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Household Hazardous Waste

Think YOU don’t use hazardous materials? Look again.  Many common, everyday paints, cleaners, disinfectants, stains and varnishes, car batteries, motor oil, and pesticides are hazardous.

Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing hazardous components.  Hazardous material includes substances that are flammable, poisonous, corrosive, or reactive.  The used or leftover contents of such consumer products are known as “household hazardous waste.”

Automotive Items

Antifreeze Brake & transmission fluid Automotive batteries

Car wax / polish

Gasoline & other fuel  

Non-regulated auto care

Rust inhibitors  

Household Items

Wood preservatives Oil based paints Mothballs

Paint strippers

Stains Aerosol sprays

Household batteries

Ammonia based cleaners Floor wax
Solvents Oven cleaners Furniture polish
Paint thinners Drain cleaners Insect repellants
Photo chemicals Deodorizers Florescent light bulbs

In Your Backyard

Insect spray Swimming pool chemicals Fungicides

Weed killers


Household hazardous wastes are sometimes disposed of improperly by individuals pouring wastes down the drain, on the ground, into storm drains, or putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods may not be immediately obvious, but certain types of household hazardous waste have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers; contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets; and present hazards to children and pets if left around the house.  Not to mention the potential harm to everyone if they get into the storm drains and go to the ocean!

Here are some tips for safe storage, handling, and disposal:

  1. Reduce the amount and/or toxicity of products you use by selecting non-hazardous or less hazardous components that do the same job.
  2. If you need to use products with hazardous components, buy and use only the amount needed. Leftovers can be shared or donated.  For example, excess pesticide might be offered to a neighbor.
  3. Recycling is an economical and environmentally sound way to handle some types of household hazardous waste, such as used automobile batteries and oil. Some auto parts stores and service stations accept these items.
  4. Prevent accidental ingestion - Use and store hazardous substances carefully to prevent accidents at home. Never store hazardous products in food containers. Keep hazardous substances in their original containers and never remove the labels.
  5. Never mix hazardous products with other products.  This may cause a chemical reaction or even an explosion!
  6. Always follow any instructions for use and disposal provided on the product label

If you just can’t get away from creating household hazardous waste, the City and County of Honolulu has a program that can help.  For more information, visit the City and County of Honolulu’s Household Hazardous Waste webpage.

Household Hazardous Waste Brochure