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There are six easy steps you can take to properly manage HHMs and change your world.
How can I tell if a product is a HHM?
Labels on household products considered hazardous contain one of the following signal words: Warning, Caution, Danger, Poison. Signal words appear because household products have one or more of the following characteristics:
How can I handle Household Hazardous Materials Safely?
Information on handling specific products can be found on the product label. Labels will tell you what the product is for, how to use it, proper storage, the risks you are exposed to, and what to do if you have an accident.
Note: It is unlawful to give away or sell open containers of pesticides. Either use the pesticides until gone according to the manufacturer's directions or contact your Regional Collection Center.
All of us have household hazardous materials such as cleaners, oils or aerosols in our homes that require special precautions when using, storing or disposing of them. HHMs may pose serious fire, health or environmental hazards. To minimize risks associated with HHM products, read and follow product labels.
When Using HHMs
When Storing HHMs
Proper disposal is provided by a collection of facilities across the state called Regional Collection Centers (RCCs). Their packaging and disposal services are free to residents and eligible businesses pay a small fee. HHMs contain many of the chemical types found in industrial and commercial hazardous waste. Though individually less concentrated, when gathered together in the trash, in collection vehicles or in the landfill, HHMs can be as harmful as industrial and commercial grade chemical waste, which is banned from the landfill. Proper disposal is critical in protecting our health, sanitation worker safety and protection of the environment including fish and wildlife as well as protection of our drinking water resources.
What happens to my HHMs after I bring it in to the RCC?
The employees at the RCC will keep your materials in their original container, sort them by type (corrosive, acid, aerosol), then place them in 55 gallon barrels. These barrels are sealed and stored in an explosive-proof storage unit until they are picked up by a licensed hazardous waste contractor.
This collection of fact sheets lists some common household products; potential hazards, proper disposal options, and safer alternatives, where they exist.
Rechargeable batteries are becoming more common and our found in a variety of items in our households.
Although they last longer than conventional batteries they eventually lose power, and when they cannot be recharged, they need special handling. Due to the presence of corrosive chemicals, toxins such as mercury and lead, and charged electrodes, all batteries pose hazards and risk of fire, but the biggest risk lies with rechargeable batteries.
Rechargeable batteries cannot be placed in the trash and should never be tossed in your recycling bin. When an item is labeled "recyclable", that simply means it can be recycled in some way; it doesn't mean that it can be put in your recycling bin. Rechargeable, Lithium Ion batteries can be recycled, but only at specified locations.
To find your nearest facility contact your local solid waste agency, or Regional Collection Center.