Hazardous Materials

Photo by J. Owen, 2007

Did you know...

Americans generate 1.6 millions tons of household hazardous waste per year.

Household Hazardous Waste includes medications, cleaners, stains, varnishes, batteries, automotive fluids, pesticides, herbicides, certain paints, and many other items found in basements, under kitchen sinks, and in garages. Many of these materials are flammable, corrosive, explosive, or are toxic or poisonous to humans or the environment.

These materials need to be disposed of safely to avoid harming humans and the environment.

You can help!

Follow label instructions carefully

If you use products with hazardous components, purchase and use only the amount needed. Be sure to peel back the label and read all of the instructions before using any household chemicals. The label will include directions on the correct amount, proper application method, first aid, and more.

Dispose of hazardous products safely

Take leftover chemicals and household hazardous waste to the Whatcom County Disposal of Toxics Facility located near the Bellingham International Airport at 3505 Airport Drive. Never pour hazardous waste down the sink or storm drain; the chemicals can end up in local waterways or groundwater. If you throw them in the trash, the chemicals can endanger collection and disposal workers.

Get rid of your old medications quickly, safely and easily

Reduce pesticide use or use alternatives

Pesticides are poisonous. Besides killing bugs and weeds, they may also poison children, irritate eyes or skin, or harm birds and fish. Learn more about natural yard care options on our Gardening & Landscaping page. Choose mechanical weeding options whenever possible.

Use less toxic cleaners

Some cleaners contain hazardous ingredients that can result in skin, eye, and lung irritation. Look for cleaners that are less caustic and friendlier to both humans and the environment. Look for "green" and "non-toxic" cleaners, or products that are biodegradable. Also, remember that less is more. Many household cleaners can be diluted with water and clean quite effectively.

Recycle used motor oil

It's easy to recycle used motor oil. If you have curbside service with SSC, you can put it out with your recycling. Instructions are on the SSC website. You can also take used motor oil to the Disposal of Toxics Facility (see above).