alternative products and materials when possible.
Only buy as much as you
need when purchasing hazardous substances.
If you can't use it up,
give it to someone who can. Schools and community groups
may be especially grateful for donations of paint.
Keep the product in its
Never mix different
Store in an 'out of the
way' location, away from heat and children or pets.
Ignitable wastes should be stored away from the house if
drains clean by using strainers and keeping grease, hair and
coffee grounds out of the drain. Flush drains weekly with
boiling water or a cup of warm vinegar. Use a plunger or
snake to free blockage.
the oven, sprinkle baking soda or salt on spills with water and
scrub with a steel wool pad.
toilets with baking soda or borax.
metal, rub with a paste of baking soda and water; polish
unlacquered brass, bronze or copper with a solution of equal
parts of vinegar, flour and salt. Rinse and dry.
non-aerosol products, such as pump sprays.
indoor air clean smelling by keeping an open box of baking soda
in a room, or leaving a dish of vinegar or vanilla in a room for
about an hour, or simmer in a saucepan of water pieces of orange,
lemon or grapefruit to freshen air.
windows with a soft rag or newspaper. Use 1/4 cup of
vinegar in 1 Qt. of water or try 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol in 1 Qt.
of water (use 2 tsp detergent for heavy soil). Spray it on
and wipe dry.
wood with a mixture of one Tbs lemon oil and 1 Qt. mineral
oil. Spray it on and rub in with cloth or just dip a cloth
in olive, soybean or raw linseed oil
porcelain using a nylon pad that has been rubbed with a cut lemon
or dabbed with baking soda paste or cream of tartar paste.
bathroom and oven cleaners, refer back to Acids and Bases.
your own whitewash for some jobs. The following recipe is for
wood, glass or metal surfaces:
15 pounds of salt or 5 pounds of dry calcium chloride in 5 gallons
of water. In a separate container soak 50 pounds of hydrated
lime in 6 gallons of water. Combine the mixtures, stir and
thin with water until it is the consistency of whole milk.
Yields 10 gallons and proportions can be reduced.
gloves, goggles and respiratory mask.
smoke when using solvents and never use them near fires.
excellent ventilation and work outside when possible. Do not
use solvents on hot, muggy days.
water-based products where possible - they require less cleanup and
or drink where solvents are used - fumes may absorb into food or
utensils and you may accidentally ingest them.
that is naturally weather - and insect - resistant such as cedar,
cypress, redwood, honey locust or oak.
construction techniques that protect wood from dampness or insects.
New York State Department of Environmental
like to think of our homes as our
castles. But when we do, most of us are not thinking of what's stashed
in the basement or garage or under the kitchen sink. Take a look
sometime. Do you see old cans of cleansers, paint, bug spray and used
motor oil? How long has it been since you used this stuff? How
will you get rid of it? These types of waste contain hazardous
substances that pose risks to the environment, wildlife and human
health. Hazardous substances have one or more special characteristics
potentialto cause violent chemical reaction
potential to ignite
potential to be dangerously corrosive
potential to be harmful to human health
Every year in the New
York State, more than 100,000 tons of these household hazardous wastes are
emptied into trash cans and end up in landfills or incinerators, or may be
dumped onto backyard soil or into small streams. Household hazardous
wastes enter the environment from many places such as kitchen sinks,
backyards, sewers, and landfills. When disposed of improperly, these
wastes can come back to harm you, poisoning air, soil, water, birds, fish,
large and small woodland creatures and even people and pets in the following
Once in the landfill,
liquid waste and rainwater can seep down through layers of trash
picking up contaminants along the way. This will cause
leachate to be more difficult and expensive to treat.
