Hazardous Waste Definition & Identification


The world produces about 13 tons of hazardous waste per second. This kind of modern human-produced waste must be treated, stored, and disposed of effectively to preserve planet Earth for future generations.

 Humans are constantly creating such toxic waste. The amount that’s produced is based on the scope of different human activities, including industrial, agricultural, and residential. Today the issue is becoming more serious and affecting not only the entire planet but even individual communities.

This universe of dangerous waste is gigantic and very diverse. For example, it can exist in different forms like gas, liquid, and solid. There are also different types and features of hazardous waste. The definition “hazardous waste” is also defined by different organizations including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What is a Hazardous Waste?

General Definition

According to the EPA, “Simply defined, a hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.” Hazardous waste also includes different physical forms, including: solids, liquids, and gases. 

 Dangerous wastes can also be produced through different means. From manufacturing methods, and discarded substances like unused commercial products (i.e., pesticides and cleaning fluids), and used materials, according to the University of California-Irvine. 

 The hazardous toxic waste can also be defined in regulatory terms. This includes one or a combination of the features in the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which includes the following characteristics:

In addition to these strict definitions, waste products can still be considered “hazardous” even if they don’t have any technical features of this kind of dangerous waste. Some examples include soil produced from large clean-up projects and used oil.

EPA Regulatory Definition

The EPA has created a regulatory hazardous waste definition. It has defined various substances that have been scientifically proven to be hazardous. The EPA has also created objective requirements that allow for a particular material to be regulated as “hazardous waste.” 

While this hazardous waste definition is objective, it can be extremely complex. This has resulted in the US agency creating a list of questions that waste-generators can ask to determine whether or not they are indeed producing “hazardous” waste:

1. Is it solid waste?

The EPA always defines hazardous-type waste as solid waste. Other organizations use a broader definition that can include liquid or gas, but the EPA strictly defines such toxic waste as having a solid form.

2. Is the solid waste exempt from being regulated?

It’s possible for a particular solid waste to not be classified/regulated as hazardous. In other words, not all solid wastes are “hazardous” based on the EPA’s standards, but all hazardous wastes are solid wastes. 

The EPA then requires waste generators to check if they’re producing waste with features that classify it as “hazardous.” 

It’s also possible for waste generators to request the EPA to de-list their waste as hazardous. This is based on the EPA’s RCRA’s lists. The EPA also maintains a list of waste generators that have successfully been delisted from the EPA’s list of facilities producing dangerous waste. 

The EPA provides not only strict guidelines for classifying this toxic waste but also provides other guidelines about how much waste must be Stored, Treated, Disposed, and Recycled.

Radioactive Waste

This kind of hazardous waste is typically classified differently from other kinds of toxic wastes. Scientists have approached the issue differently from other waste management. 

Radioactive waste is typically made from radioactivity, although in some cases, this isn’t the cause. However, this kind of waste always has levels of “radionuclide” contaminants that are higher than legal levels set by regulatory bodies like the USA’s EPA. 

This type of waste produces a greater health risk due to the measured concentration of radionuclides contained in a substance.  Another factor is that various radionuclides pose different hazard levels.

Main Causes of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous materials produced by industrial and technological advances are the main causes of these toxic substances. The situation became exponentially worse due to events like the Industrial Revolution, which took place during the 1700s and 1800s. 

In recent decades one of the main developments has been nuclear technology. Various nuclear applications have increased in popularity around the globe. This has triggered a spike in the effects of radioactive materials released into the Earth’s environment. That, in turn, has caused major problems in Earth’s biological systems. 

Hazardous Waste Types

Just as defining what is hazardous waste can be done in different ways, there are different ways to classify dangerous waste as different types.


Wastes might be classified as “hazardous” if they show particular characteristics, including:


This kind of waste results in chemical reactions in particular conditions. This can trigger explosions or give off different gases, fumes, or vapors. The activity happens when the substance is mixed with H2O or compressed. Some examples include unused explosives and lithium/sulfur batteries. 

It’s important to note that no test methods exist to test a waste for reactivity. There are other methods to test for this feature that are based on regulations for hazardous waste.


Corrosive wastes are various materials like solids that are either acids/bases or make acidic/alkaline solutions. A corrosive waste is one with a pH level at/under 2.0 or at/above 12.5. 

Liquid wastes can also be corrosive in the case it’s able to corrode various metal containers like drums, storage tanks, and barrels. Examples include used battery acid. There are various EPA methods to test if waste is corrosive.


In certain situations, these wastes can spark fires, have a flash point under 60°C (140°F), or blow up (spontaneous combustion). Some examples include used solvents and waste oil. 

Various test methods can be done to figure out if the waste has the ignitability characteristic. There are different methods used, including the USA EPA’s test methods.


Toxic waste is dangerous or deadly when it’s absorbed or indigested. This involves different substances, including lead, mercury, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), etc. The disposal of toxic wastes can cause groundwater to become polluted. 

“Toxic” is a wide category that can be defined when a substance has 1+ of the following features:

1. Acute Dermal Toxicity

This is a test that’s related to a substance being slightly toxic or having a slightly toxic substance that’s triggered through skin contact. It involves a certain level of dermal toxicity.

2. Carcinogenicity

In this situation, the waste contains a certain level of cancer-causing substance that classifies it as being dangerous. This is a major issue since cancer is one of the most common causes of death, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

3. Waste Extraction Test

The Waste Extraction Test (WET) is related to another procedure known as “total digestion.” Each lab test is compared with various regulations for toxic waste to determine whether or not a particular substance should be defined as such.

4. Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure

Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) is related to the definition “hazardous waste” and is defined by the EPA as wastes that can release dangerous substances into the environment. 

TELP test results are compared with regulations for hazardous waste. This doesn’t include wastes that aren’t regulated by the EPA’s RCRA. 

5. Acute Oral Toxicity

This type of toxic waste is due to slightly toxic substances or becomes slightly toxic when consumed. A particular waste is toxic if it has a certain level of oral toxicity.

6. Acute Aquatic Toxicity 

This toxicity is related to waste being toxic when fish are exposed to it. A test procedure is done to determine if the aquatic toxicity is high enough for the waste to be classified as toxic.

Listed Wastes

Some specific kinds of wastes are defined as hazardous wastes based on created lists. There are various ways that the wastes are categorized including:


This list includes wastes that are created from particular industries like pesticides and petroleum. Some other examples of these dangerous wastes include wastewater and sludge from production/treatment processes.


This list includes several manufacturing/industrial processes like solvents used for cleaning/degreasing. The processes that make these wastes exist in several industry sectors. 

Thus, these wastes are from sources that are non-specific. In other words, the wastes aren’t from one particular manufacturing or industrial process.

Mercury-Containing Products

These are certain wastes with mercury, including mercury switches, fluorescent lamps, and products that house such switches. They’re related to the issue of what is hazardous waste.

These products with mercury can provide several benefits for people. However, the problem is when the products are discarded, they become waste.

Commercial Chemical Products

This can include chemical products that weren’t used yet but will be discarded. There are different examples, including commercial pesticides, industrial chemicals, and prescription drugs. The chemical products actually become hazardous items when they’re tossed.

RCRA Hazardous Waste Management System


Based on the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), hazardous waste generators are the first link within the waste management system. The first goal of generators is to determine if the waste they are producing is indeed hazardous, and then figure out how to handle it.

Another goal of generators is to guarantee, and document that produced hazardous waste is correctly:

These steps must be taken before disposal or recycling takes place. 

The amount of EPA regulation that applies to individual generators is based on how much waste the generator creates. The EPA provides info about which regulations apply to hazardous waste generators.


Following the generators’ production of the toxic waste, transporters might move the produced waste to a facility that treats, disposes of, or recycles the waste. Various EPA and US Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations apply since the waste is moved through roads/highways, railroads, and waterways.

Treatment and Storage

The EPA has attempted to create federal regulations for hazardous waste that are able to balance the goal of protecting public health and Earths’ environment, while sustaining resource conservation. This involves different processes, including treating/disposing of waste to incinerators or landfills, or recycling the waste in a safe and effective manner. 

RCRA requirements are related to companies creating, storing, or disposing of toxic wastes in the USA. The RCRA requires US-located facilities that engage in treating, storing, or disposing of hazardous-type waste to secure a permit. Specific requirements must be met for handling, tracking, and managing waste.


The disposal of dangerous waste has historically been done in traditional landfills. However, this resulted in large amounts of toxic materials seeping down into the soil. Over time the waste started contaminating ground-water and underground water systems. 

Today, several landfills require counter steps that are used to prevent ground-water contamination. One example is an installed barrier along the landfill’s foundation. This is installed to contain toxic substances that might stay in the landfill’s disposed waste.


Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) provide short-term storage, and treatment or disposal of hazardous wastes. One possible drawback is a higher amount of risk due to the enormous quantities of waste and activities performed at such facilities. 

This issue explains why TSDFs are strictly regulated. In fact, TSDF regulations are set for issues like:


The recycling of hazardous waste provides several benefits, including reducing the volume of treated/disposed of waste materials and the use of raw materials. 

It’s critical to ensure proper storage of the materials. This can prevent events like leaks, spills, fires, and contamination of drinking water and soil. The EPA has created official regulations to make sure recycling is done safely.


Developments in industry and technology during the past quarter-millennium or so have caused the creation of hazardous materials to skyrocket. This has resulted in a surge in various industries like hazardous waste handling automation. 

