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Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is typically comprised of unused household products that may explode, catch fire, or be generally harmful to the environment if not properly disposed. Some examples of HHW are paint, pesticides, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, batteries, and motor oil. For a more complete description of HHW, check out our HHW explainer. The following list includes some general guidelines for reducing the environmental risks associated with the use of these materials:

  • When purchasing paint, pesticides, pool cleaners, etc., try to avoid buying more materials than are necessary to complete the job
  • Avoid mixing leftover HHW materials with other products
  • Check product labels for safety and handling instructions
  • Consider donating unused HHW materials to local organizations

For more specific information regarding the safe handling and disposal of HHW, we’ve provided a section below with frequently asked questions you may find helpful. And you can always access our search toll by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I recycle my unwanted HHW materials?
Where can I recycle my used motor oil?
Can I recycle old unwanted batteries?
  • Call2Recycle is a terrific resource for locating the most convenient place to recycle both single-use and rechargeable batteries as well as unwanted cell phones. Visit Call2Recycle's Drop-Off Locator to find a location near you. Earth911 is another great option for finding convenient recycling options.
Can I recycle an old propane tank or cylinder?
  • If you have an HHW collection program in your community, check with the contractor to see if they accept propane tanks or cylinders. If you don’t have an HHW collection program in your community, search for local propane exchange companies, (e.g., Blue Rhino) to see if they accept tanks and cylinders for recycling.
Can I donate unused HHW materials?
  • Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores accept small and large donations of housewares and building materials. Visit Habitat For Humanity for more information and to find the ReStore nearest you.
Can I just throw my unused HHW materials into the trash?
  • DEP strongly urges residents of the commonwealth to properly dispose of their unwanted HHW materials. However, if your community does not have a collection program or you must discard the materials prior to the next scheduled event, you may legally discard them in your regular trash pickup, provided:
    • You have read the label and complied with any disposal directions.
    • Liquids have either been allowed to evaporate (if water based) or absorbed (if non-water based) on some material such as vermiculite, cat litter, or sawdust, so that there are no freestanding liquids).
    • The remaining residue has been packaged to prevent leakage while the material is being transported to the disposal facility
    • The material is placed out in small quantities, over several collection periods.

Additional Links & Information

For questions on specific disposal issues, contact your DEP Regional Office. You can also get additional information by contacting the PA HHW hotline at 800-346-4242.