Streams and lakes, as
well as groundwater, can become polluted where rain, melting snow
and ice contact contaminated soil, sidewalks, streets and parking
lots. Storm sewers drain directly into local waterways.
residents of Dutchess County, we bear the responsibility to
dispose of our household hazardous waste properly in order to
protect and preserve the quality of our air and groundwater,
streams and lakes. In the following pages, you will find
instructions on how to SAFELY dispose of most of the household
waste chemicals you may have at home right now. You will
also learn how to REDUCE your use of these products by buying or
making alternatives so you'll have less to throw out in the
future. Follow these steps and you will be making your
home, your neighborhood and all of Dutchess County a cleaner,
greener place to live.
easy and it's good for the earth!
It is always best to avoid disposing of hazardous household
products. Try to buy only what you need. Look for
less toxic alternatives. Recycle when possible. Give
unused products to someone else who can use them (unless the
product is a pesticide which has been banned or restricted).
If you are left with a product which is unusable, banned,
unrecyclable, or which cannot be given away, look on the label
for disposal information. Be aware, however, that older
containers of pesticides and other wastes may give instructions
which are no longer appropriate. In cases such as these, or
if the label gives insufficient information, you may need to
store the waste until a household hazardous waste collection
program is held in your area.
Certain household hazardous wastes identified in the following
pages can be safely dried out or solidified. Cat litter
(clay type with no chemical additives), disposable diapers,
vermiculite and other products specially designed for use with
chemicals do not react with chemical wastes and may be safely
used as absorbants. Air drying should always be done in a
well-ventilated area away from children and animals.
Explosive wastes cannot be handled through household hazardous
waste collection programs. Explosives include not only
ammunition, but certain chemicals, such as picric acid, ether,
and concentrated hydrogen peroxide (household strength is not
explosive). If you have any of these wastes, contact your
local police department for further information.
This information is provided only for individuals who need to
dispose of wastes derived from their residential use.
Disposal of wastes which are the result of any commercial or
industrial activity MUST comply with applicable hazardous waste
NYSDEC Division of
Hazardous Substances Regulation at 518-485-8988 or
ON HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION PROGRAMS IN YOUR AREA:
Resource Recovery Agency 845-463-6020
Both acids and bases are corrosive materials and may cause damage
upon contact with the skin, eyes or respiratory system.
They may also react violently if mixed with other substances,
Acids are corrosive materials commonly found in toilet bowl and
drain cleaners, swimming pool chemicals and a number of other
home cleaning and hobby products. These are easily
identifiable on ingredient labels because they usually contain
the word "acid." Bases are also corrosive, and
may be found in bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, disinfectants
and other household products. They may be listed on labels
as lye, hydroxide, hypochlorite or a variety of other terms.
If the acid or base
is an ingredient in a useable consumer product, try to use it up
or give it to someone else who can use it. Do not attempt
to neutralize or treat the product yourself, as large amounts of
heat may be generated and you could be burned. Never add
water to an acid or base to dilute it, as this practice is
dangerous. Acids and bases should be saved for a household
hazardous waste collection program.
hazardous materials, such as spray paints or degreasers, may be
packaged in aerosol containers. This type of packaging can
be dangerous because aerosol containers may explode under heat or
pressure, spreading the hazardous contents and metal throughout
the area. Also, the tiny particle size makes hazardous
components easier to inhale and therefore more destructive.
Always try to use up the
product or give it to someone else who can use it. The
empty container can then be safely discarded with other household
If you cannot use the
product for its original purpose and the materials that it
contains is not hazardous, you may be able to empty it by
spraying it outdoors into an empty box or paper bag and allowing
the contents to dry. This must be done very carefully in a
well ventilated area because the aerosol produces very small
particles which may pose a significant health threat if inhaled.
If you cannot fully
empty the aerosol container or if the materials it contains are
hazardous, store it until a household hazardous waste collection
program is held in your area.
& BRAKE FLUIDS
The primary component of new or used antifreeze is ethylene
glycol, a toxic substance. Brake fluids are primarily
propylene glycol, which is similar to and should be handled the
same way as antifreeze. Pets and other animals are highly
susceptible to antifreeze poisoning because they find its sweet
taste very attractive. Therefore, it is very important that
antifreeze never be allowed to form puddles in the work
area. Antifreeze can also contaminate surface waters when
used antifreeze may be used as a substitute for
the water that would normally be used to dilute
the new antifreeze. Also, when replacing
hoses, the antifreeze should be captured and
reused. These actions reduce the volume of
antifreeze requiring disposal.