It’s important to know the definition of “hazardous waste” in particular situations like owning/operating waste generators. This can provide such parties with critical information about how bodies like the UN, EPA, and local states define and regulate the dangerous waste material. 

Another key issue is knowing how such regulators categorize various types of hazardous waste. It includes different approaches involving the waste’s source, characteristics, and “toxic” status. This can result in the proper handling, transport, and disposal of hazardous waste based on global, national, and local industry standards.

EPA Hazardous Waste Codes Guide

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste Codes are an important part of the proper management of hazardous waste in the country. But before we go into the codes themselves, it is important to know the foundation of those codes. In this case, we need to have a basic understanding of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), its aims, and the EPA’s role in implementing RCRA regulations.

In 1976, Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which is an amendment of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. It’s the US primary federal law presiding over the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.  The RCRA was made in response to the country’s growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. 

The Act is made to

The implementation of the RCRA program is shared between the federal government and the state, with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) providing the fundamental requirements. The state governments then adopt, adapt, modify, and enforce their own regulations based on these EPA requirements.

Types of RCRA Waste Codes

Before going to the actual types of EPA waste codes, we need to differentiate two common kinds of hazardous wastes: characteristic and listed wastes. Characteristic wastes are waste materials that are known, proven, tested, or show one or more of the following traits:

Listed wastes are common waste materials that are generated from common industrial or manufacturing processes. They could also include waste materials that are generated from specific industries, non-specific sources, or commercial products that have been thrown away. These specific waste materials are specifically pre-catalogued and pre-designated by the government as hazardous materials, thus the term “listed.” 

Waste materials that are both hazardous and radioactive are called mixed wastes. Regulations for mixed wastes are shared between the RCRA and the Atomic Energy Act (AEA).

Hazardous wastes are categorized as RCRA (subject to RCRA regulations) or non-RCRA (not subject to RCRA regulations. Non-RCRA wastes are, therefore, subject to the state’s regulations). To help determine if a waste material is RCRA or non-RCRA, check out this guide from the EPA.

The RCRA, through the EPA, pre-designates certain wastes as hazardous and are placed on a list. A hazardous waste material is designated by a letter and further classified by a 3-digit number. If your waste material has these combinations, then it is automatically considered as an RCRA hazardous waste.

Listed Waste Codes

F List Codes

Hazardous waste materials in the F list are often generated from common manufacturing and industrial processes. Since these waste-producing processes can happen in different sectors that take part in different sectors of such industries, F-list wastes are often referred to as waste materials from non-specific sources.

K List Codes

Wastes in the K list are produced from specific sources within specific industries. For a waste material to qualify as K-listed, its characteristics must coincide with one of the 13 main industries in the list. In addition, it should correspond with one of the K-list descriptions in 40 CFR Section 261.32.

P/U List Codes

Wastes belonging to the P and U lists are usually generated from commercial grade formulations. Note that they only become a listed waste when such formulations are disposed of or are subject for disposal. Waste materials assigned with a P-code are acutely hazardous. Those with a U code are noted for their chronic or persistent toxicity.

For a hazardous waste material to be listed in a P or U list, it should satisfy three criteria:

According to EPA’s definition for P/U list classification purposes, a commercial chemical product is either a 100% pure, a technical grade, or a sole active ingredient in a chemical formulation.

Characteristic Hazardous Waste Codes

D001 Codes

Hazardous wastes in this list exhibit the Ignitability characteristic. The flash point (the lowest temperature which causes the material to combust) for liquid waste material is below 60 degrees Celsius using the Pensky-Martens Closed-Cup Method. D001 wastes materials also include combustible solids, gases, and oxidizers.

D002 Codes

Hazardous wastes in the D002 list are noted for their Corrosivity. These wastes include aqueous liquids that have a ph of 2 or less (base) or a ph 12.5 or above (acid). It also includes substances—often liquids—that deteriorate steel at a rate of 6.35mm or more per year as per the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.

D003 Codes

Waste materials listed in the D003 list are dangerous because of their Reactivity. They combust, detonate, give off toxic gases, or negatively react when they come in contact with water or other substances. Some are inherently unstable even in normal circumstances.

D004 to D043 Codes

Waste materials belonging to the D004 to D043 list are noted for their Toxicity. They become harmful when absorbed by the body through skin permeation, ingestion, or inhalation. Untreated or improperly disposed toxic wastes cause a lot of concern because they might soak through the soil and penetrate groundwater. 

The contaminated groundwater may find its way to the municipal potable water supply. If it does, it can potentially create a public health issue.

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) (SW-846 Test Method 1311) determines the level of toxicity of a waste material in the D004 to D043 list.

Mixed Wastes

Mixed wastes materials contain both hazardous and radioactive materials. These wastes generated from nuclear power generators, medical equipment used in nuclear medicine, and the like.

The hazardous component of a mixed waste material is regulated by EPA under RCRA. The radioactive component is overseen by either the Department of Energy (DOE) or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). As a general rule when it comes to division of authority, the NRC regulates waste from commercial facilities. DOE provides the policies of waste management in DOE-related facilities such as nuclear plants.

Information about EPA’s regulations on mixed waste can be found in the Final Rule.

Hazardous Waste Codes Differences

As you can see above, the hazardous waste codes differences are vast with the exception of the P/U list. Each kind of hazardous waste material is placed into these lists for proper identification and classification. 

With the waste materials being properly identified and classified, state governments as well as industrial, medical, and commercial facilities can determine the right protocols as per RCRA/EPA regulations in handling, treating, collecting, and disposing such waste material. 

The actual differences lie in the materials number part of the code. However, a comprehensive list of the kinds of materials and their codes are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we will provide some examples of coded waste materials.

A complete list of EPA waste codes in each list can be found in 40 CFR section 261.

Examples of F-List Codes

For a complete list of F-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.31.

Examples of K-List Codes

For a complete list of K-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.32.

Examples of P-List Codes

For a complete list of P-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.33.

Examples of U-List Codes

For a complete list of U-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.33.

For characteristic waste, the EPA provides a table only for substances with toxic characteristics. The EPA Hazardous Waste number matches the contaminant that makes the waste material hazardous.

Examples of D004 to D043-List Codes

For a complete list of D004 to D043-List waste materials, click the link above and scroll down to 40 CFR section 261.24.

Gasoline Hazardous Disposal Guide

Gasoline, like many other fuels, is a valuable substance; it’s difficult to imagine a world without being fueled by gasoline. However, gasoline that isn’t combusted but introduced into the environment can endanger the environment and public health. 

Whether liquid or as a vapor, gasoline is highly flammable and toxic to living organisms. Uncontrolled burning of gasoline can produce a considerable amount of carbon monoxide and soot which could pollute the air. Liquid gasoline can seep into the ground and penetrate into the groundwater, contaminating the municipal potable water sources. 

With serious environmental, health, and legal repercussions in mind, gasoline disposal should be done according to federal or state regulations for public and environmental safety.

How to Dispose of Gasoline?

Gasoline is often used combusted right away. So is there such a thing as waste gasoline? Yes, there is.

Unused amounts of gasoline stored for months in vehicles, lawnmowers, and other fuel-powered equipment can degrade and can become a pollutant. Extra gasoline that is stored in containers in case of emergencies may be unused for months or even years. That old junk car sitting on your lawn may have old fuel in the tank. 

This stale fuel can leak out, especially if stored in damaged tanks and containers. The toxic vapors may also permeate out of these tanks and containers, causing a health and environmental hazard.

As such, hazardous waste disposal of gasoline must be done correctly.

Dangers of Gasoline Disposal

Hazardous waste disposal of gasoline starts with you. It’s important to follow the steps mentioned above in order to reduce the hazards of improper gasoline disposal.

Gasoline Disposal Regulations

According to the US federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gasoline is classified as a “characteristic hazardous waste” because it exhibits two main characteristics:

In the U.S., the disposal, management, and handling of hazardous wastes such as gasoline are regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA is the enforcing arm of RCRA regulations. 

Finally, RCRA often requires generators of hazardous wastes to track the life cycle of hazardous waste, from its manufacture to its final disposal, commonly called “cradle to grave” requirements. This record allows the EPA to lessen the amount of illegally disposed of hazardous waste.

Gasoline Disposal Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding hazardous waste disposal of gasoline.

Pour old gasoline into a government-approved and certified gasoline container. Ensure that you only fill up to 95% to make room for the vapors. Seal the container tightly and deliver to the recycling center, hazardous waste disposal facility, auto shop, and other facilities that repurpose, treat, or dispose of old gasoline.

Under the RCRA, gasoline is considered a characteristic hazardous waste as it exhibits two characteristics: ignitability and toxicity. Thus, hazardous waste disposal of gasoline should be disposed of following RCRA regulations.

No. The gasoline permeates through the soil and may contaminate the water table below.

Due to the loose nature of the soil, gasoline can rapidly penetrate the soil layer and can persist in the soil or sediment layer for quite some time although the exact duration is unknown as of this time. However, we could find no recent study or research to determine how long the substance stays in the soil.

If you accidentally spill a small amount of gasoline on the hard, impermeable ground such as your garage floor, use sawdust, rags, or paper to absorb the spill. Put these in a plastic bag and don’t throw it together with the household trash. 

If you accidentally spilled gasoline on soil, dig out the soil---around 1 foot deep---around the spilled area. Put the soil in the plastic bag and prepare it for hazardous waste collection.

It depends. If the vapor still remains, there is a potential that the gas may ignite if there are heat sources nearby. But if the gas has completely dissipated, then the chances of spontaneous combustion are negligible.


