One of the best means of avoiding exposure to household hazardous materials is to use safer alternatives whenever possible. Included in this section are time-honored recipes and suggestions to help you make the switch toward safer household products. Ingredients followed by instructions will guide you through an array of easy-to-make, easy-to-use safer alternatives. Some ingredients recommended as alternatives are safer, but not nontoxic. For more information about using alternative products go to In The Home + Garage Safer Alternatives: Reducing the Risk and Alternatives to Pesticides
Household Hazardous Waste Frequently Asked Questions
Are there alternatives to using hazardous products?
Can you recycle empty motor oil bottles?
Not locally. Empty motor oil bottles are difficult to recycle because of the oily residue that is left inside the bottle. When these plastic bottles are processed they go over a series of conveyor belts, and the oily residue gets into the gears and can foul the system. The plastic is also not recyclable due to this contamination.
These bottles should be empty and discarded in the trash. If any fluid remains, please take to a Household Hazardous Waste facility or place into a securely closed clear screw-top milk jug and placed next to your curbside recycling cart on pickup day.
How can I buy recycled paint?
Call your local paint store to ask if they sell recycled paint. Habitat for Humanity ReStore also sells recycled paint.
Call Portland Metro at 503.234.3000 for a brochure and information about colors, prices, and sales location or visit Metro Paint.
How can I dispose of empty paint cans?
Empty dried paint cans can be disposed of safely in your garbage can.
Metal paint cans be recycled if all paint residue and any plastic and non-metal pieces are removed. Lids should be secured into the can by crushing the opening. This prevents the lid from falling out of the can and being lost in the recycling system where it then can contaminate other recycling streams.
How can I dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) properly/safely?
By taking HHW to any of the Clark County transfer stations during designated collection days and times.
Business generated hazardous waste is not accepted through this program. Businesses should visit Small Quantity Generators (SQG) or contact the Clark County Solid Waste Program at 360.397.2121 ext. 4352 for additional information and assistance with hazardous waste issues.
How can I dispose of latex/oil base paint?
By taking unwanted paint to participating paint collection sites or by taking unwanted paint to any of the Clark County Free Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites.
Business generated hazardous waste is not accepted through these programs. Businesses should visit Small Quantity Generators (SQG) or contact the Clark County Solid Waste Program at 360.397.2121 ext. 4352 for additional information and assistance with hazardous waste issues.
How can I dispose of Sharps safely?
Throwing loose or containerized sharps into your trash or recycling container can hurt the people who handle your waste and others who may come in contact with them. If you use syringes for any medical condition, or if you use any other sharps (hypodermic needles, syringes or intravenous (IV) tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, and lancets), be sure to dispose of them properly. For information on proper disposal type "SHARPS" at www.RecyclingA-Z.com.
How can I get rid of old outdated medications?
How do I know what products are hazardous?
Before you buy a product - read the label.
Make sure that you understand what hazards, if any, are associated with the product, its use, or its disposal. Look for the signal words on the container and buy the least hazardous product.
For pesticides, "DANGER" means highly toxic, "WARNING" OR "CAUTION" moderately toxic and "CAUTION" slightly toxic.
For household products, "POISON" means highly toxic, "DANGER" toxic, "WARNING" or "CAUTION" less toxic. For more information on identifying hazardous products go to Hazardous Materials In Your Home.
What are the dangers of improper disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW)?
Household hazardous wastes when disposed of improperly (pouring wastes down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or putting them out with the trash) can effect human health and the environment.
The dangers of improper disposal may not be immediately obvious, but certain types of household hazardous waste have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers; contaminate ground water at landfills; 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.
For information on using hazardous materials safely and other safety related information go to Hazardous Materials in Your Home.
Where can I dispose of used motor oil or used antifreeze?
If you have curbside recycling service at your home pour the used oil or antifreeze carefully into a clean plastic milk jug (remember to use separate containers for the oil and antifreeze, do not mix them) and screw the lid on tightly. Then place the jug(s) next to your recycling bins.
If you live in a multifamily complex (apartments or trailer parks), check with your manager about leaving oil or antifreeze with the recycling. If allowed, place the jug of motor oil or antifreeze next to the recycling carts. Please do not put inside the carts because the oil will leak when collected and contaminate the rest of the recyclable material and pose a hazard to human and environmental health.
If you do not have curbside recycling or live in a multifamily complex that does not allow the service, pour the used oil or antifreeze into separate containers (do not mix oil and antifreeze) with a secure screw-top lid for safe transportation to a household hazardous waste facility or other drop off location.
Go go Recycling A-Z and type "motor oil" or "antifreeze" into the search tool to find drop off locations.
Where does it go next? Since oil gets dirty and never breaks down, it can be cleaned and reused at refineries or it can be blended and used as an alternative fuel source.
Where can I purchase re-refined motor oil?
For information on where you may purchase re-refined motor oil, or have your vehicle's oil changed with re-refined motor oil enter Re-Refined Oil at Recycling A-Z.
Where can I recycle computer components, TV's and other electronic devices?
Clark County residents can recycle their old computers, computer monitors, laptops, televisions, and monitors for FREE through the E-Cycle Washington program at one of the local E-Cycle Washington collection sites. To find a recycler for other electronics such as stereo equipment, computer keyboards, and printers visit Recycling A-Z.