How to Dispose of Household Toxic Waste and Hazardous Waste Properly

June 8, 2011 - Updated: June 8, 2011

Not everything we use on a daily basis is meant to be disposed of in a landfill. Light bulbs, appliances, building materials, old paint cans, construction waste and electronics are all considered either toxic waste or hazardous waste and must be disposed of separately from everyday household trash.   What is household hazardous waste and toxic waste?  

Household hazardous waste and toxic waste is a broad category that includes anything that is too toxic to go to the landfill with your regular garbage - despite the fact that it often gets thrown out with the household trash anyway. 

Household hazardous waste and toxic waste includes drain cleaners, batteries, gasoline, turpentine, aerosol containers, cleaning materials, medicine and pesticides.   Reusable hazardous waste and toxic waste such as leftover paint can often be dropped off at a local reuse centre if any exist in your city. Fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent lamps, while energy efficient, also contain mercury and cannot be thrown out with household garbage. 


Some big box home stores, such as IKEA or Home Depot, will recycle these light bulbs for you. Some Canadian cities may have designated drop-off locations for some items while other cities collect toxic waste materials - like electronics - on certain days throughout the year, larger big-box stores may also accept some hazardous materials and others - such as building and cleaning materials - can often be donated or even sold.  

Go online and check your city's official website to find out where and how toxic waste and hazardous waste is picked up. Googling "household hazardous waste" along with the name of your city should bring up your city's waste management department's hazardous materials information, which will let you know where, when and how these dangerous materials are collected in your city.


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