Gasoline is a valuable commodity, and it makes many of the world’s machines run. While we acknowledge that using fossil fuels is detrimental to the environment, it’s difficult to cease the production and usage of gasoline pending the development of an equally effective alternative fuel source.

While gasoline is a useful fuel, it’s also a dangerous chemical when not handled with care. When it comes to hazardous waste disposal of gasoline, we should understand this fuel’s dangers, stick to safety procedures, and follow the regulations to ensure safe and secure disposal.

What Are the 8 RCRA Metals?


According to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA is a federal law that provides a structure for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid wastes. Its purpose is to give the EPA the authority to handle these waste products – from generation to transportation to treatment to storage to, finally, disposal.

These hazardous and non-hazardous waste products that the EPA controls under the RCRA can also include certain metals. Also called the RCRA 8s, these metals are Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Selenium (Sg), and Silver (Ag).

Follow along as we discuss each RCRA metal and its proper disposal.

1. Arsenic (Waste code: D004)

Arsenic, is a type of material that is most known to be used as a poison, especially in the olden days. However, Arsenic is commonly found in our food, water, and dietary supplements, in small amounts, though. It is also known to be present in tobacco smoke, which research shows to have high concentrations of Arsenic. Yes, in small amounts Arsenic poses no harmful effects for the human body. If one consumes a certain amount of Arsenic, it can become quite toxic.

2. Barium (D005)

Barium is one of the more common elements, and is also one of the most reactive. It can be used in the coloring of fireworks, the production of fluorescent light bulbs and tiles. You can also find Barium in rat poison and in drill bits, which one can find in oil refineries. Humans can be unknowingly exposed to Barium through well water supplies and oil refineries as well.

3. Cadmium (D006)

According to a study, Cadmium is a natural metal, which you can find in the earth’s crust. It can be extracted when one produces metals, including Copper, Lead, and Zinc. Cadmium is a blue-grey soft metal, and it also has multiple uses. The soft metal can be used in the production of batteries, plastics, metal coatings, and pigments. Plus, you can also find this toxic metal among mushrooms, shellfish, mussels, cocoa powder, and dried seaweed. A human can also unknowingly ingest this through secondhand smoke.

4. Chromium (D007)

Chromium is a brittle metal element which one can find in chrome plated car parts. It is naturally found in the Chromite Ore, but it can also be found in soil, rocks, plants, and even some animals. This metal has only been used for the longest time; in fact, China’s Qin Dynasty used this metal to coat the weapons of the world famous Terracotta Army. As with other metals, it can become poisonous to humans when exposed to high amounts of Chromium.

5. Lead (D008)

Lead is a well-known metal that one can find ammunition, batteries, old paints, crafted metals (pipes and solder), and X-ray protection equipment. Its potential health risk is also a well-documented fact. It is produced through the burning of fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing. When these processes are being done, lead is exposed to the air and can find its way into water systems. This can lead to what is known as “lead poisoning,” which is known to have disastrous effects on the brain as well as causing cancer.

6. Mercury (D009)

Mercury is a liquid metal which you can find in most glass thermostats, batteries, and dental fillings. It is produced through the burning of coal. It can also be generated by manufacturing plants and mining. Mercury, when people and the environment are exposed to large amounts, can already provide a health risk. However, it can also be hazardous to human health when it is mixed with other elements. A good example of this is mercury poisoning through ingesting methyl-mercury which can be found in a few fish species. When exposed to dangerous amounts of the liquid metal, it can cause tremors, impaired cognition, and disturbances in the circadian rhythm.

7. Selenium (D010)

Selenium is a type of metal that is typically found in soil. But, it can also be produced when there is the refinement of metal sulfide and metal ores. Although it can be poisonous to people when ingested in large amounts, Selenium provides health benefits in small doses. These include improvement in thyroid function and metabolism. Plus, it can also reduce the risk of heart disease, slow mental age decline, and help boost your immune system.

Selenium is used mostly in electronics, but it can also be used in glass, pigments, inks, rubber, enamels, and paints. In addition, one can also find Selenium in pharmaceuticals, anti-dandruff shampoos, poultry and livestock feed, pesticides, and fungicides. Too much ingestion of Selenium, though, can lead to what is known as selenosis or selenium poisoning.

8. Silver (D011)

Silver is one of the most common types of metal. You can find it in jewelry, dental fillings, silverware, and mirrors. Plus, its use can range from multiple industries. For instance, Silver can be used in the production of photos and in the brazement of alloys and solders. It can also be used in electronics, water (drinking and in swimming pools) disinfectants, lozenges, chewing gums, and as an antibacterial agent. It is produced from the extraction of copper, lead, zinc, and gold ores.

When there is inhalation or ingestion of Silver, it can lead to argyria. It is a disease that can cause the color of the skin to blue or grey color. It can also lead to other negative health effects, such as throat and lung irritation, stomach pain, and breathing problems.

EPA Limits for RCRA Metals

As stated earlier, all these metal elements can potentially be hazardous to people. However, this only applies when a person is exposed, whether through inhalation or ingestion, to large amounts of the metals mentioned above. That is why the EPA provides a limit to the volume of RCRA metals that can be present in a consumer’s household and that can also be disposed of in solid waste landfills. See below the limits that the EPA set for each RCRA metal. Note: These are measured in parts per million (mg/L).

Metal EPA Allowable Limits
Arsenic 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Barium 100.0 ppm (mg/L)
Cadmium 1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Chromium 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Lead 5.0 ppm (mg/L)
Mercury 0.2 ppm (mg/L)
Selenium 1.0 ppm (mg/L)
Silver 5.0 ppm (mg/L)

When an amount of RCRA metal waste exceeds the limit set by the EPA, it must be treated as a hazardous waste. However, as aforementioned, when the amount is less than the limit itself, it can be disposed of in ordinary landfills. This, in fact, is the more cost-effective disposal solution.

Although, for you to dispose of an RCRA metal at a standard landfill, it must first pass the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test. This test would stimulate the leaching process, which would happen normally in a standard landfill. Then, it would allow the proper employees to test the sample gathered from the leaching. Find out more about this process when you continue reading below.

Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP)

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) is a type of test that can provide an answer whether or not a waste product contains large amounts of hazardous compounds. It is a method that is used to stimulate the leaching process of a waste landfill. This can analyze the volume of the hazardous elements that are within the waste products.

It also includes four processes, which are the following:

  • The sample and preparation for the leaching process.
  • The gathering of the leachate sample.
  • The preparation of the leachate sample for analysis.
  • The leachate analysis result.

With the TCLP test, you can better understand whether an RCRA metal or any other potentially hazardous waste product can be land-disposed or not. Additionally, there are also a few equipment that facilities use for the TCLP test.

Agitation Apparatus

For an agitation apparatus to be deemed viable, it must be capable of rotating the extraction vessel in an end-to-end fashion at 30 ± 2 rpm. There are also various devices that the EPA finds suitable for TCPL. These are the following (including a few companies that offer them and also their model numbers):

Analytical Testing and Consulting Services, Inc.

Warrington, PA (215) 343-4490

  • 4-vessel extractor (DC20S)
  • 8-vessel extractor (DC20)
  • 12-vessel extractor (DC20B)
  • 24-vessel extractor (DC24C)

Associated Design and Manufacturing Company

Alexandria, VA (703) 549-5999

  • 2-vessel (3740-2-BRE)
  • 4-vessel (3740-4-BRE)
  • 6-vessel (3740-6-BRE)
  • 8-vessel (3740-8-BRE)
  • 12-vessel (3740-12-BRE)
  • 24-vessel (3740-24-BRE)

Environmental Machine and Design, Inc.

Lynchburg, VA (804) 845-6424

  • 8-vessel (08-00-00)
  • 4-vessel (04-00-00)

IRA Machine Shop and Laboratory

Santurce, PR (809) 752-4004

  • 8-vessel (011001)

Lards Lande Manufacturing

Whitmore Lake, MI (313) 449-4116

  • 10-vessel (10VRE)
  • 5-vessel (5VRE)
  • 6-vessel (6VRE)

Millipore Corp.

Bedford, MA (800) 225-3384

  • 4-ZHE
  • 4 2-liter bottle extractor (YT31ORAHW)

Extraction Vessels

There are two types of extraction vessels; one is the Zero-Headspace Extraction Vessel or ZHE, and the other is the Bottle Extraction Vessel. The difference is that ZHE is used when the waste is being tested for the mobility of analytes. A Bottle Extraction Vessel, on the other hand, is used when the waste that is being evaluated only requires a nonvolatile extraction.

Filtration Devices

The EPA highly recommends that all filtration processes should be performed in a hood. Aside from that, a ZHE can also be used for extraction when the waste being extracted is evaluated for volatiles. It also must be able to withstand the pressure of 50 psi. There is also a filter holder device that is used when the waste is evaluated for other reasons aside from volatile analytes.


When it comes to filters, the EPA sets strict specifications regarding the correct filters to use. According to the Agency, filters must be made with borosilicate glass fiber, they must not be made with any binder material, and their effective pore size must be 0.6 µm to 0.8 µm. Learn more about filter specifications accepted by the EPA here.

pH Meters

According to the EPA, pH meters must be accurate to the ± 0.05 unit, and the temperature should be at 25°C.

