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Household Hazardous Waste

Photo of a group of people collecting and sorting paint waste

What Is Household Hazardous Waste? 

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) includes any household products labelled “caution, toxic, danger, hazard, warning, poisonous, reactive, corrosive, or flammable”. Many of these products are very common and can be purchased from local hardware, automotive, and grocery stores to be used in our houses, garages, lawns, and gardens. Because these products are so common and easy to purchase, many people forget that HHW can be extremely harmful to their health or the environment.

Photo of a variety of products that are considered Household Hazardous Waste because they are toxic, including paints, cleaners, and glues

How Do I Handle Household Hazardous Waste In My Home?

  • Choose non-toxic alternatives when possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing products so you can reduce the amount of hazardous material you bring into your home.
  • Select the least toxic products available and buy only the amount you will use. Share products with neighbors or other community members so less is purchased overall.
  • Store all toxic products away from children and animals in safe, tight containers. Make sure they won't leak.
  • Store away from extreme temperatures.
  • Follow label directions and use only what is needed.
  • NEVER mix products. Mixing products can cause explosive or poisonous chemical reactions.
  • Always store products in their original container with the original label.
  • Never eat, drink, or smoke when handling hazardous materials. Clean up properly after use. 

Where Can I bring Unwanted Household Hazardous Waste For Proper Disposal?

Contact your local solid waste management entity for a list of year round drop off locations and dates of seasonal collection events.  Solid waste management entities are required to provide collection events or facilities to residents and small businesses that generate small amounts of hazardous waste and have Conditionally Exempt Generator Status

Pharmaceuticals can be disposed of at annual events or year-round drop off centers. The Agency of Health website has a map of permanent drug disposal sites in Vermont.

Also, paint, batteries, electronics, mercury thermostats and bulbs all have product stewardship programs provided by the manufacturers of these products which offer convenient options for recycling at hardware stores, paint retailers, and HHW events/facilities.  See additional details on our Product Stewardship page or our What Do I Do With... page.

How Do I Transport Household Hazardous Waste To HHW Collection Events & Locations?

  • NEVER mix products. Mixing products can cause explosive or poisonous chemical reactions.
  • Keep products in their original container with the original label.
  • Secure products so they won't tip or leak.
  • Keep products away from children and animals.
  • Store products in the back end of the car, away from the passenger compartment.
  • Stay in your vehicle during unloading.

What do Businesses Need To Know?

Some small businesses may be eligible to use HHW collection events or facilities.  Please contact the following programs for assistance.

Hazardous Waste Management Program - Department of Environmental Conservation
Environmental Assistance Office - Department of Environmental Conservation 

What do Schools Need to Know?

All schools need to manage their hazardous materials properly.

Are You a Facility?

Here is some guidance on what to do with abandoned HHW material.