Common household products containing hazardous materials can pose a threat to people and the environment, especially when handled or disposed of improperly. Whenever possible, buy the smallest amount of material needed to get the job done or use a less-hazardous alternative in place of the hazardous product. If you can't use up a product, donate it to someone who can use it. In many cases, even products that have been stored for a few years can still be safely used according to label directions. In addition, some wastes such as used motor oils, solvents and car batteries can be regenerated or recycled.
For more information about alternatives to household products and protecting your family and pets, see how you can use less toxic products.
Visit the Ohio EPA recycling directory to locate recycling opportunities near you by entering your city, state and/or zip code and then a search term. You may also search for pre-set categories using the material search link. Search results may include curbside recycling programs, drop-off recycling locations, reuse stores and other service providers. Contact the facility or organization listed in the search results for details or questions.
Many recycling and litter prevention activities across the state are controlled locally. Use our recycling and litter prevention map to quickly find information for your county.
Aerosols/Propane Gas Cylinders
Never recycle or dispose of aerosol cans or propane gas cylinders unless they are empty.
Many household recycling opportunities accept empty aerosol cans. If the product is non-toxic, the remaining aerosol can contents can be discharged into a box (or onto trash) outside and away from ignition sources, children and pets. Protect your eyes and skin and avoid breathing vapors. Allow the box to dry outside, and dispose of the dry box and empty can in your regular trash or recycle. Caution: Do not dispose of the wet box into a closed garbage can - vapors can build up inside the can and could cause a hazard.
Propane gas containers can be recycled as metal scrap or disposed of only after the valve is removed by a professional and there is a hole that clearly shows it is empty. If you are considering refilling the cylinder, be sure to take it to a knowledgeable gas cylinder retailer or recycler.
Most appliances can be easily recycled at a scrap yard. Refrigerators, air-conditioners and humidifiers contain environmentally harmful refrigerants that should be removed before recycling. If the scrap yard is not certified to remove refrigerants, then you should have the appliance tagged by a certified refrigerator service company after the refrigerant is removed.
Contact your solid waste management district or check Ohio EPA's recycling directory to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you. You can also refer to U.S. EPA’s information about safe disposal of refrigerated household appliances.
Automotive Fluids/Used Oil/Other Fuels
Auto service centers and auto parts stores may accept some automotive fluids, including antifreeze, used oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluids from residents. Automotive fluids such as gasoline and brake fluid are dangerous because they are flammable or reactive. Contact your solid waste management district or one of these registered used oil collection centers to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you.
Retailers of lead acid batteries (car batteries) are required to take your old battery for recycling when you buy a new one, and many computer and retail stores will often accept rechargeable batteries for recycling.
Check Ohio EPA's recycling directory or contact your solid waste management district to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you. U.S. EPA’s Plug Into eCycling website is a great source of information about handling and disposing of used electronics safely. Their site also includes statistics and a link to the Electronics Waste Management in the United States through 2009 report.
Read more about electronic waste management.
For information about proper handling and disposal of fluorescent bulbs, including guidelines for cleaning up a broken bulb, see Ohio EPA’s compact fluorescent light bulb webpage.
Fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury and recycling is recommended. Mercury is also found in other household items, such as old thermometers and thermostats. Home Depot and Lowe's offer free recycling of compact fluorescent bulbs at all of its store locations. Contact your solid waste management district or refer to this list of computer, fluorescent lamp and ballast recyclers to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you.
Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste includes cleaning products, solvents/paint removers, stains/varnishes, unknown substances, as well as aerosols/propane tanks, automotive fluids/used oil/other fuels, batteries, electronics, fluorescent bulbs/thermostats/thermometers, paint and pesticides/fertilizers. Some household hazardous waste can injure 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.
Ink Cartridges and Toner
Latex paint can be dried out and put in the trash. You can purchase paint hardeners from paint and home improvement stores, or you can mix the paint with cat litter or sawdust. Leave the lid off to speed up the drying process and to allow your trash hauler to verify that the paint is not liquid. Do not leave open cans near ignition sources, pets or children.
Check Ohio EPA's recycling directory or your solid waste management district to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you.
Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control household and garden pests such as weeds, insects and rodents. Most pesticides are designed to work on a wide number of pests. This also makes the pesticides harmful to useful insects, animals and plants. Improper pesticide disposal can harm humans, pets, livestock, and the environment. Throwing pesticides in the trash, on the ground, or pouring them down the drain can pollute lakes, streams, and drinking water.
When you consider using pesticides, first ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really need a pesticide to get the job done?
- What is the least toxic product that I can use?
- How much do I need to buy?
To avoid possible health and environmental problems, carefully follow the instructions on the household pesticide container and use only as much as the manufacturer recommends to get the job done. If you must use a pesticide, it’s important that you use, store, and dispose of it properly.
- Ohio Department of Agriculture Pesticide and Fertilizer Regulation Section
- Ohio State University Agricultural Extension Offices
Ohio EPA regulations do not prohibit homeowners from throwing medications in the trash. However you should refer to the pharmaceutical waste page for guidance about proper drug disposal as pharmaceuticals may be misused and can damage waterways if flushed.
Find out how to recycle your old smoke detector here.
Sharps (Needles and Syringes)
Disposing of loose needles, lancets and syringes (sharps) into household trash poses a risk to family members and solid waste workers who must handle the waste. Ohio law allows for the disposal of sharps generated by an individual for the purposes of their own care or treatment at home. However, it is strongly encouraged that all sharps be packaged in an appropriate container and labeled to convey its potential hazard.
Ohio EPA's Disposal of Household Generated Sharps guidance document provides disposal tips to homeowners who generate sharps for purposes of their own care or treatment.
Illegally dumping scrap tires creates a nuisance that obstructs the natural beauty of Ohio’s landscape and can accumulate water, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit a variety of diseases to people and animals. Illegally open burning scrap tires can create immediate health hazards to persons with breathing problems.
These lists of scrap tire facilities and scrap tire transporters are available to see if there are local companies that will accept your tires. Most tire dealers and some Ohio EPA licensed solid waste facilities will also accept tires for a fee.
Yard Waste/Food Scraps
Yard waste and kitchen food scraps make up 25 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. Backyard composting is a great way to recycle this waste. Many homeowners find backyard composting easier than bagging their yard-waste, storing it and hauling it to the curb or drop-off center. This Citizen’s Guide to Composting has more information.
Your household’s trash service may provide yard waste collection. U.S. EPA’s website also has information on composting and a guide to creating your own compost pile. Contact your solid waste management district or refer to this list of Ohio EPA registered composting facilities to see if there is a composting facility near you.