Unused antifreeze can be flushed if
your residence is on a sewer system or it can be
taken to a household hazardous waste collection
dispose of antifreeze down a storm sewer, into a
septic tank or cesspool or on the ground. It
will damage all systems as well as harm the
Automotive batteries, also know as lead acid
batteries, contain sulfuric acid and lead.
These components are highly toxic. Lead can
threaten groundwater supplies, and acid can
severely burn skin. Store these batteries in
an 'out of the way' place.
batteries are recyclable, and the improper
disposal of lead acid batteries is
prohibited. All lead acid batteries must be
recycled or disposed at a hazardous waste
and distributors that sell and change car
batteries are required to accept two batteries per
person per month at no charge.
charge will be imposed if you buy a new battery
and do not return the old one. Other garages
or scrap metal dealers may also be willing to
accept batteries. Depending on the market
price of lead, you may find that some dealers are
willing to pay you for your old battery.
Some landfills provide storage areas for used
batteries, where they are accumulated for eventual
There are many varieties of household
batteries. Small "button"
batteries, such as those used in camera and
hearing aids, may contain mercury, silver or
lithium. Common flashlight batteries, which
are usually carbon zinc or alkaline, may contain
mercury if manufactured before 1992.
Rechargeable batteries most often contain cadmium
and nickel. Each of these metal components
can pose health hazards. For example,
mercury is highly toxic when inhaled, swallowed or
absorbed through the skin.
Batteries should be securely stored out of the reach
of children or pets and away from heat.
Just about all types of household
batteries are recyclable,
small button cell batteries and rechargeable
Individual alkaline (a,c,d) batteries may be discarded with
other household trash or
recycled with the rechargeable batteries.
You can bring unwanted household
batteries to a drop-off location. For locations near
for a complete list.
You can reduce the number of
batteries requiring collection or disposal by using
rechargeable batteries, which last much longer than
Household cleaners and personal products include a
very wide range of products found around the home,
with an equally wide range of environmental and
always best to use the product up according to
directions. If you can't use it, give it to
someone who can. For products that must be
disposed, check the label for instructions.
household cleaners. Bleach and ammonia, for
example, react to form a deadly gas.
product is normally flushed down the drain during
use, as most cleaners and detergents are, the
product can usually be disposed by pouring it down
the drain slowly, with the water running. Do
not dispose of highly toxic or corrosive materials
this way. These materials should be saved
for a household hazardous waste collection day.
polishes, wood polishes and waxes, and other
solvent-based cleaners should be used up or safely
stored for a household hazardous waste collection
are flammable and toxic. Unusable mothballs
should be safely stored until a household
hazardous waste program is held in your area.
use of septic tank cleaners or drain openers
1,1,1-trichloroethane or dichlorobenzene. If
you have products that contain any halogenated
hydrocarbon, aromatic hydrocarbon or halogenated
phenol in an amount greater than 1 part per
hundred by weight, do not use them up. They
have great potential to contaminate groundwater
and should be saved for a household hazardous
waste collection program.
Mercury is commonly found in older thermometers
and some batteries. This substance is
readily absorbed through the skin and is highly
toxic. Mercury vapors can also be toxic when
can be recycled. University laboratories
often save mercury for recycling and may accept
small amounts to add to their own wastes. It
may also be recycled (sometimes for a fee) by
commercial operations. Unrecycled mercury
should be saved for a household hazardous waste
storing and transporting mercury, however, be very
careful to avoid any contact with it by keeping it
well wrapped up in a tightly sealed rigid
OIL & AUTOMOBILE
Used motor oil may contain toxic metals and
organic compounds. Motor oil that is
disposed on the ground or put into storm sewers
may seep into groundwater and may contaminate
drinking water supplies.