ZHE Extract Collection Devices

For ZHE extraction, the EPA recommends the use of TEDLAR bags or glass and  PTFE gas-tight stainless steel syringes can all be used to collect the liquid phase of the waste as well as the final extract when using a ZHE extracting device. Although, the Agency specifically states that one can use this device when they are met with the following conditions:

  • If the waste product contains less than 1% of non-watery liquid phase, one can use a TEDLAR bag or a 600 mL syringe can be used to extract as well as combine the initial liquid and solid extraction.
  • If the waste does not contain any liquid phase or is 100% solid waste, or if the waste is 100% liquid, one can use either a TEDLAR bag or a syringe. In the event that the syringe is used, one should discard the initial 5 mL of watery liquid phase from the syringe. This means that the remaining liquid phase extract will be used for analysis.
  • If the waste product contains more than 1% of the total waste, both the TEDLAR bag and syringe can be used for the separation of the solid and liquid waste as well as the final extract filtration. However, analysts should only use one, not both.

ZHE Extraction Fluid Transfer Devices

This is any device that can transfer the extraction fluid into a ZHE device without changing the nature of the extraction fluid. These devices are accepted by the EPA:  a gas tight syringe,  pressure filtration unit, or a peristaltic pump.

Laboratory Balance

The EPA recommends any laboratory balance that is accurate to the ± 0.01 gram can be used.

Beaker or Erlenmeyer Flask

It needs to be made of glass and should be 500 mL.


It needs to have the correct diameter which can cover the beaker or the erlenmeyer flask entirely.


If you are a hazardous waste generator, it’s vital to understand the intricacies that makes up hazardous waste. It can spell the difference between proper compliance or hefty fines. Does your organization produce waste with traces of the RCRA’s 8 Metals? If you require help in removal, disposal or transportation, it’s best to contact ACT. We’ll be happy to help.

Is Methanol Flammable or Combustible?

Methanol is a light and colorless liquid that has an alcoholic odor similar to that of ethanol. Over 200 million tons of methanol is produced globally each year. It is a base or an ingredient in many commodity chemicals such as acetic acid, gasoline additive, formaldehyde, and many more.

So, quick answer:

Whether in liquid or gaseous form, methanol is highly flammable. Gaseous methanol molecules can travel quite a distance. This could potentially spread fires in other places. Methanol containers can explode if they’re not sufficiently insulated or protected. When in contact with a platinum-blank catalyst, methanol can also ignite.

Now that you know this information, maybe you’d like to know more about.

What is Methanol and What are Its Unique Characteristics?

Methanol, commonly known as methyl alcohol or carbinol, is a chemical species belonging to a methyl group of substances linked to a hydroxyl group. It’s also known as wood alcohol in the past due to its extraction process through destructive wood distillation. At present, methanol is created by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide in industrial facilities.

Normal healthy humans produce small amounts of methanol, about 4.5 parts per million (ppm). It can be found in human tissues and bio-fluids such as blood, saliva, or cerebrospinal fluid. The methanol can be metabolized with the structural acid pectin, which is often found in citrus fruits and several types of vegetables. Anaerobic bacteria and phytoplankton also produce small amounts of methanol.

On a much larger scale, regions in outer space that are known to form stars contain vast amounts of methanol. In fact, astronomers use them as markers for such regions. For example, in 2006, using an array of radio telescopes, astronomers discovered a colossal cloud of methanol in space. That cloud is around 288 billion miles in diameter.

Commercially available methanol is classified into various purity grades, typically classified as ASTM purity grades A and AA. Impurities include water, acetone, and ethanol. To detect these impurities, methods such as UV-vis spectroscopy and Kark-Fischer titration are used.

Hazards Associated with Using Methanol

Aside from being highly flammable, methanol has other properties that make it dangerous if not handled properly.


Prolonged exposure to methanol vapor can cause eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, and fatigue. A person who accidentally ingests as little as 10 milligrams of methanol can become permanently blind as the optic nerve is destroyed.

Ingesting 30 milligrams of methanol is probably fatal. Swallowing 50,000 ppm can cause death within 1 to 2 hours. The toxicity of ingested methanol is carried out by either of two mechanisms. One, methanol can cause death because it affects the central nervous system. Specifically, it acts as a central nervous system depressant.

Also, methanol is metabolized into formaldehyde in a process catalyzed in the liver. Formaldehyde is used as an embalming agent and is incredibly damaging to the liver, causing hypoxia at a cellular level.

Fortunately, the effects start a few hours after ingestion, so there is time to administer an antidote to prevent permanent physical damage.


Methanol belongs to the “Alcohols and Polyols” reactive group. When mixed with acetyl bromide, methanol reacts violently. Mixing methanol with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, anhydrous lead perchlorate, or isocyanates can cause dangerous explosions.

Methanol also reacts to hypochlorous acid in water solution, producing methyl hypochlorite. Methyl hypochlorite decomposes in low temperatures and can explode when exposed to sunlight or heat. The same reaction happens when methanol is mixed with chlorine.


Methanol should be cautiously used with cellulose-based absorbents. There have been plenty of situations when untoward reactions happen when methanol is added to these absorbents.

Finally, according to the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), exposure to methanol at levels found in fruits and vegetables does not cause adverse results.


In case of contact, inhalation, exposure, and ingestion

Avoid direct exposure as much as possible when handling methanol. At the very least, ANSI-approved rubber gloves and safety goggles must be worn. However, in many facilities, more comprehensive protective equipment is often required such as those that cover the face, eyes, and body.

  • For those who are working in environments where methanol vapors are prevalent, workers should wear the proper breathing apparatus and filtered regulators. Ventilators in the facility must be turned on.
  • If methanol comes in contact with skin, wash the affected area with lots of soap and water for 15 minutes. If the substance goes into the eyes, immediately flush the eyes with lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Ask for medical help.
  • If methanol is ingested, do not attempt to induce vomiting. That’s because volatile chemicals like methanol have a high probability of being aspirated into the lungs if vomiting is induced. Give the victim 1 or 2 glasses of water to dilute the methanol. If the victim is unconscious, lay the victim on his or her side with the head lower than the body. Do not give the victim anything and ensure that the airway is open. Whether the victim is conscious or not, you need to call emergency services for immediate medical help or transport the victim to the nearest hospital.
  • In case of inhalation, leave the area immediately. Workers must go outside and take deep breaths of fresh air. If a victim develops respiratory symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or burning sensation in the mouth or throat, call for medical assistance or prepare the victim for transportation to the hospital.

In case of spills and leaks

If methanol is accidentally spilled, immediately get in touch with the fire department. Get rid of potential sources of combustion such as lighters, matches, radiators, and embers.

Isolate the spill or leaks for at least 150 meters in all directions. Do not contain, stop the spill, or reduce the discharge if you’re not properly trained for it. Avoid touching or walking on the spillage. If possible, provide barriers (dams) far ahead of the methanol spill to contain the liquid. Stay upwind to protect yourself from vapors and potential explosions.

For small spills, add soil or sand on the spot—the material absorbs the ethanol. Later, have a specialist transfer the methanol-soaked material in the right containers.

Correct storage

Methanol must be placed in air-tight, leak-proof, and high-quality containers. Methanol containers should never be left open as the vapors are combustible and toxic. Sealed methanol containers should be sealed and labeled according to state, local, and on-site regulations. Facilities should also train personnel on how to handle and move methanol containers.

Methanol is non-corrosive, thus they can be kept together with most metals. However, note that it can corrode metals such as platinum, magnesium, and lead.


Methanol has a very low flash point. This means very small amounts of ignition material can possibly cause fire. Also, because methanol is water soluble, using water to extinguish methanol-caused fires may not be enough.

To extinguish small or big fires, use dry chemicals, alcohol-resistant foam, or carbon dioxide. Check your fire extinguisher; it should have any of these chemicals. You can still use water, but as mentioned above, it might be inefficient. Adjust the nozzle so that the water flows in pressurized sprays.

If a tank containing methanol catches on fire, fight the fire from a maximum distance as indicated in the firefighting apparatus’s instructions. It is also important to cool down other containers by spraying them constantly with water. If you hear venting sounds, withdraw from the area immediately and evacuate all personnel from the facility.

Call the fire department right away in case a methanol-based fire breaks out.

Correct Disposal

Due to the hazardous nature of methanol, they need to be disposed of correctly. Licensed and professional waste disposal service providers like ACT Enviro have the right equipment and trained personnel to safely and properly handle such tasks. Calling such waste disposal services is the best and safest option for you in disposing methanol.

Do not dispose of waste methanol or water that is contaminated with methanol directly into sewers or drains. Nor should it be poured into open bodies of water such as ponds or lakes.

Uses & Benefits

For all its hazards, methanol is a widely used chemical.


Methanol is a naturally occurring substance in fruits and vegetables. In natural dietary amounts, methanol is essential in regulating human gene activity. Our digestive system also creates methanol to metabolize the food we eat.


Almost half the methanol the world produces is utilized for energy-related processes and applications. It can be used as a fuel for vehicle or marine vessels. Gasoline formulations that include methanol as an additive result in a more efficient fuel called methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). MTBE is more environmentally friendly fuel than gasoline as it produces fewer emissions. Methanol can be added in biodiesel, which is a clean and renewable fuel based on plants or animal fats.

Race car teams often mix water and methanol. This is then injected into high-performance diesel or gasoline engines for a boost in power and a decrease in intake air pressure.

Solvent for commercial products

Methanol is also used as a solvent to create resins, adhesives, inks and dyes.


Despite its hazardous nature, methanol is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, it is utilized as an important solvent in manufacturing pharmaceutical products such as vitamins, hormones, streptomycin, and more.


