Household Chemical Collections

Household Chemical Collections - Resources Guide

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PRC accepts many HHW items at our collections. This guide provides resources on:

  • How to properly recycle and/or dispose of some common household items
  • Alternate options if you can’t make it to a  Household Chemical Collection

PA DEP on Household Hazardous Waste (lots of good general information about HHW & proper disposal) 
PA DEP office locations

Local recycling information/events

Tip: Always check with local outlets to ensure availability of collection and recycling services.

Material Type

Resources Guide

Ammunition

Local, county or state police

Appliances

Non-freon-containing
Bulk item disposal—local trash collectors, municipality, scrap metal dealers.

Freon-containing

Automotive Products

Car batteries
Advanced Auto Parts sponsors a free battery-recycling program.
Car batteries can also be returned to the seller- they are required by law to accept them.      

Motor Oil

Always check with your local automotive service suppliers regarding their policies and programs. Many will take used motor oil as long as it has not been contaminated with any other substance (such as water or other motor fluids). Additional information is available from the American Petroleum Institute. 

Information on the importance of used oil recycling from Earth911

Other Automotive Fluids
DEP Recycling Hotline: 1-800-346-4242

Tires
There are several ways to dispose of used tires properly:

  • Return them to the place of purchase or any reputable tire dealer-a fee is usually charged for this service
  • Take used tires to a local tire collection event for disposal
  • Call your county or local solid waste transfer station/landfill and ask if they accept used tires.
  • Contact your county or local recycling center 

Liberty Tire Recycling consumer drop-off program
EPA on scrap tires & disposal

Tips to Reduce Tire Usage
If everyone helps out just a little, major progress can be made toward reducing the total amount of used tires generated:

  • Purchase tires with longer tread life
  • Rotate your tires every 4,000 miles
  • Balance your tires when you rotate them
  • Check for/inflate tires to recommended air pressure levels
    once a month or before every long trip

Batteries

 

 

Household
We accept typical household batteries (9-volts, AA, D, etc.) at HHW collections, but here are additional disposal options:

Prevention of Household Battery Waste

  • Check to see if you already have the batteries before buying more
  • Buy hand-operated items that function without batteries
  • Look for batteries that have less mercury and heavy metals
  • Consider rechargeable batteries, but remember that they  contain heavy metals such as nickel-cadmium

Bulk waste / Building Materials

 

Construction/remodeling/demolition waste—contact local landfill for disposal information.

Re-useable building materials can be donated to Construction Junction.

Cell phones

Cell Phones and Rechargeable Batteries

Tip: It’s a good idea to erase all personal information from your cell phone prior to donating.

Recycling/Donation options:

Many local abuse shelters will accept useable (non-broken) cell phones, which they program to dial “911” for use by potential abuse victims for their protection. Visit ShelterHelp.org and Wirelessfoundation.org for additional information.
CDs & DVDs

Although recycling for CDs and DVDs is not yet widespread, there are some options available. The following organizations will recycle them free of charge if you ship them at your cost:

Check www.Earth911.org for more information.

Compressed gas cylinders (including propane tanks)

 

Blue Rhino Tank Exchange- found at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Get-Go, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

  • Local welding supply companies—Jackson Welding, etc.
  • LNG, LPG supply companies—AGWAY, Air Products, BOC, etc.
  • Many businesses that sell compressed gas cylinders and some metal recyclers accept empty gas tanks for recycling- check your local listings.

Corrugated

 

If curbside recycling is not available in your area, please visit www.Earth911.org for recycling options.

www.corrugated.org

E-waste (computers, TVs, DVD players, etc.)

 

Tip: It’s a good idea to erase all personal information from your personal computer or laptop prior to donating.

Recycling/Reuse

Many local TV repair shops will take obsolete TVs for parts. You can also try calling local metal recyclers who will often take TVs for scrap metal.

Many counties operate electronics recycling programs or know of local collections taking place throughout the year. Contact your local county coordinator for information.

Explosives

Local, county or state police/bomb squad

Fire extinguishers & Flares

Local fire departments

Household Chemicals

PRC HHW Collections
Household Products Database
Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3)

Industrial/commercial waste

Hazardous
Contact HHW contractor from Business-to-Business yellow pages under “Environmental Services.”

Non-Hazardous
Contact local landfill or waste hauling companies for disposal information.

