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Managing Common Household Wastes



Many types of hazardous waste items used by households can be disposed of in household trash, taken to a Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) recycling drop-off center, or taken to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Below is an “A to Almost Z” list of items that you may need to dispose of, and how best to do so. Businesses generating waste similar to those described below are subject to different requirements.

An Alphabetical List

Aerosol Cans: Households can take aerosol cans to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Ammunition and/or gunpowder: Households can take these wastes to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. (Ammunition and gunpowder are not accepted at DSWA Weekly Collection Events)

Antifreeze: Antifreeze generated may be flushed down the drain with generous amounts of water, but only if the drain leads to a municipal sewer system. Do not pour antifreeze into a stormwater drain, onto the ground or into a septic system. If you are on a septic system, ask a friend or a service station on a municipal sewer system to dispose of the antifreeze for you. Antifreeze can be disposed of at any DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event or by calling 1-800-404-7080.

Used or waste oil services will often transport antifreeze for recycling. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Do not leave antifreeze near children, pets, or wildlife, and immediately clean up any spills as antifreeze is toxic when swallowed.

Asbestos: The Division of Air Quality offers information for homeowners with asbestos and asbestos-covered materials. The DSWA also offers information for homeowners.

Asphalt: Asphalt cannot be used as clean fill as it is not environmentally inert. New (unused) asphalt shingles can be donated to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

For other forms of asphalt waste, use a search engine or the “where to recycle” tool on Earth911 to locate and contact a local asphalt company who may be interested in reclaiming your materials.

If no local asphalt company is interested in reclaiming your materials, you may take your asphalt to one of the DSWA Landfills.

Do not put the asphalt in your residential waste stream without first contacting your municipalities waste management company to determine if construction and demolition debris (asphalt) is accepted.

Auto Repair: When generated by a household, many auto repair wastes can be disposed at a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Businesses generating these wastes can refer to Auto Repair Shop Waste.

Batteries, Automobile: Most of us use lead acid batteries in our cars, trucks and recreational vehicles. With use, these batteries run down and eventually die. Batteries can be returned to the battery retailer (for example Walmart, Pep Boys, Auto Zone, Sears, etc.) who will in turn offer them to a lead acid battery recycler.

Batteries: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Businesses will need to use a third party recycler, such as www.call2recycle.org.

Batteries, Rechargeable: Household use

Bleach: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Brake Fluid: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Cars/Automobiles: Contact a local scrap yard, or donate the vehicle to a charitable organization (e.g. Kars4KidsWheels For WishesAmerican Children’s Cancer Association) for a possible tax donation.

Chemistry set: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Cloth Wipes: Wipes that have been contaminated with solvents have special requirements.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs): Households can take CFLs to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Composting: The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances offers information about composting and yard waste disposal options.

Compressed Gas: Households can take small cylinders to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Computers: The Delaware Solid Waste Authority accepts computers, monitors, copiers, fax machines, printers, televisions and cell phones from businesses and households for recycling. Goodwill may also accept computers that are in working condition. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Construction Debris: Uncontaminated waste concrete, bricks, concrete blocks, cement, broken glass and/or clay or ceramic products can be used as clean fill or recycled. Contaminated concrete, bricks and blocks from a household can be disposed as demolition and debris waste. Household demolition waste requiring disposal is accepted by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority and the Delaware Recyclable Products, Inc. (DRPI) landfill.

Cooking Oil: Some private companies, such as Dover Products, accept used cooking oil from home and commercial deep friers for recycling. While not a preferred method of disposal, cooled cooking oil can be placed in a container and thrown away with household trash. Never pour cooking oil into drains leading to a municipal sewer system, stormwater system or septic tank.

Corrosives: Households can take corrosive waste to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Degreasers: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Dishwashers: Residents of cities and towns should first check with their municipal public works department for pick-up, if available. Rubbish removal, or garbage removal companies may collect such large “white goods,” for a fee. White goods are accepted by the DSWA at transfer stations and landfills.

Disinfectants: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Drain Cleaners: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Dryers: Residents of cities and towns should first check with their municipal public works department for pick-up, if available. Rubbish removal, or garbage removal companies may collect such large “white goods,” for a fee. White goods are accepted by the DSWA at transfer stations and landfills.

Electronics: The DSWA offers electronic goods recycling at drop off centers and at regular collections events.

