No Household Hazardous Waste Events currently scheduled
What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
Household Hazardous Waste is waste produced in our households that are hazardous in nature, but are not regulated as hazardous waste under federal and state laws. Each person in Pennsylvania produces an average of four pounds of HHW each year, for a total of about 25,000 tons/yr. statewide. If carelessly managed, these consumer waste products can create environmental and public health hazards.
HHW is that portion of a household product that is no longer usable, is left-over or unwanted, and has to be disposed of. The labels on hazardous products typically use words like CAUTION, WARNING, POISON, or FLAMMABLE.
Types of HHW
- Cleaning Products: aerosols, bathroom cleaners, drain cleaners, chlorine bleach, solvents, spot removers, toilet cleaners, oven cleaners, rug and floor cleaners, furniture polish.
- Auto/Garage: car wax, starter fluid, solvent-based cleaners, antifreeze, repair products, brake fluid, motor oil, gasoline.
- Home Improvement and Household Supplies: oil based stains and paints, caulking, varnish, paint thinners, chemical strippers, flea collars and sprays, insect repellents, insecticides, kerosene, lighter fluid, lye, mothballs, pool chemicals.
- Lawn and Garden Care: weed and pest killers, herbicides, fungicides, and other lawn chemicals.
- Hobby Products: glues, paints, stains, finishes, contact cement, photographic chemicals.
- Personal Care Products: nail polish and remover, lotions and crèmes, hair color, and mercury thermometers.
Items That Cannot Be Accepted at a Hazardous Waste Collection
- Fluorescent light tubes.
- Pharmaceuticals and Sharps: Over-the-counter and prescription drugs; needles, syringes, sharps.
- Latex paint is not hazardous waste: Learn how to dispose of latex paint.
These items cannot be accepted at a hazardous waste collection. Call Westmoreland Cleanways at 724-879-4020 for proper disposal options.
A disposal fee will be charged to all participants, on a per-pound basis, payable at the event (cash, checks, debit/credit cards). Cost will be:
- $.75/pound for general public.
- $.65/pound for Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling members (existing members only; memberships will not be sold on day of collection). See the Become a Member page for membership information.
Residents of some Westmoreland County municipalities have the option to recycle their Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) curbside through their garbage hauler. As this service is built into the garbage bill, no additional fees apply, but certain materials may be restricted. Download a flyer with complete details.
Reminder: We DO NOT and CAN NOT take Hard to Recycle Items (electronics, scrap metal, Freon appliances or tires) at this collection. Just as we DO NOT and CAN NOT take Hazardous Waste at any other time at the Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling Center.
Some materials may no longer be in their original container, may or may not have a legible label, and/or be very old. The material may no longer be manufactured, may be illegal to possess or use, or be intended primarily for use by business and industry. These unusual materials warrant extra care in handling and disposal.
If you are unsure of what a material is, if the container is stable, leave it in the container it is in until it is to be transported to a HHW collection. If the package is unstable (corroded metal can, torn bag), decide the best way to encapsulate the material (glass container or heavy mil plastic). Wear chemical-proof gloves, long pants and long sleeves, and breathing mask. Ventilate the area, being sure to be upwind of a breeze or draft; but DON’T use a fan around powders. Encapsulate the material and store it where it can be undisturbed until it can be transported to a HHW collection. Wash well, and remove and wash clothing after handling any HHW product.
Managing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
The best method of managing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is to prevent its generation in the first place. This involves selecting the least toxic item “to do the job” and buying only the minimum amounts necessary. Download a list of safer alternative household products here.
Buying in large quantities is not a bargain if half goes unused and must be discarded. If the material is still usable (e.g. undamaged, still within designated shelf life), check with friends and neighbors to see if they can use it. You can also check with your local solid waste or recycling office for suggestions.
Proper Disposal of Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) Lightbulbs
Cleanup of broken CFLs is very different than old practices with incandescents. CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The EPA stresses that the bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home. To minimize exposure, the EPA recommends homeowners clear the room of people and pets, and then open a window or door to the outdoors for 10 minutes. Central heating and cooling systems should be turned off as well.
For detailed information on proper CFL disposal, check out the full EPA update.
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