Use non-hazardous 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 original container.
Never mix different chemical products.
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 possible.
Keep 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.
To clean the oven, sprinkle baking soda or salt on spills with water and scrub with a steel wool pad.
Scrub toilets with baking soda or borax.
To polish 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. 
Use non-aerosol products, such as pump sprays.
Keep 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.
Clean 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.
Polish 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
Clean porcelain using a nylon pad that has been rubbed with a cut lemon or dabbed with baking soda paste or cream of tartar paste.
For bathroom and oven cleaners, refer back to Acids and Bases.
Mix up your own whitewash for some jobs.  The following recipe is for wood, glass or metal surfaces:
Dissolve 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.
Read labels carefully.
Use gloves, goggles and respiratory mask.
Never smoke when using solvents and never use them near fires.
Use excellent ventilation and work outside when possible.  Do not use solvents on hot, muggy days.
Use water-based products where possible - they require less cleanup and less solvent.
Never eat or drink where solvents are used - fumes may absorb into food or utensils and you may accidentally ingest them.
Use wood that is naturally weather - and insect - resistant such as cedar, cypress, redwood, honey locust or oak.
Employ construction techniques that protect wood from dampness or insects.
Managing & Disposing



The Facts on Household Hazardous Waste
General Information
Acids and Bases
Aerosol Containers
Antifreeze and Brake Fluids
Automotive Batteries
Household Batteries
Household Cleaners and Personal Products
Motor Oil and Automobile Products
Thinners, Strippers and other solvents
Wood Preservatives
Miscellaneous Chemicals

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

       FACTS on
     We 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 which include:





The potential  to cause violent chemical reaction

The potential to ignite

The potential to be dangerously corrosive

The 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 ways:
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.

     As 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.

It's 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 regulations.


NYSDEC Division of Hazardous Substances Regulation at 518-485-8988 or 1-800-462-6553.


Dutchess County 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, including water.

     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.





     Many 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 trash.
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.



     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 improperly disposed.

Clean, 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 event.
Never 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 groundwater.





     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.


Lead acid 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 facility.
Retailers and distributors that sell and change car batteries are required to accept two batteries per person per month at no charge.
A $5.00 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 recycling.



     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, such as small button cell batteries and rechargeable batteries.  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 you visit call2recycle for a complete list.
You can reduce the number of batteries requiring collection or disposal by using rechargeable batteries, which last much longer than non-rechargeable types.






     Household cleaners and personal products include a very wide range of products found around the home, with an equally wide range of environmental and health risks.
It is 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.
Never mix household cleaners.  Bleach and ammonia, for example, react to form a deadly gas.
If a 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.
Metal polishes, wood polishes and waxes, and other solvent-based cleaners should be used up or safely stored for a household hazardous waste collection program.
Mothballs are flammable and toxic.  Unusable mothballs should be safely stored until a household hazardous waste program is held in your area.
Avoid the use of septic tank cleaners or drain openers containing tetrachloroethylene, 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 inhaled.
Mercury 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 collection program.
When 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 container.





     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.
Do not 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.
Used oil 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.
Service 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.
Gasoline 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.



                                    IGNITABILITY        TOXICITY

     Most 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. 
To avoid 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.
Artist 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.
Paints 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.
Mercury-containing 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 paint inside.



     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 repellents.
Many 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.
To safely 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.
Empty 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):
Restricted Use:
(licensed applicators only)
Acrolein Methiocarb (mesurol)
Acrylonitrile Methomyl (Iannate)
Aldicarb (Temik)* Methyl Bromide
Aluminum phosphide (phostoxin) Methyl parathion
Antu Mexacarbate (Zectran)
Arsenic (inorganic compounds)* Monitor
Avitrol Nicotine Alkaloid
Azodrin Nicotine Salts
Bidrin Oxamyl (Vydate)*
Bomyl Paraquat
Brodifacoum (Talon) Parathion
Bromadialone (Maki) Pentachlorophenol
Bromethalin Permethrin
Carbon Disulfide Phorate (Thimet)
Carbofuran (Furadan) Phosdrin
Carbophenothoin (Trithion) Phosphamidon
Chlorfenvinphos (Birlane) Phosphorus (white or yellow)
Chlorophacinone (Rozol) Pival
Chloropicrin PMP, Valone
Chlorpyrifos Randox
Cholecalciferol (Quintox) Schradan (OMPA)
Cyanides Sodium fluoroacetate*
Cyclohexamide (Actidione) Strychnine and its salts
Daminozide (Alar) Sulfotepp
Dasanit Sulfuryl Floride (Vikane)
Demeton (Systox) Supracide
Diazinon* Terbufos (Counter)
Dicamba (Banvel D)* Vapona (dichlorvos, DDVP)
Dinitrophenol Warfarin
Dinoseb (DNBD or DNDOSBP) Zinc Phosphide
Dioxathion (Delnav) Zinophos
Diphacinone TEPP
DNOC *use restricted to limited purposes
Dyfonate Banned:
Endosulfan (Thiodan)  
Endrin* Aldrin
EPN Bandane
Ethion BHC (benzene hexachloride)
Ethoprop (Mocap) Chlordane
Famphur DBCP (dibromochloropropane)
Fenamiphos (Nemacur) DDD, TDE
Fenthion (Baytex) DDT
Formetanate hydrochlorie (Carazol SP) Dieldrin
Fumarin Heptachlor
Guthion Mercury compounds
Isofenphos (Oftanol, Amaze) Selenites and selenates
Lethane 384 Silvex (2,4,5-TP)
Lindane* Strobane
Magnesium phosphide 2. 4. 5-T




                                         TOXICITY       IGNITABILITY

     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.
Most 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 filter.
Solvents 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.
Waste 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 solvents.



     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.
Wood 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 program.





     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 collection program.


     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.



     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 recycling. 



     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 asbestos contractor.



     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.