Firecrackers: Households can take firecrackers and other fireworks to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. (Firecrackers and other fireworks are not accepted at Weekly Collection Events)

Floor Wax: Floor wax is accepted at DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events.

Fluorescent Lamps and Bulbs: Households can take florescent lamps and bulbs to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Freon-Containing Appliances: Appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers, called “white goods,” contain freon. If you live in a city, check with the city’s public works department for pick-up. If your home is serviced by a trash hauler or company, many offer one-time bulk pick-up services.  If you must arrange for your own disposal, search for “Rubbish Removal” or “Garbage Removal.” You can also contact the Delaware Solid Waste Authority for instructions.

Fuels, Waste Gasoline, Kerosene: Households can take unusable fuels to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Fungicides: Fungicides can be disposed at a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Gas and Oil Mix: Old gas and gasoline mixtures can be disposed, by homeowners, at a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Individual vehicle service stations may also assist in disposal. Businesses should contact a Delaware Permitted Hazardous Waste transporter. For a list of permitted transporters, contact the Compliance and Permitting Section, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Gunpowder: Households can take gunpowder to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. (Gunpowder is not accepted at DSWA Weekly Collection Events)

Herbicides: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Houses/Demolished Buildings: Construction and demolition debris must be taken to a DSWA landfill.

Hydraulic Fluid: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Infectious sharps: Sharps (i.e. needles and syringes) may be disposed of into the municipal trash stream provided they were generated by a household. The following steps should be followed in order to ensure proper disposal.

  • Needles and syringes should be placed in a liquid detergent bottle or coffee can.
  • When full, the lid should be taped on to the bottle or can.
  • The container, bottle or can should be double bagged and placed in the trash; preferably at the bottom half of the trash can to prevent tampering.

Sharps containers can also be disposed of, by Households, at a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Kerosene: Old kerosene can be disposed, by households, at a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Individual vehicle service stations may also assist in disposal. Businesses should contact a Delaware-permitted hazardous waste transporter. For a list of permitted transporters, contact the Compliance and Permitting Section at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Latex Paint: For small amounts of water-soluble Latex Paint (usually from a household):

  • Allow to dry and then it can be placed in the trash – recommend mixing with vermiculite (available at stores like Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart in the plant department), kitty litter or shredded newspaper to solidify.
  • Paint excess onto wood, cardboard, or other material and dispose in the trash.
  • If the paint is in usable condition, find an organization that can use the paint (e.g. donate to Habitat for Humanity).
  • The empty can, once free of liquid paint, should be placed in trash with the paint can lid off.

Lead, in Household Paints: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Lead, Scrap Metal: Offer it to a fishing tackle store; they may make lead weights. Search for Salvage Yards in the Delaware Environmental Navigator.

Lead Contaminated Waste Stabilization: Contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403.

Light Ballasts: Light ballasts may be hazardous if they contain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Businesses should call the Toxic Substance Control Act Hotline, 202-554-1404, for PCB disposal information. PCBs from businesses need to be transported by a permitted Hazardous Waste Transporter. A hazardous waste transporter permit is required to transport PCB contaminated waste in, out of, or through the State of Delaware. For a list of permitted transporters, contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Medications, Prescription: Households can take them to any of the permanent medication collection boxes located around the state, or to a Prescription Drug Take Back Event.

Mercury: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Mothballs: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Oil: Households can take used oil to a DSWA Drop-off Center that accepts used oil. Businesses or those with large amounts should contact a used oil transporter or a Delaware Permitted Hazardous Waste Transporter. For a list of permitted transporters contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Oil Filters: Households can take used oil filters to a DSWA Drop-off Center that accepts them. There are separate requirements for businesses.

Oil Based Paint: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. If you cannot wait for a collection event, use Vermiculite (available at stores like Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart in the plant department), kitty litter or shredded newspaper to mix in to solidify. Do this in a well ventilated area as oil based paint is ignitable and protect the open can from children, pets and wildlife. Once dry, double trash bag and placed in the trash can with the top off.  Another option is to brush or roll the paint onto old cardboard or wood and once dry, dispose in the trash. The empty can, once free of liquid paint, should be double bagged with lid off and placed in trash. Businesses should contact a waste reduction and disposal company or a Delaware Permitted Hazardous Waste Transporter. For a list of permitted transporters contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Oils, Dielectric: Dielectric oils, which are often used in transformers or as an insulating oil, contain PCBs and need to be transported by a Delaware Permitted Hazardous Waste Transporter. For a list of permitted transporters contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Oven Cleaners: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Paint, Bridges: Contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403.