One of the unique properties of methanol is that it increases the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water-based liquids. As such, methanol is used as antifreeze in windshield washer fluids and pipelines. Methanol is also introduced in main natural gas pipelines to lower the freezing point of the gas.

In countries that comprise the European Union, methanol was once used in washing windshield washing or defrosting. But as of May 2019, the EU banned this method due to the risk of human exposure.

Other Applications

In the past, methanol was used to produce “denatured alcohol” or “methylated spirit.” This was a prevalent practice to discourage people from buying and consuming illegally produced liquor.

Some wastewater treatment plants use a small amount of methanol in the wastewater. The methanol provides a carbon food source for the enzymes and denitrifying bacteria. These bacteria convert nitrates in wastewater to harmless nitrogen gas.

Methanol is also used in new, experimental types of fuel cells, specifically direct-methanol fuel cells. These fuel cells are characterized by low-temperature and atmospheric pressure operation. These features allow them to be effectively miniaturized. Combined with safe storage of methanol, this technology can open up the way for fuel cell-powered (rather than battery powered) mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other consumer electronics.

Mountaineers, hikers, and other outdoorsmen often use methanol as fuel for their camping stoves. Since methanol burns efficiently without the need of a pressurized burner, campers can bring very simple and compact alcohol stoves; some campers even make their own handy stoves from discarded cans. The simplicity and reliability of these alcohol stoves is an advantage in the wilderness. On the other hand, broken complex equipment in the outdoors can become a nightmare. Methanol can be processed into a gel, so outdoorsmen can carry them in their packs without the risk of spilling.

2022 Paint Waste Disposal Guide

Paint brings colors to the world. We use it to color our houses, buildings, and cars. We use it for our arts, crafts, and hobbies. It’s so common that we often take paint for granted. However, we must remember that paint and its related products are still chemicals and must be handled with care.

Most paints are either oil-based or water-based with each type having dissimilar characteristics. However, the common denominator is that the chemicals used in paints are often toxic and may cause environmental contamination or health problems. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paint are harmful to the environment as well as the people working around paint. Some kinds of paints are also flammable and reactive.

Because of such dangers, paints and paint-related products are considered to be hazardous wastes. As such, they should be disposed of properly. This article will discuss in detail about the nuances of paint hazardous waste disposal.

An Overview of Paint Waste Disposal

In the past, leftover paint was mixed together with municipal waste and discarded in landfills. This action resulted in hazardous compounds from discarded paints seeping into the ground. These compounds eventually entered the water table below the subsoil, often contaminating the municipality’s water supply.

In addition, the discarded paints’ active ingredients are either toxic or flammable or both. Fauna that accidentally ingests paint compounds may fall seriously ill or even die. Surrounding flora may absorb toxic chemicals through their roots. These dangerous compounds may be present in their leaves, fruits, and seeds which people and other animals eat.  Sources of heat such as a carelessly discarded cigarette, a spark from a welder’s torch, or even sunlight during a hot day can ignite the volatile compounds of waste paint. 

Old and used paint and paint products, therefore, should be disposed properly. In general, waste paint is often stabilized and treated to nullify the toxic, flammable, and reactive compounds. It is then solidified so that it can be safely disposed of in a landfill.

Because many brands of paints and paint-related products contain flammable components, these components can be extracted and recycled into industrial fuel. Paints may also be incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities before the ashes are disposed of.

Paint Waste Disposal Types: Industrial and Residential

Paints are both used by industrial facilities and residences. Each sector has its own way of collecting and disposing paints.

Industrial Paint Disposal

Manufacturers of cars, appliances, electronics, and other products often use paint to protect and provide color to their products. Because of the requirement for mass production, these manufacturers often generate large quantities of waste paint. 

Industrial facilities must strictly follow the guidelines for paint hazardous waste disposal in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for disposing paints. These guidelines are enacted and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through state departments and local government units.

Disposal of industrial paint can be done in various ways. Some of the most common ways are listed below:

Residential paint disposal

Households often have leftover paint from previous home renovation or repair projects. Family members may also generate smaller amounts of waste paint through crafts such as art painting or scale modeling. 

While the amount of waste paint generated in a residence is vastly smaller than those generated by factories, households must still follow the right practices and processes when it comes to paint hazardous waste disposal. 

Remember that it’s prohibited to discard paints in drains and sewer lines. So how do you as an ordinary household member dispose of leftover paint?  Fortunately, collecting and disposing household-generated paint is cheaper and more manageable than industrial waste paint management.

Disposal of Latex and Oil-Based Paint

How do you dispose of latex or oil-based paint that has been lying in your home or facility for quite some time? Here are a few tips on how to dispose of them:

Latex or acrylic paint

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are pigments suspended in an oil medium. It’s known as a popular art media, but it can also be used for more practical purposes. Enamel paints used to paint wrought-iron outdoor furniture is an example of an oil-based paint.

Disposing oil-based paints properly is difficult due to its non-polar, hydrophobic characteristic (i.e., it does not mix or dissolve in water). It also contains VOCs, which cannot be dried or deactivated.

If possible, use water-based counterparts rather than oil-based paints. However, if oil-based paints must be used, then you need to treat oil-based paints as hazardous waste. For disposal of waste paints, bring the containers to your nearest hazardous waste disposal facility. Alternatively, you can call a professional waste disposal service provider for safe and proper disposal for oil paints. 

Finally, as with water-based paints, do not pour oil-based paints down the drain.

Management of Paint Related Materials

You will most likely use other paint-related chemicals in conjunction with the paint. The most common ones are paint thinners and aerosol cans.

Paint thinners

Put used paint thinner in a metal can or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Label the lid as a hazardous waste. Wait for the sediments to settle to the bottom, this might take several days to weeks. Carefully pour the clear thinner in another container for reusing. 

The container with the solid sediments should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Bring it to your hazardous waste disposal facility, follow a curbside hazardous waste collection, or have a professional do it for you. The same process applies for stale, unusable thinner that needs to be disposed of.

Like paints, do not discharge paint thinners and its residuals down the drain.

Aerosol cans

For safety, it’s best to use every bit of paint to the point that there’s no more pressurized air coming out of the can when you press the nozzle. Completely empty cans with no pressure can be thrown as regular trash.

Partially full or completely full aerosol cans should be treated and discarded as hazardous waste and, as thus, are subject to local, state, or federal regulations. 

Do not puncture aerosol cans or subject them to heat even when completely empty. Doing either may cause the can to explode violently, which can cause serious injuries.

2021 Hazardous Waste Regulations

The RCRA contains the regulations that cover hazardous wastes including paints. The EPA enacts and enforces these regulations through its state departments. Local government agencies such as departments of public sanitation, public health, and safety use RCRA rules (or base their own rules on RCRA regulations) to regulate hazardous wastes.

Water-based paints are usually not covered under RCRA regulation because they are considered non-flammable. However, both oil and water based paints contain metallic pigments, metals, fortifiers, and additives. These compounds are considered hazardous wastes when disposed of. 

In addition, aerosol cans are regulated as hazardous waste when disposed of due to the oil-based paints, chemical blends, and propellants inside the canister.

The specific regulations for paint hazardous waste disposal and classification are too expensive to be adequately covered in this article. For specifics, check out Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


The world uses paint every day. It’s a useful commodity that brightens and protects our homes and cities. However, they do contain chemicals that could pose a hazard to the environment and a detriment to human health. As such, we should use them responsibly, from acquisition to disposal.

Steps For Safe & Effective Ways To Dispose Cooking Oil At Home (2022 Edition)

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shocking Waste Generation and Recycling Statistics Revealed: US in the Top 10 Highest Risk Countries


Did you know that each year the United States recycles about one-third of all waste created? This is among the key recycling statistics that provide a snapshot of other issues like plastic bag recycling statistics, landfill pollution statistics, and the global waste problem.

Various recycling statistics show it’s boosted its recycling/waste ratio in 1960, 1980, 2000, and 2010s. In fact, the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been tracking the USA’s creation and disposal of waste and showing stats for 30+ years.

When compared to other developed countries, the US produces a significantly higher amount of waste, and recycles a smaller percent. For example, the USA makes up 4% of the planet’s population yet produces a sky-high 12% of its city/town waste.

A Global Snapshot of Waste Issues 2021

In recent decades the international waste issue has worsened exponentially and affected figures like textile waste statistics. This has been due to various factors like:

The situation has resulted in waste generation becoming a major concern in terms of the conservation of natural resources and public health.

It’s also likely that such risks can be linked to worldwide companies. That’s due to the business activities being connected to solid waste creation, whether it’s directly or through indirect factors.

The global waste production is projected to increase by 70% by 2050, according to stats provided by the World Bank. This result can be prevented if people, organizations, and nations take urgent action. Humans now produce an average of 2 BILLION tons of waste every year.

The issue of global waste management is closely linked to overpopulation. It’s projected that by 2030 the world population will reach 8.5 billion. This highlights the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Such an approach can help to minimize the effects of human-produced waste on public health and Earth’s environment. Even in small efforts such as using compost to grow plants in your garden or setting aside certain household wastes for recycling.

Several factors such as pollution are creating a devastating impact on the planet’s ecosystem. This includes the general effects of air, water, and soil pollution. For example, chemical compounds in waste break down over several years.

The majority of this pollution is produced through motor vehicles and industrial exhaust. Today’s lifestyle generates such bi-products. Toxic waste is produced from various sources, including plastic, heavy metals, and nitrates.

The final destination of many plastics that each human being disposes of is the ocean. People often never observe those plastics since strong winds blow the pollution out to sea.