Light Bulbs

 

Incandescent (or “regular”) Light Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are not recyclable, contain no mercury and can be disposed of in normal residential trash. To prevent injury due to broken glass, wrap the bulb in newspaper prior to placing it in the household trash container.

Fluorescent Lighting
Due to the use of elemental mercury in fluorescent and neon fixtures and the potential exposure this represents, disposal of these tubes is of particular concern.

The mercury content of tubes with green or pink aluminum end caps and those labeled “low mercury,” “environmentally safe,” etc. can be placed into residential waste. A good safety measure is to wrap them in newspaper and secure with tape to protect the public and trash haulers.

Tubes with different colored ends may contain high levels of mercury that could leach into the environment. 

If no better options are available, residents are permitted to dispose of these tubes in their normal waste containers for landfill disposal.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
CFLs contain mercury and should be disposed of properly.

Cleanup procedure for a broken CFL

If you can’t bring your CFLs to a HHW collection, free nationwide recycling programs are available:

Pittsburgh, PA regional disposal outlets:

To locate the closest recycling centers to your home that accept CFLs, check www.earth911.org and www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling.
If you live in Pennsylvania and have questions regarding recycling and disposal of CFLs, please contact your County Recycling Coordinator.

If your local waste management agency offers no other disposal options, place the CFL in a plastic bag and seal it before putting it in the trash. Never send a CFL or other mercury-containing product to an incinerator!
Additional information on CFLs:

www.lightbulbrecycling.com

Medical waste

EPA on Medical Waste Programs and Regulations

Sharps (needles, lancets, etc.)
NEVER PLACE SHARPS OR NEEDLES IN YOUR RECYCLING BIN!
Place in metal or impregnable plastic and seal with duct tape; the sharps or needles can then be disposed of with your household trash.

PA DEP on hazardous waste

Mercury-containing Items

Quantities of Mercury greater than those found in household thermometers and small switches should be stored in tightly sealed containers. The PA DEP will collect these quantities - call 412-442-4000 and ask for the Emergency Response Program.  This only applies to mercury from households and schools - businesses need to utilize a mercury recycler.
Cleaning up a broken household mercury thermometer
PA DEP on mercury thermostats

Paint

 

Latex
Latex paint is not a hazardous waste. It can be mixed with kitty litter, dried and disposed of with your household trash.

Oil-based
These are hazardous and should be disposed of properly. Oil-based paint can be brought to local HHW collection.

Pesticides

 

The PA Department of Agriculture's Chemsweep Pesticide Disposal Program includes products such as insecticides, weed killers, fungicides, rodent baits, swimming pool chlorination products, wood preservatives, disinfectants, plant growth regulators, etc.
Growers, pesticide applicators and licensed pesticide businesses in selected Pennsylvania counties are eligible for CHEMSWEEP each year.

Homeowners are eligible to dispose of waste pesticides through CHEMSWEEP by participating in county-sponsored HHW collections(check with your county Solid Waste Authority for details).

Pharmaceuticals/Prescription Drugs/Personal Care Products

The environmental impacts of and proper disposal methods for pharmaceutical and personal care products is a developing issue. Currently, PRC and its partners are able to offer pharmaceutical collection events in PA as funding allows

For more information on this subject and a link to the Federal government's current disposal guidelines, please visit the EPA's Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products website.

Product Stewardship Institute

Plastic Bags

 

Polypropylene Plastic Caps (#5)

Recycle Caps with AVEDA Program

Radioactive Materials

Call your nearest PA DEP office and ask to speak with someone in Radiation.

Smoke Detectors

General Information
Many companies will take back their obsolete smoke detectors- contact the manufacturer for details

Residential
One smoke detector per week can be placed into your home trash.

Non-Residential

Solvents

 

Used solvents such as paint thinner and turpentine and be filtered with cheese cloth, the filtrate dried and disposed of and the liquid used again. This must be done in a well-ventilated area away from any sources of ignition.

Disclaimer: The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) has provided this information in good faith.Website addresses and other information are provided solely for convenience and ease of reference. PRC disclaims all responsibility for the content and accuracy of information available through such websites or for the continuing accuracy of website addresses, which may change over time and without notice.PRC does not make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represent that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.

Information presented in this guide is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credit is requested. Some of the information on this server may contain live references (or pointers) to information created and maintained by other organizations. Please note that PRC does not control and cannot guarantee the relevance, timeliness or accuracy of these outside materials.

PRC welcomes suggestions on how to improve this guide and correct errors.

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