Paint, Latex: See “Latex Paint.”

Paint, Lead: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Paint, Oil-based, Enamels: See “Oil-Based Paint.”

Paint Thinner/Solvent: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Businesses should contact a waste reduction and disposal company or a Delaware Permitted Hazardous Waste Transporter. For a list of permitted transporters contact the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, at 302-739-9403. In all cases, ensure the waste goes to a properly permitted facility and keep documentation demonstrating this disposal location.

Perfume: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Pesticides: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. For businesses, unused pesticide going to a recycler can be managed according to the requirements set forth in the Universal Waste Rule. If the unused pesticide is going for disposal rather than recycling, it must be managed and disposed of properly. Call the Department of Agriculture, 302-698-4500, for more information.

Polystyrene (packaging foam): Households can take it to a DSWA Drop-off Center.

Pool Chemicals: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Prescription Medications: Households can take them to any of the permanent medication collection boxes located around the state, or to a Prescription Drug Take Back Event.

Propane Tanks: The Delaware Solid Waste Authority, 800-404-7080, will accept used propane tanks at certain locations. Suppliers such as Keen Compressed Gas will often take used propane tanks.

Rags, Solvent-Contaminated: Rags that have been contaminated with solvents have special requirements.

Refrigerators: Residents of cities and towns should first check with their municipal public works department for pick-up, if available. Rubbish removal, or garbage removal companies may collect such large “white goods,” for a fee. White goods are accepted by the DSWA at transfer stations and landfills.

Smoke Detectors: Newer smoke detectors often include a label listing disposal methods. If so, follow the instructions. Several manufacturers offer recycling programs for Ionization Smoke Detectors. If the manufacturer of your specific detector does not offer recycling, the detector may be thrown away.

Solvents: See “Paint Thinners/Solvent.”

Spot Remover: Households can take removers to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Stains, Wood: Households can take oil based stains to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Styrofoam (packaging foam): Households can take styrofoam to a DSWA Drop-off Center.

Thermometers: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.  There are separate requirements for businesses.

Thermostats: Households and businesses can recycle them with one of the following Thermostat Recycling Corporation participating companies:

  • R.E. Michel Company 550 S. Queen Street, Dover, DE 19904 – 302-678-0250
  • R.E. Michel Company 501 S. DuPont Road, Elsmere, DE 19804 – 302-998-8880
  • R.E. Michel Company 32437 Lewes-Georgetown Highway, Lewes, DE 19958 – 302-645-0585
  • R.E. Michel Company 2220 Hessler Blvd., New Castle, DE 19720 – 302-655-7511
  • R.E. Michel Company 904 Interchange Blvd., Newark, DE 19711 – 302-368-9410

The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), a not-for-profit corporation, facilitates the collection by HVAC wholesalers from contractors of all brands of used, wall-mounted mercury-switch thermostats so that the mercury can be purified for reuse.

Toilet Cleaner: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Treated Wood: If the wood is in generally good condition it may be accepted by Habitat for Humanity www.habitatncc.org (302-652-0365) or contact the Delaware Solid Waste Authority for disposal (800-404-7080).

Varnish: Households can take it to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

Washers: Residents of cities and towns should first check with their municipal public works department for pick-up, if available. Rubbish removal, or garbage removal companies may collect such large “white goods,” for a fee. White goods are accepted by the DSWA at transfer stations and landfills.

Wood Preservatives: Households can take them to a DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.

 


Hazardous Waste Helpline

The helpline, 302-739-9403, is available weekdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Your calls, concerns or questions will be handled by a hazardous waste information expert.

For some items, you may need to hire a hazardous waste transporter and disposal company. The Department cannot recommend companies. However, companies found online using a search such as “waste reduction and disposal services Delaware” should find companies that will, for a fee, help you with your hazardous waste disposal needs. The DSWA, which regulated solid waste haulers, publishes a list of licensed Solid Waste Collectors.

Make sure the company you use has a permit to transport hazardous waste and that the waste goes to a permitted disposal facility. The waste will need to be tracked from your facility to the disposal site using a State of Delaware manifest.




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