Disposal of Cleaning Products

What do I do with all these household chemicals that I don't want anymore?  Read below for some tips:



Here are some general tips from Wasteless.org:

What Can Go Down the Drain
Homemade cleaning products are safe to dispose down the drain without risk of chemical, physical, or biological harm to
plumbing and wastewater treatment processes.

What Can Go in the Garbage
Any empty container (5 gallons or less in capacity) that has no continuous flow of liquid - it's both empty and dry - is safe to
dispose in the trash.

What Can Not Go Down the Drain or in the Garbage
The following should not be disposed down the drain or put in the trash. Containers of unwanted products should be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program: 

  • Cleaning products (e.g., products with words like "toxic", "corrosive", "flammable", or "ignitable" mentioned on the label)
  • Automotive products (e.g., motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluids)
    Garden supplies (e.g., pesticides, herbicides, fungicides)
  • Paints and solvents (e.g., latex and oil-based paints, thinners, strippers) - Do notclean oil-based paintbrushes in the sink
  • Art and hobby supplies (e.g., glues, photographic chemicals, paints)
  • Medical waste, expired or unwanted medications, and hypodermic needles



Some tips from Metro in Oregon: 

Practice safe disposal
If you have unwanted hazardous products that you are not able to give away, dispose of them responsibly. Some household hazardous wastes can be safely disposed in the garbage or diluted and flushed down an inside drain if you are connected to a sanitary system. Do not flush any products if you are on a septic system. Many products should be taken to a household hazardous waste collection site. 

Properly prepare household hazardous wastes for transport to a collection site.

  • Keep products in original containers when possible. If a product does not have its original label, label it yourself if you are sure of the contents.
  • Don’t mix products together. Dangerous reactions can occur when some materials are mixed.
  • Make sure products are properly sealed to prevent leaks and spills. If a container is leaking, secure it inside a second leak-proof container.
  • Pack containers in sturdy boxes in the trunk of your vehicle, away from the driver, passengers and pets.

From Environmental-Expert.com

There are several forms of safe and proper disposal for hazardous waste. The most common are:

  • Incineration. Hazardous waste can only be burned in special incinerators, which burn hotter than those used for other trash and hold the materials longer. These incinerators are also designed to clean any contaminated air or water produced by the burning process. Of course, the operators must prove their incinerators do all this safely in order to receive an EPA permit.
  • Landfills. Again, these are not the same landfills that are used for normal trash. They have liners and other protections against the spread of contamination. Even so, they're often viewed as temporary resting places for the hazardous wastes. No container is likely to be able to hold waste safely forever.
  • Recycling. Hazardous wastes, like other forms of trash, can sometimes be recycled and reused again for other purposes. Because of the cost and complexity of proper hazardous waste disposal, more and more companies are seeking ways to recycle their waste. But even recycling has to meet strict standards designed to assure that the wastes don't find their way into the environment.

A lot of scientists are working on better and safer ways to dispose of hazardous waste, including experiments with bacteria that 'eat' the wastes. But we can never forget that the waste is hazardous. So we must take every precaution to assure that our disposal methods don't cause a fire or other accident or create a risk to the environment or to human health.


Important numbers:

Poison Control (national number): 1-800-222-1222

For disposal info in Oregon, call your garbage hauler, local government solid waste department or the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at (503) 229-5913 or toll-free at 1-800-452-401.  In Portland, call Metro Recycling Information
at (503) 234-3000.

Outside of Oregon, call your garbage hauler, local government solid waste department or your state Department of Environmental Quality.

I haven't been able to find a national waste disposal help number, let me know if anyone finds one!



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