contamination can also cause various results, including human health and the local environment. For example, it’s estimated that contaminated water makes 1 billion people sick every year. 

Meanwhile, water pollution can also affect whole aquatic environments. For example, when HHW enters lakes or seas/oceans, this reduces the water’s oxygen levels due to algae growth.

Toxic Pollution

This type of pollution is contaminated soil, water, and oil that’s dangerous/poisonous. Toxic pollution includes various sources, including industrial and residential sources. This can include chemicals from household products. 

This toxic pollution could contaminate drinking water, fish in rivers/ponds, homes, farmland, and air. People who live in such areas could be exposed to poisons each time they breathe, drink, eat, or bathe. 

Toxic pollution is one of several kinds of pollution. It affects people in various ways that they might not notice quickly. People frequently believe toxic pollution-triggered diseases to be a different cause. The poison often builds up and damages people’s bodies before they receive an illness/disease diagnosis. 

All pollution can cause various health issues related to the immune system, brain, etc. Some of the many illnesses it can cause include lung and heart diseases, and cancer. 

The good news is it’s possible to minimize toxic pollution within this generation. In fact, many industrialized countries have already implemented solutions to reduce toxic pollution.

Waste Disposal Incidents

Buffalo Creek Flood (1972)

This disaster took place in February 1972 when the Pittston Coal Company impounded Dam #3 in West Virginia. The dam burst half a week after a federal mine inspector declared it as “satisfactory.”

The flood released around 132 million gallons of black waste water. It rose over 30 ft. (9.1m) high over the residents living beside Buffalo Creek Hollow. This resulted in 500+ destroyed houses, 4,000 homeless, and 120+ deaths.

Atari Video Game Burial (1983)

The 1980s event involved the mass burial of several video game computers, consoles, and cartridges within a New Mexico landfill site. This was conducted by the US video game company Atari. It was rumored the site included video games, including E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial and Pac-Man.

Atari officials later verified that about 700,000 cartridges, including E.T., were buried at the site. However, only around 1,300 cartridges were excavated. The video games were auctioned off or curated.

Agriculture Street Landfill (1994)

This was a dump located in an area of New Orleans, Louisiana. When it was developed in the future for residential use, this resulted in negative environmental results. In 1994 the Agriculture Street Landfill became one of the nation’s Superfund cleanup sites.

The swampy area was first used as a dump during 1909. This landfill became a major dump in the area for residential/industrial waste. However, it frequently caught fire and became known as “Dante’s Inferno.”

What are common household cleaners that are dangerous when mixed?

It’s important to use household cleaners properly. This involves not blending cleaning agents even if it might seem to produce a superior one. The reason is the risks are too high. Here are some cleaning products you should always avoid mixing:

Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar

These two ingredients can be blended to clean surfaces effectively. That said, it’s not really a wise choice. When the two substances are mixed, it creates “peracetic acid.” This is a kind of corrosive substance that could damage the skin, eyes, and lungs. 

In addition, vinegar is a substance that you should use carefully when cleaning. There are some good options when picking eco-friendly cleaning solutions. However, you should contact a professional company if you’re searching for professional fire, mold, and water restoration services.

Bleach & Vinegar

Chlorine gas is the stuff made when blending bleach & vinegar. Just breathing in a small quantity of chlorine gas can trigger breathing problems and irritate a person’s eyes, nose, and throat. When a person is exposed to higher levels, this can result in vomiting, major chest pain, and pneumonia.

Same Cleaning Product By Different Brands

Various companies that make cleaning products like drain cleaner usually don’t include the same ingredients list. So it’s quite risky to blend various cleaners that have the same function. 

Furthermore, if a particular product isn’t working, make sure to avoid using a different one from another manufacturer. If you’re having problems with drain cleaning, for example, a plumber can help to solve problems.

Bleach & Ammonia

When you combine these substances, it produces a toxic gas known as chloramine. It can burn eyes and trigger respiratory damage. Keep in mind that ammonia is a common ingredient in cleaning products. 

So always avoid mixing ammonia products with bleach. When you use bigger quantities of ammonia, this can cause more toxic blends.

Bleach & Rubbing Alcohol

After blending these two products, the substance created is known as “chloroform.” It can cause nausea and dizziness. When people are exposed to high amounts of chloroform it can become fatal. 

Breathing in small quantities of chloroform vapor won’t likely cause you to become unconscious. However, it can damage the skin, eyes, lungs, and nervous system.

Quick Tips for Reducing Toxic Hazardous Waste In Your Home

While it’s a wise choice to dispose of household hazardous waste safely and effectively, you can also reduce the amount from the get-go. This involves reducing how much hazardous waste you generate through your shopping choices. Here are some helpful tips to reduce HHW safely and effectively:

  • Make DIY cleaning products using basic online recipes.
  • Avoid dumping HHW down kitchen sinks, or storm drains.
  • Use more natural alternatives when you can
  • Buy fewer products with hazardous wastes including:

All-purpose cleaners
Bug sprays
Dish soap
Dishwashing machine pods/gels
Insect repellants
Laundry detergent
Toilet cleaners

  • Avoid burning HHW
  • Only buy the quantity you require
  • Participate in HHW disposal programs by dropping off products
  • Buy least-toxic products by reading labels
  • Don’t pour household waste onto the ground
  • Share unused products with neighbors/friends, or donate to charities
  • Find out the legal ways to dispose of HHW in your city/town/county
  • Don’t dispose of HHW in the regular garbage
  • Use up the entire product


We use various cleaners and chemicals every day to keep our homes neat and tidy. However, this process can become dangerous if the substances are contacted by skin, inhaled by lungs, or ingested via the digestive system. 

In order to avoid major accidents, it’s critical to follow a product label’s instructions and store chemical products in a safe and effective manner. This is particularly true if kids and/or pets are living in your home. After learning what household chemicals might be harmful if not disposed of properly, this can help to maintain a super-clean and happy home.


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