The current global situation involving waste and recycling poses some critical questions related to issues like recycling contamination statistics. That’s because the current year is shaping the industry outlook in terms of issues related to:

Some major questions that will be answered this year include:

The answers to such big questions are closely linked to various Waste Generation and Recycling Indices. They’re often combined with charts, graphs and datasets with dozens of indices that track key risks linked to factors like environment, climate change, and natural hazards.

Such datasets are part of a bigger collection of global risk indices. This includes various issues including environmental and economic risks.

A Waste Generation Index (WGI) offers a quantitative evaluation of a nation’s waste production. It factors in several critical waste types, including:

Who’s Generating All the Junk?

Population spikes are part of the problem in terms of the world’s waste production. However, other factors including mass human consumption by a small number of developing nations, and bad waste mismanagement causing the environmental impact to become exponentially worse.

In 2014 the average person in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) generated 1.4kg of waste per day, according to OECD stats. Not only do wealthier people consume more total goods, but they also consume a higher amount of packaging.

Based on global waste statistics 2021, the majority of waste in middle/high-income nations includes paper, plastic, and other inorganic materials.

Meanwhile, developing countries produce over half of the Earth’s total solid waste. This includes nations like Costa Rica and Thailand where tourism is a major source of revenue.

Global statistics show that the USA tops nations that fuel the worsening waste crisis. This is due to the nation’s surging consumption without an equal increase in recycling. The largest global economy shows a new index revealing the USA tops the world’s waste production, and ranks as one of the world’s lowest industrial countries in terms of recycling trash.

Who’s Generating All the Junk?

Today’s world waste statistics by country show the United States now tops all nations in terms of waste generation. This was based on two indices created recently by Verisk Maplecroft that included 194 nations.

The research examined how effectively countries are conducting waste management. This is happening in an era when the Earth is dealing with a crisis in which plastics are the major factor.

It’s worth noting that highly-developed North American and European nations all produce a relatively high amount of waste. The highest-risk nations in terms of waste generation include:

The world creates enough waste every year to fill 800,000 Olympic swimming pools. While the US produces more waste than all other countries, it also lags behind several other nations since it only recycles slightly over one-third of solid waste.

US Creates 3x the Global Average of Waste

This UK study found that the US generates 3x more waste than the global average. The USA produces an average 773kg/1704 lbs. per person of food, plastic, and hazardous waste. This includes 12% of Earth’s MSW, or about 939 million tons.

The amount of US-produced waste is staggering. For example, the figure is 7x higher than Ethiopia, which produces the world’s least amount of waste. Another key fact is the US is the only developed country that lacks the capacity to recycle produced waste.

Several studies show that US infrastructure doesn’t make recycling a viable option for households and companies, which affects recycling costs statistics. Due to bans on exported waste, much of US-produced waste is now burned.

US Generates 4x More Waste than India

China and India combine to make up more than 36% of the world’s population. However, they create 27% of the world’s municipal waste. Interestingly, Americans create more than 3x more waste as China’s citizens.

In terms of the total waste that China and India create the figure is actually higher than the USA’s. However, the two Asian countries also have a combined population of over 2.7 billion, which is over 8x the USA’s population. Thus, the amount of waste Chinese and Indian people produce is a little over 2x the amount of garbage that Americans produce.

The Recycling Index

Verisk Maplecroft created the recycling index as a way to manage recycling performance among 190+ nations. It helps to provide an overview of how different countries are managing waste.

The Recycling Index evaluates how well a nation is willing and able to maintain solid waste that boosts the “3 Rs” through circular material flows. The index is used to determine to what extent a nation’s recovery and recycling of solid waste will affect commercial risks.

The risks are measured by factoring in the ratio of a nation’s solid waste that gets:

Another factor that’s measured is the amount of governmental commitment, which is determined through adhering to world waste-focused treaties.

Several recyclable materials are evaluated when creating a recycling index. For example, in recent years scientists conducted a study to determine the amount of plastic that was

One key issue is that plastic takes over four centuries to decompose.

The study published in Science Advances projects that by 2050 the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish (pound for pound), according to National Geographic, It’s also estimated that just 20% of the world’s plastic was recycled in 2015.

Top Countries in Recycling Performance

Several European Union (EU) nations top Recycling Indexes. In global waste statistics 2018, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) teamed up with an environmental consultancy firm to provide data on the nations with the top recycling rates:

#1 GERMANY (56.1%)

Germany has maintained the world’s highest recycling rate since 2016. In 1990 the country completed a packaging audit to prevent a possible spike in landfall issues.

#2 AUSTRIA (53.8%)

Germany’s neighbor has a total ban on particular waste types, which lowers landfill pollution statistics. That includes products with a carbon emission rate (organic) over 5%.

#3 SOUTH KOREA (53.7)

This Asian country uses a system in which private companies collect waste for profit. This ranking in recycling statistics 2018 will likely change. That’s because in April 2018, China banned imported plastic waste.

#4 WALES (52.2%)

This is the smallest nation on this list. Local administrations operate Wales’ recycling, and most individuals and businesses follow similar rules about what they can recycle.

#5 SWITZERLAND (49.7%)

One key to the nation’s recycling system is the “polluter pays” regulation. This requires households/businesses to pay for all non-recycled waste.

The US Lags Behind Other Developed Countries

Verisk Maplecroft’s research discovered that the USA recycled much less than the world’s other developed countries. There are various causes of this scenario, including non-recycled plastics and developing countries like China refusing to accept US waste.

The research showed that the US only recycles about one-third of municipal waste. Meanwhile, the most efficient recycling country was Germany at over two-thirds of waste recycled.

The UK consulting firm reported the USA’s low recycling rate was due to various factors. They included a lack of recycling infrastructure and limited legislation.

Various nations and organizations have accused the US of blocking international steps to reduce plastic waste. That includes banning plastic bags and (single-use) water bottles.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (UN general assembly president) reported that non-governmental groups could still help to boost plastic recycling trends. That includes the USA’s private sector, for example.

World’s Waste Destinations

Foreign Plastic Waste Ban

In nations throughout the world, companies have been pressured to start dealing with plastic waste in particular. For example, several nations have passed legislation to reduce single-use plastic materials, including the items in plastic bag recycling statistics. Today 120+ nations now regulate plastic bags, according to a UN/WRI study.

The anti-plastic bag legislation varies. They include ones like bans, phase-out programs, and pro-reusable bag incentives. Still, each year 8 million metric tons of plastic pollution end up in oceans. It’s estimated companies make about 5 TRILLION plastic bags yearly.

UK and EU Announce End of Single Use Plastics

The EU parliament has voted to ban all single-use plastic by 2021 including:

Meanwhile, by 2029 EU states will have to meet a collection target of 90% for plastic bottles. In addition, by 2025 plastic bottles will also be required to contain one-quarter recycled content.

The EU legislation also states that labels will be required to state the negative effects on Earth’s environment of throwing certain items onto the street. That includes products like plastic cups.

China’s Waste Import Ban Effects

In the past, China imposed a waste import ban during late 2017, which affected recycling statistics 2017. The goal was to prevent foreign waste products, including plastic, from entering the country.

This step by the Asian country has resulted in waste exporters, including the US, EU, and Australia, from being unable to manage a large amount of generated plastic waste. This requires such countries to find new destinations for domestic waste and has resulted in much solid waste being imported to other developing countries.

Source of Waste Imported to China

Prior to its imported waste ban, China had bought the world’s most recycled waste for a quarter-century. This included nations like the US, UK, and Australia. This required them to find new buyers in regions like South-East Asia including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

This scenario resulted from China’s policy known as “National Sword”, the 2018 law that later affected plastic pollution statistics 2019 banned the import of various recyclable materials like plastic. Since then, the country’s plastic imports have dropped by 99%, according to Yale.

German Waste Exports

Germany has strict rules about sending waste to other countries. For example, recycling statistics 2021 show plastics can only be shipped abroad for recycling.

Following China’s 2018 ban on imported plastic, this resulted in countries like Germany finding new countries to export plastics. In fact, past data shows that in 2018 Germany’s garbage exports to Malaysia spiked 125%. The country exports to other South/South-East Asian countries. This includes sky-rocketing amounts to Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

US Waste Exports

Studies show that the USA produces more waste than all other countries. In 2018 u.s. plastic waste statistics show it exported over 1 billion kilograms of waste, according to Greenpeace. This included this waste fact: nearly 80% ended up in countries including:

The result of global waste statistics 2019 showed that the US export of plastic waste to many nations spiked after China’s ban on imported waste.

Latin America and Eastern Europe as New Waste Destinations?

Responsible waste exporting can include nations that produce little waste but also conduct good waste management. Several Eastern European and Latin American countries score a medium or higher risk for disposing of waste adequately.

However, investors might also have to deal with possible risks if they decide to fund the construction of new waste infrastructure in such countries. Nations in those regions with medium risk include:


Various studies show that the USA is the world’s biggest waste generator, while only about one-third gets recycled. This paints a bleak picture versus many EU countries with world-topping recycling/waste ratios.

Meanwhile, it’s possible for the situation to improve, including landfill facts, through methods like national and state legislation, improved recycling infrastructure, and private sector advocacy. These factors and others could decrease in the amount of waste produced by the world’s largest economy.

Some promising recycling statistics show the potential for improving the situation. For example, a 2017 study showed that 85% of Americans recycle plastic. The 2-pronged approach of reducing waste and increasing recycling would be the best recipe for success.