dispose of motor oil in the ground or
sewers. New York State Law requires all
service stations that change oil for their
customers and retailers who sell more than 1000
gallons of oil per year to accept up to five
gallons of used motor oil free of charge from
members of the public (unless their storage tanks
are temporarily full). This service may not
be limited to customers of the establishment, so
you may bring your oil to another station if the
one you normally use is full. Some landfills
also have used oil storage facilities available
for public use.
can be recycled. Service stations generally
store used oil in tanks until it is collected by a
recycler. Motor oil that is brought in to a
service station will usually be recycled or
otherwise handled properly. Your used motor
oil can be easily transported by placing it in a
clean plastic milk carton or similar container.
stations, though not required by law, may also be
able to accept transmission fluid, brake fluid,
diesel fuel or kerosene. Do not mix these
products together or with your used oil.
is toxic and extremely flammable and should never
be used as a cleaner. If small amounts of
impurities are present in leftover gasoline, they
may be filtered out using a strainer or coffee
filter. Water may be eliminated by adding
dry gas. It may then be diluted with fresh
gasoline and used as fuel. If the gasoline
cannot be used, bring it to a service station or
save it in a proper gasoline storage container for
a household hazardous waste collection program.
paints in use today are either latex or
oil-based. Oil-based paints, including
enamel, varnish and lacquer, contain solvents
which can damage groundwater supplies unless
precautions are taken. Latex paint
manufactured before August 1990 may contain
mercury, which may cause nerve and kidney
damage. Also, some older paints may contain
high levels of lead and can cause serious health
problems if ingested directly or through
contamination of drinking supplies.
disposal problems, try to buy only as much paint
as you need. When you have leftover paint,
try to use it up on a smaller project or give it
away to someone else who can use it.
Community groups, theater groups or schools may be
able to put your leftover paint to good use.
paints often contain much higher levels of toxic
metals than other paints and should not be handled
as ordinary paint. These paints should be
saved for a collection program. Aerosol
paints must also receive special handling and
should be saved for a collection program.
that are too old or in too small quantities to be
reused should be disposed of properly.
Non-mercury-containing latex can be allowed to dry
out and harden. This should be done outdoors
in an area with very good ventilation and away
from children, animals or heat. This process
may be quickened by stirring the paint frequently,
pouring the paint in layers into a cardboard box,
or "painting" old pieces of wood or
other materials. Cans containing hardened
paint can then be disposed with other household
trash, however, the lids should remain off.
The paint may also be solidified by pouring it
over clay cat litter and letting it dry out.
latex or oil-base paint or any amounts of paint
containing lead should be saved for a household
hazardous waste collection program.
Different colors of paint may be combined for
easier storage, provided that the paints are of
the same type (latex or oil-based). Make
sure that the label clearly states the type of
Pesticides are chemicals that are intended to kill
unwanted insects, animals, plants or
microorganisms. These products may also be
toxic to humans or pets. Many pesticides are
not biodegradable; they accumulate in the
environment and can eventually contaminate
groundwater and food supplies. Pesticides
include not only commonly recognized insecticides
and herbicides but also products such as wood
preservatives, flea products and some insect
pesticides have been banned from use by both
homeowners and licensed applicators within New
York State because they pose high risks to human
health or to the environment. Others are
restricted to use by licensed applicators.
These products should not be used by citizens or
carelessly thrown away, but should be saved for a
household hazardous waste collection
program. If the pesticide is not banned or
restricted, however, it is best to use the product
up according to label directions or give the
product to someone else who can use it for its
intended purpose. Otherwise, it should be
stored until a household hazardous waste
collection program is held in your area.
store pesticides, keep them in their original
container, wrap them in newspaper and place them
inside a double layer of plastic garbage
bags. Always keep them out of the reach of
children and away from heat and pets.
pesticide containers should be triple rinsed
before being thrown away. The rinsewater
should be saved and used as a pesticide. The
empty container should then be wrapped in
newspaper and discarded with household trash.
