Recycle and dispose of hazardous household products

disposal truck icon
Any product we use has a life cycle. Products are made, then used, then disposed of. At any point, products can impact your health and that of the environment and wildlife.

It's important to dispose of hazardous products properly to keep toxic chemicals out of the environment. Improper disposal can do harm to wildlife, ecosystems, and human health.

Learn how to:

  • Recycle hazardous household products through free programs.
  • Dispose of hazardous household products that cannot be recycled.
  • Understand why proper disposal is important.

Never dump or trash hazardous chemicals

Never dump chemicals down the toilet or drain. These go into stormwater.
If you have hazardous household materials, be sure to:

  • Never dump them down the drain, sink, or toilet.
  • Never put them in the trash.

Always recycle or dispose of products properly to keep chemicals out of the environment.

Unsure if a product is hazardous? See our tips to spot common hazardous household products.  

List of recycling and disposal programs 

Here is our guide to products you can recycle, where to take them, and where you can take other recyclables or hazardous household products.

  • Recycling programs are free.
  • Most hazardous household waste disposal sites are free, with some exceptions. Call your local disposal site to see their restrictions or fees.

medical waste
Medicine, drugs, pharmaceuticals

Did you know your medicine cabinet contains hazards? Be sure to store these items securely, away from children and pets.

  • Dispose of used or expired medications through Med-Project.org or other free take-back programs.
Product Where to take it?
Electronics
Used computer monitors, TVs, or other appliances
E-Cycle Washington
Fluorescent and mercury-containing lights
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), fluorescent tubes, and high-intensity discharge (HIDs)
LightRecycle Washington
Pharmaceuticals, drugs, medications
Prescription and non-prescription drugs, medicines, medications
MED-Project (free mail-in envelopes or local drop-offs)
Household paint (interior, exterior)
Latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based
PaintCare (free drop-off sites)
Recyclable (non-hazardous) household products 1-800-RECYCLE
Hazardous household products Household hazardous waste sites

 

Green leaf

How can you reduce your impact on the environment?

You may assume that you as an individual cannot have much impact. However, the more individuals that take small steps, the greater the impact.

Until manufacturers take ownership of their products and their product's life cycle, from start to end, we as individuals can do our part to lessen the impact by:

Factory with a green leaf
Are you a business owner?

Business owners can improve their impact on the environment too by:

Why is proper disposal important?

Toxic chemicals get into the environment through many pathways:

  • Using certain products results in traces of chemicals getting into the environment.
  • Making products can result in chemicals getting into the environment.
  • Disposing of products – they have to go somewhere.

Once a chemical gets into the environment, it can sometimes stay there, building up for years in the water, dirt, air, wildlife, and people. We monitor the affects of toxic chemicals as they build up to study the long-term impacts of toxic chemical use.

Persistent chemicals

We are finding that many chemicals are persistent (meaning, they stay in the environment for years), such as per- and poly-fluorinated substances (PFAS). It is estimated that all of us have PFAS in our bloodstream. These chemicals are used in a wide variety of products and are currently unregulated.

Chemicals overwhelm the environment

There are other chemicals, such as phthalates that, in smaller amounts, the environment can flush and neutralize. However, because they are used so widely, the environment cannot flush and neutralize the sheer volume that is regularly leaked into it.