Waste and Recycle Resources

San Jose, California Hazardous Waste Disposal


Fun Fact: San Jose (Saint Joseph) is the most affluent city in the state of California. The city is well-known for its Mediterranean climate, and as Silicon Valley’s financial and cultural hub.

Because of its size and population, waste management is one of the city’s number one concerns, and chances are – if you’re from San Jose, then you might have the need to search for “waste disposal near me.” We’re here to answer that question and give you all the information you need.

The city’s hazardous waste is produced through business waste as the “capital of Silicon Valley.” However, the Golden State’s third largest city also produces a large amount of household hazardous waste (HHW). So it’s important to know where to dispose of old laptop computers, fluorescent light bulbs, and used motor oil.

Why Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

If you’ve never done online research to learn about “household hazardous waste disposal near me” then this section can provide all need-to-know info for this common query. This info can help San Jose residents know precisely when, where, and how to drop off your household hazardous waste and electronics waste (e-waste).

What Exactly Is “Hazardous Waste”?

This is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in various ways. Some examples include materials/products that catch fire, react, or explode in particular conditions. 

There is a cornucopia of many different other ways to define HHW. When hazardous waste is corrosive or toxic this is also considered as HHW. It’s critical to make sure your household is disposing of certain substances correctly including batteries, cleaners, pesticides/herbicides, paints, etc. 

Product labels can help you figure out if the materials are classified as hazardous waste. Some features to look for include:

Environmental Effects


HHW disposal often causes this type of pollution. Landfill waste can seep into soil and emit toxic chemicals. That includes plastic bottles that emit DEHA. This is a cancer-causing substance that can result in liver problems and weight loss.


It’s important to dispose of hazardous chemicals like bleach and acids properly. This includes correctly-labeled official containers. 

Meanwhile, when particular materials like plastics are burned in landfills it results in the emitting of various chemicals/gases. This can damage the planet’s ozone layer.


If solid waste like HHW isn’t disposed of correctly this can have a negative effect on land animals like birds, and marine life like fishes. The contamination can affect animals living in San Jose’s regions like the Henry Cowell River Trail. 

The most direct problem involves the natural habitat of these creatures including grass, trees, rivers/lakes/seas, and so on. An indirect effect is when marine animals consume stuff like Styrofoam cups, which can kill them.

Missed Recycling

In 2018 California recycled about three-quarters of all beverage containers, according to a report by the California government. When HHW gets disposed of properly it boosts how much waste can get recycled/reused. This can provide various benefits like job creation in the recycling industry.

Health Risks

Improper HHW disposal can trigger various problems linked to public health and San Jose’s environment. The California city is ranked #20 among the Healthiest/Unhealthiest USA cities, according to WalletHub (2018). 

When hazardous waste is improperly disposed of it can negatively affect people living in polluted areas and nearby San Jose landfills. In the city, “zero waste” refers to recycling 90% or waste landfilling under 10% of it.

Proper Disposal

When San Jose/Santa Clara employees dispose of hazardous waste they do it using professional methods and technologies. 

The entire process involves various factors that are affected by the knowledge, experience, and care the workers use. This can include various methods that change the waste’s properties, which result in safer hazardous waste disposal. These include ones like physical, chemical, biological, and thermal properties.

Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Center Location & Hours

Santa Clara County HHW Program

You can contact the program to set a drop-off appointment. This is a free service so there’s no need to pay any fees. The county offers take-back locations for different items including:

San Jose Environmental Innovation Center (EIC)

San Jose residents can drop off their HHW products at the city’s EIC. You can visit the green enterprise facility. This facility offers services for San Jose households that promotes clean tech. 

If you have household hazardous waste like tablet batteries, oil-based paint, and light bulbs (fluorescent) you can drop them off at the hazardous waste drop-off facility.


1608 Las Plumas Ave, San Jose, CA 95133


The EIC’s hours are:
Monday through Friday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed


Official holidays in San Jose include:

Electronics Waste

In California it’s illegal to dispose of electronics waste (e-waste) in regular garbage and recycling containers. Some examples include:

Santa Clara County offers various drop-off locations for e-waste. Such locations include official electronics recyclers/collectors. It’s required that you transfer e-waste to official disposal companies. This provides a safe and effective way to dispose of recyclable electronics. 

San Jose’s Junk Pickup Program accepts some e-waste. This involves direct collection at your residence. Make sure to review which “junk” the city considers as acceptable.

Operating Procedures for the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Drop-off Center

Helpful Safety Tips for Hazardous Waste Transport

HWW Drop-off Facility Procedures

It’s critical to find the nearest household hazardous waste collection site to your home. You should also be aware of the general protocols of the centers:

This might include different matters. You should learn whether the HHW center’s staff is able to help you unload household waste products from your vehicle. 

Another critical issue is what kinds of proof of residency the HHW collection site accepts. This could include a water/electric/Internet bill or photo ID, for example. These are required since local taxes fund the hazardous waste collections.  

One example is a small business HHW disposal. Some companies might qualify to participate in Santa Clara County’s Conditionally Exempt conditionally-exempt program for Small Quantity Generator.

HWW Drop-Off Location Safety Guidelines

Every drop-off center usually has its own guidelines and safety rules. However, here are some of the ones to watch out for:

Staying in car/truck

It’s common for customers to be forbidden to walk their HHW materials to the San Jose disposal site. This requires them to stay in their vehicle. You’ll probably be mandated to show your proof of residency, whether it’s a photo ID or recent utility bill, for example.

Adding waste disposal into carts

When dropping off HHW this is a common procedure that residents must follow. This involves exiting the vehicle then depositing the household hazardous waste into the designated carts. 

Typically there are various objects at the HHW collection center that boosts traffic flow efficiency. It’s important to know this info after using your favorite web browser to search “household hazardous waste disposal near me.” This includes various items like:

CDC Safety Guidelines

Residents of the City of San Jose should consider The Centers for disease control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines to help prevent the transfer of contagions at locations such as HHW collection sites. Masks and other face coverings can be helpful for preventing the inhalation of hazardous waste’s toxic fumes. 

The San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland region ranks #8 for high ozone days among 229 metropolitan areas, according to the American Lung Association. So it’s highly recommended to wear masks or other face coverings to protect yourself when exposing your lungs to hazardous waste.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events


San Jose residents can sometimes drop off different household hazardous waste (HHW). These events happen from time to time on particular days and at particular times. You can learn more by visiting the website of Santa Clara County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program. Make sure to call (408)-299-7300 to schedule a drop-off appointment.

Accepted/Unaccepted Household Waste

When HHW drop-off events take place the organizers provide a complete list of items that the event allows.  Some examples of items accepted by the county’s HHW program include:

It’s important for these materials to get separate disposal. This can help to prevent damage to public health and the Earth’s environment. 

As an alternative you can also visit one of San Jose’s HHW take-back locations. They allow you to drop off various items after doing online research about “waste disposal near me.”

Service Charges

When participating in city/county-sponsored collection events you typically won’t be charged a fee. The same policy tends to exist for HHW collection depots. The main reason is public taxes help to fund garbage collection and disposal, which includes hazardous waste. It’s also an investment in San Joes itself.

Deposit Limits

It’s quite common for municipalities like San Jose City and Santa Clara County to enforce HHW/e-waste deposit limits. This limit is set per household per collection event. Some examples include maximum quantities of solid waste or liquid waste that are accepted.

Business Participation

If you own or operate a small business your company might qualify for Santa Clara’s “Small Quantity Generator” program. This allows you to transfer dangerous waste to drop-off centers or collection events. You can call 800-207-8222 to set a drop-off appointment for your business.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Hazardous Waste & Electronic Items

The types of hazardous waste and e-waste that a particular drop-off site, collection event, or HHW program accepts differs based on various factors. For example, a collection event in San Jose might have different criteria versus a Santa Clara program. 

There are various reasons why a center/program accepts or rejects certain HHW/electronic waste. For example, it might be extremely difficult to process or very hazardous. The key issue is to research which items are and aren’t permitted when you Google “hazardous waste collection near me.”

Acceptable Hazardous Waste

Make sure to review a particular city, county, or program’s list of accepted items. For example, Santa Clara County accepts these types of hazardous waste through collections:

It’s important to contact a HHW collection group to find out whether or not they’ll accept certain gray-area items like latex paint. This type of paint generally isn’t considered as hazardous waste.

Unacceptable Hazardous Waste

These items aren’t accepted by Santa Clara County’s HHW collection program:

Acceptable E-waste


Hazardous waste makes up 15% of planet Earth’s total waste, according to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO). A large percent of this dangerous waste includes household hazardous waste (HHW) including computer displays, smartphone batteries, and oil-based paint. 

Residents of San Jose, California can improve the situation by disposing of hazardous waste properly. This process can include drop-off centers, collection events, and “Wastemobile” pickups. This can help to keep Silicon Valley’s unofficial capital as clean, safe, and “green” as possible. 

As always it’s important to handle the storage, transport, and disposal of HHW in the safest manner possible. This includes taking steps like storing hazardous waste in sealed containers, following specific guidelines when dropping off items at HHW centers, and even following the reduce, reuse and recycle guidelines after you search for “hazardous waste collection near me.”

San Diego, California Hazardous Waste Disposal

The City of San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and the 2nd largest city in the state of California. With an estimated population of 1.4 million from a July 2019 survey, the city naturally takes hazardous waste disposal very seriously. Violators of laws and regulations related to hazardous waste disposal carry corresponding sanctions, fines and other serious legal consequences.