The following pesticides are banned or restricted
in New York State and should not be used or thrown
away (as of October 1, 1989):
(white or yellow)
and its salts
restricted to limited purposes
hydrochlorie (Carazol SP)
2. 4. 5-T
STRIPPERS & OTHER SOLVENTS
Solvents may cause serious health effects if they
come into contact with the skin or eyes or are
inhaled. Excessive solvent exposure can
cause a wide range of symptoms, many quite
serious. The most damaging are the
halogenated solvents, which are often found in
paint strippers, spot removers and degreasers.
solvents are recyclable, although this is not
always practical to do at home. Always try
to use up the product in its intended
manner. Paint thinners that have paint mixed
into them can be reused by capping the container
tightly and allowing the paint to settle to the
bottom of the container (this process may take
several months for large volumes). The clean
solvent may then be poured off the top and reused
and the sludge that is left can be allowed to dry
out (preferably outdoors) and then
discarded. Paint thinners can also be used
up by mixing them into oil-based paints or can be
reused after filtering them through a coffee
which contain chlor-, chloro-, or a similar phrase
in their chemical name are chlorinated, which is
one type of halogenated solvent. Other types
may include such phrases as fluoro-, bromo-, or
variations of these. These halogenated
solvents should be handled very carefully.
solvents should be stored for a household
hazardous waste collection program. If the
solvents must be disposed immediately, then very
small amounts (less than one cup) of non-halogenated
solvents can be evaporated by mixing the solvent
with an absorbant and leaving the solvent mixture
outdoors. When the absorbant is fully dried,
it should be wrapped in a plastic bag and placed
with other trash. This should be done
carefully so that children or animals cannot come
into contact with the chemical. Always
ensure proper ventilation when evaporating
Wood preservatives are generally a combination of
a solvent and a pesticide. These mixtures
are highly toxic and must be handled very
carefully. Pentachlorophenol and creosote
should only be used by individuals who have had
training in their safe use. Finally, wood
that has been treated with any of these products
should never be used as a firewood since toxic air
contaminants could be emitted during burning.
preservatives that do not contain creosote or
pentachlorophenol should be used up. If you
can't use them, give them to someone who
can. Leftover creosote, pentachlorophenol or
other unusable products should be left in their
original containers, placed in a double plastic
bag, stored out-of-the-way and saved for a
household hazardous waste collection program.
Photographic chemicals may contain a number
of toxic or corrosive ingredients and should be
handled very carefully. Photographic
chemicals that contain silver, such as
photographic fixer solutions, can be
reclaimed. Ask a local photographer or
photo-finishing lab if they can recycle your
wastes. Otherwise, the chemicals are best
brought to a household hazardous waste collection
Swimming pool chemicals contain chlorine,
acids, or calcium hypochlorite (an
oxidizer). These materials are corrosive and
may cause burns or injury on contact or if
swallowed or inhaled. They may also pose a
fire hazard. They should be stored
carefully, away from any source of heat or spark,
and saved for a household hazardous waste
Smoke detectors may be either photoelectric
or ionizing. The ionizing variety is
radioactive and may pose hazards to human health
if large quantities are accumulated.
However, single detectors may be safely discarded
with household trash.
& FLUORESCENT LIGHTS
Transformers & fluorescent lights
manufactured before 1978 may contain
polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs). These
materials are highly toxic and should be safely
stored. Fluorescent light bulbs also contain
mercury. Call American Lamp Recycling in
Fishkill, NY (845-896-0057) for proper
Asbestos has been shown to be dangerous
when inhaled. If your home contains asbestos
products, do not attempt to remove them
yourself. Improperly removing asbestos may
be more dangerous to your health than leaving it
undisturbed. If the asbestos is encased or
appears to be in a solid mass (not easily
crushed), then it may not pose any significant
health hazards. If you have any questions
regarding asbestos removal, you should consult
your local Health Department or a professional
Gas Cylinders can often be refilled and
many retailers will accept used gas
cylinders. Most local town transfer stations
accept empty propane tanks for proper recycling.