WMD home
dec home > wmd home > HHW home > householdprods
Household Hazardous Waste
    Automotive Products
    Household Products
    Lawn & Garden Products
    Proper HHW Disposal
    Special Wastes
Business Waste   Reduction
Construction Waste Reduction
Hazardous Waste   Management
Mercury Information
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sites Management
Solid Waste
Underground Storage   Tanks


Household Hazardous Waste
Household Products

Cleaners --- Household Batteries --- Paint --- Pharmaceuticals --- Electronics --- CFLs, Lamps --- Thermostats, Thermometers & Mercury-Containing Products

return to all HHW Products page

Everyday, Americans clean and maintain their homes. It is during this process, that many people are exposed to hazardous chemicals without even realizing it.

For example, some household cleaners that are used to kill bacteria and to remove dirt, grease, dust, and stains are toxic to humans and the environment. The products are easily purchased and commonly used around the home. As a result, their hazardous characteristics are often overlooked. They include household disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, and floor cleaners.

In addition, projects such as painting and other major renovations use products that contain toxic chemicals or ingredients. Paints, stains, thinners and solvents may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) that are toxic to humans and the environment.

Cordless power tools contain batteries that have heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury (which are persistent and bioaccumulative toxics in the environment and in humans).



  • Always read the label for proper use, storage and disposal instructions.
  • Whenever possible use alternative non-toxic products.
  • Keep containers clearly labeled and out of reach if children.
  • Never mix products.




  • Whenever possible donate useable products to a friend or charity that might be able to use them.
  • Bring household products to your local household hazardous waste collection facility or event.


Where to take HHW:


Towns and solid waste districts hold hazardous waste collection events every year, two per year at minimum (spring and fall) and many common household hazardous wastes can be disposed of at these events. For more information and event scheduling, contact your solid waste district. Find contact information on the solid waste district contact list page. (Note: If you live in a village, fire district, etc., please select the town your village, fire district, etc. is in from the list. If your town is not a member of a district, contact information for your town clerk is provided.)

Solid Waste Management Districts contact list



Guidance for Proper Handling and Disposal of Household Pharmaceuticals for Household Consumers

Unwanted pharmaceuticals pose safety, health and environmental threats in VT and the United States.  Many people die each year in the U.S. from overdoses of prescription pain killers both from illicit and accidental access by adults and children.  Unwanted medications can pose environmental risks when flushed or discarded in the trash as their residue may ultimately end up in water ways.  As a result, it is recommended that household consumers use collection locations and events for proper disposal where unwanted pharmaceuticals are collected and then incinerated.  Below is a resource developed by the Product Stewardship Institute which shows collection locations throughout the U.S. including specific to VT.  Also listed below are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) websites.

From Product Stewardship Institute:

“To minimize confusion surrounding how best to dispose of leftover and unwanted medication, PSI conducted extensive research and outreach to key government, public health, environmental, and waste management stakeholders across the country. From that research, PSI compiled a robust, one-stop-shop online resource for consumers and community leaders who seek solutions. The Go-to-Guide from Product Stewardship Institute is also intended to facilitate information-sharing and promote coordinated drug take-back efforts from coast to coast. As such, it includes downloadable reference documents for public consumption and dissemination:

  • A consumer-specific fact sheet on the management of unwanted medication; 
  • A "Myths vs. Realities" document that clears up misunderstandings related to pharmaceutical take-backs;
  • A "Lessons Learned" packet aimed at guiding local governments and community leaders through the process of establishing voluntary drug take-back initiatives; and 
  • Mini case studies on voluntary initiatives in the Great Lakes Region.”


EPA Resource:  http://www.epa.gov/ppcp/faq.html

DEA Resource:  http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/index.html



Mia Roethlein

Environmental Analyst IV

Waste Management and Prevention Division

Solid Waste Program

1 National Life Drive - Davis 1

Montpelier, VT 05620-3704

Phone: 802-522-5926




VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138   Fax: 802-828-1011

State of Vermont Agencies & Depts.     Access Government 24/7     About Vermont.Gov     Privacy Policy

A Vermont Government Website Copyright 2003 State of Vermont - All rights reserved