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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 product labeled caution, toxic, danger, hazard, warning, poisonous, reactive, corrosive, or flammable.

Many of these products are common and can be purchased in stores or online for use in our home, garage, lawn, and garden. Because these products are common and easy to purchase, many people forget that HHW can be extremely harmful to their health or the environment.

Handling Household Hazardous Waste at Home

  • Choose non-toxic alternatives or select the least toxic products when possible. Read labels before purchasing products so you can reduce the amount of hazardous material in your home.
  • Buy only the amount you will use. Share products with neighbors or others so less is purchased overall.
  • Follow label directions and use only what is needed.
  • Store all toxic products away from children and animals in safe, tight containers. Make sure they won't leak.
  • Store away from extreme temperatures.
  • 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.

Visit Vermont Department of Health's Healthy Homes page for more simple steps to keep your home, and everyone in it, healthy and safe.

Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Solid waste management entities are required to provide collection events or facilities to residents and small businesses.

Residents: Contact your local solid waste management entity for a list of year round drop off locations and dates of seasonal collection events.

Small Businesses: Businesses which have Very Small Quantity Generator Status can contact your local solid waste management entity

Certain items such as paint, batteries, electronics, mercury thermostats and bulbs have convenient, year-round options for recycling at hardware stores, paint retailers, and some transfer stations. These waste products are managed with the assistance of product stewardship programs funded by their manufacturers. See additional details on our Product Stewardship page or our What Do I Do With... page.

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.

Transporting Household Hazardous Waste 

  • 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?

Small businesses that are notified as Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) may use HHW collection events and facilities. Please refer to the Hazardous Materials Program for assistance, and direct any questions to:

Drew Youngs, Hazardous Materials Program. andrew.youngs@vermont.gov, 802-461-5929

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.

Vermont's Household Hazardous Waste EPR Law

Vermont's new Household Hazardous containing product stewardship law will begin in January 2025. Manufacturers of certain household hazardous products will assist solid waste management entities with the collection costs for these hazardous products. See this HHW EPR page.