In fact, random inspections of the city’s commercial and residential refuse are conducted by the City of San Diego’s Hazardous Substances Enforcement Team. They are responsible for ensuring that unacceptable hazardous waste types are not disposed of in the city’s Miramar Landfill. Thanks to these inspections, 16 tons of unacceptable hazardous waste was diverted successfully during the fiscal year of 2019.

If you are managing a business that generates hazardous waste or if you are simply looking to see where and how you can dispose of household hazardous waste then this article will be helpful for you. This article provides a brief yet comprehensive guide on hazardous waste disposal in the City of San Diego.

Hazardous Waste Disposal & Collection

If you’ve ever asked or searched online “hazardous waste disposal near me”, then this section answers this common query. This information is critical to make sure you know exactly when and where you can drop off your household hazardous waste and electronics.

What Does The City of San Diego Consider “Hazardous Waste”?

Hazardous Waste Definition

Waste that has properties that are potentially harmful to both human health and the environment is considered as hazardous waste. 

Because the definition of hazardous waste is broad and diverse, here are some important points to remember:

You can view specific hazardous waste regulations and statutes, at the DTSC Laws page. You can also visit the California Hazardous Waste Codes for a complete list of codes.

Where & How Should I Dispose of Hazardous Waste in San Diego?

Business-Generated Hazardous Waste

This type of hazardous waste is generated by businesses that generate, produce or utilize materials and substances that are considered hazardous waste. Common examples are:

Proper Disposal of Business-Generated Hazardous Waste

The State of California does not permit the City of San Diego’s Household Hazardous Materials Program to accept any type of business-generated hazardous waste. However, the City does offer disposal services to Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators or (CESQGs).

Is your business or facility a small or large quantity hazardous waste generator? This depends on the amount of hazardous waste produced per month.

Find out which Waste Generator Class your business or facility belongs to. See Hazardous Waste Generator Classes here.

If you require information, it is recommended for you to contact the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Management Division, Duty Specialist, at (858) 505-6880.

Household Hazardous Waste

Common household hazardous waste include used, discarded or expired paints, household cleaners, paints, lighter fluid, pool chemicals, antifreeze, diesel fuel, gasoline and kerosene. 

Products labeled “danger, warning, poison, caution, flammable and corrosive,” are considered household hazardous waste. In addition, it was declared on Feb. 9, 2006, that universal wastes including fluorescent light bulbs, household batteries and items that contain mercury are not allowed to be disposed of in the trash, as well.

Where & How Should I Dispose Of Household Hazardous Waste in San Diego?

According to the City of San Diego’s waste management regulations, it is illegal to dispose of any household hazardous waste in a trash bin or at the landfill. 

For correct disposal of household hazardous wastes and universal wastes, the City of San Diego’s residents are required to contact San Diego’s Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility. 

The facility is located by the entrance of the Miramar Landfill and is operated by the San Diego Environmental Services Department. Residents are required to make an appointment with the facility by contacting (858) 694-7000 (Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). They are open on Saturdays to those with appointments only.

Other than making an appointment, you also need to know what type of waste the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility accepts or doesn’t accept. Here is the information you need:

Acceptable Household Hazardous Wastes

All products used in the routine maintenance of your home, yard, or vehicle are considered household hazardous waste when discarded. You can easily identify these products because these would be usually labeled: “Danger”, “Warning”, “Caution”, “Poison”, “Flammable”, or “Corrosive”.

Unacceptable Household Hazardous Wastes

If you require assistance with any unacceptable wastes, the proper instructions are to enter your information on the “HHW Transfer Facility Appointment screen and an Inspector will contact you within three (3) business days.”

How Much HHW Can I Dispose Of?

For safety purposes, a maximum of 15 gallons of HHW (125 lbs.) is allowable for transport to the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility. This weight requirement refers to the contents of the container and not the size of the container itself.

Where Can I Drop Off Electronics Waste & Appliances?

It’s illegal in the state of California to dispose of any electronic devices in regular garbage/recycling containers. This includes items like:

Various e-waste recycling locations throughout the city accept e-waste. In addition, San Diego also hosts various clean-up events throughout the year.

Acceptable Electronic Waste

The City of San Diego doesn’t accept e-waste. It recommends electronic waste recycling for the following items:

Acceptable Appliances

These are typically permitted at HHW centers, however, it’s always prudent to contact the facility before dropping them off.

These items contain either HCFC or CFC refrigerants based on when they were manufactured. The EPA website provides information about CFC dangers. 

To find an e-waste recycling facility close to you, the City of San Diego recommends for you to use this locator from CalRecycle.

Hazardous Wastes That Require Pre Approval

If you are a resident of the City of San Diego or if you own a business, and you generate the following wastes, you need pre approval before disposal:

You are required to complete a Special Waste Disposal Request and attach required supporting documents. It takes about 24 hours to process before your load can be scheduled for disposal. Manifest and handling fees apply. 

For information on the disposal of business generated hazardous wastes, contact the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division at 858-505-6880 and for chemical emergencies call 911.


If you have unacceptable waste that needs to be disposed of or if you need to dispose of waste that is more than the allowable amount, you can contact the San Diego Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility at 858-694-7000.

You can also find all the information you need here.

You can also contact local HHW centers around San Diego. For accurate information, you can find the closest HHW Drop-Off Facilities from Earth911.com.

What Are Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events?

In some situations, San Diego residents are allowed to drop off various household hazardous waste. These hazardous waste collection events happen periodically on certain days and certain times. 

For example, the Environmental Services Department of San Diego offers one-day collection events during the year. This is supported through a California State’s grant from the Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery (CalRecycle). 

Here’s information about acceptable, unacceptable and deposit limits for the City of San Diego’s HHW collection events:

Acceptable/Unacceptable HHW

The drop-off event organizers will provide a complete list of items that are accepted during the waste disposal event. Take some time to review the list, so you’ll know what is and isn’t allowed by the event’s organizers. Some possible accepted items include:

Make sure to contact the event’s organizers. In some situations, another disposal option is necessary.

Deposit Limits

It’s quite common for a drop-off center to impose a limit on how much waste it will collect from individual households. This could include a maximum amount of liquid waste or solid waste accepted.

Service Charges

San Diego city doesn’t charge any fees for items dropped off at the HHW collection centers. The government perceives these events as an investment in public health and the local environment.

Business Participation

Businesses typically aren’t permitted to participate in these events. However, the events’ sponsors often provide low-cost options for the proper disposal of business waste.

The City of San Diego’s official website posts regular upcoming HHW collection events here: Upcoming One Day Collection Events.

Safety Tips For Transporting Hazardous Waste

Other than finding the closest hazardous waste collection near you, it’s also important to know general SOP’s:

Each drop-off center will likely have different safety rules/guidelines. Here are some of the most common ones:

Look out for items used to improve traffic flow. This includes different items like:

For tips, information and details about household hazardous waste in San Diego, you can visit their official Household Hazardous Waste webpage.

Why Should I Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste and Electronics?

Health Risks

The dangers of improperly disposing of hazardous wastes might not be apparent at first. However, improper disposal of household wastes can cause issues related to public health and San Diego’s environment.

 Several possible health-related issues can result from improper disposal. The health of people living in areas nearby landfills or polluted areas can also be negatively affected. 

For example, the Miramar Landfill collects nearly 910,000 tons of garbage every year. Landfill workers cover the California city’s garbage daily while complying with city/state environmental and regulatory requirements.

 San Diego sanitation workers and landfill employees are at a higher risk. Possible health issues include blood infections, breathing problems, skin irritations, and growth issues.

Air Contamination

Household waste that contains hazardous chemicals like acids and bleach should be properly disposed of. The items should also be disposed of in official containers with proper labels.

 When certain plastics and papers are incinerated in landfills, this can give off gas/chemicals that can damage the Earth’s ozone layer.

 Dioxin-releasing wastes can also cause health risks when they’re emitted into the air. This can cause health considerations when they’re inhaled. Yet another possible issue is when decomposing wastes give off methane gases.

This situation is especially critical for San Diego. The region was recently ranked as the USA’s fifth-most polluted metropolitan area, according to a report by CBS8.

Soil Contamination

This is often caused by improper HHW disposal. Waste that ends up in landfills can leak into soil and give off toxic chemicals. This includes plastic bottles that give off a cancer-causing substance known as DEHA that can cause weight loss and liver problems.

Not only are plants themselves affected by soil contamination. California residents who consume plants can be negatively affected.

Negative Effects Animals & Marine Life

When garbage and waste are disposed of improperly, it causes negative effects on nearby animals and marine life, such as fishes.

 Land animals that eat grass near landfills or contaminated areas are at risk of suffering poisoning because of soil contamination. Meanwhile, studies show that household waste like Styrofoam peanuts can kill marine animals that consume them.

Advocacy group Heal the Bay ranked over a dozen San Diego beaches as among the top 33 most polluted beaches in the Golden State, according to the New York Times.


Modern homes produce a gargantuan amount of household hazardous waste (HHW). It’s critical to dispose of the big amounts of waste effectively since it can benefit several groups, including San Diego household members, sanitation workers, and local residents.

There are various ways to dispose of HHW such as drop-off centers, household waste disposal events, and Waste Mobiles. It’s important to know the rules and regulations about how to effectively store, transport, and deposit your household waste.

Furthermore, it’s also critical to know which items will be accepted or rejected when depositing HHW. Some items like fluorescent light bulbs, paint thinners, and cell phone batteries are often accepted. However, there are other items like radioactive wastes that typically are a no-go at drop-off centers like Miramar Landfill. Finding out the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) is as critical as learning about hazardous waste disposal.