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Household Hazardous Waste

Click here to access a Penn State University Blog containing information on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's CHEMSWEEP Program and dates of 2014 Household Hazardous Waste events in Pennsylvania.    

Most people regularly use products that are considered hazardous if not disposed of properly.  These materials need to be used properly, stored properly and disposed of properly.

What is hazardous? Materials that are considered hazardous have the following characteristics:

Toxic: causes health problems for humans or wildlife. Example: pesticides, insecticides.

Flammable/Ignitable: catches fire easily.
Example: gasoline, paint thinner

Corrosive: eats away at other materials.
Example: strong acids or gases, and drain cleaners.

Reactive: reacts violently with other chemicals or even air, water, shock or friction. Example: pool chemicals, chlorine bleach.

The best practice for hazardous waste is to purchase only what is needed and to use the product for its use until the container is empty.  Keep the material in the original container. When is material is left over; the product may be disposed of with your regular trash.

Watch for special household hazardous waste collection days.  In October 1999 Huntingdon County joined with Waste Systems International, Inc. landfill operator), and the Huntingdon County Fair Board to sponsor the first local collection of household hazardous waste. Approximately 64 persons brought material to be recycled or properly disposed.

For further information concerning hazardous materials please call the Huntingdon County Extension office at (814) 643-1660 or the Huntingdon County Department of Emergency Management at (814) 643-6613.  If you have questions about industrial hazardous waste call the PA Department of Environmental Protection at (717) 327-3636.

 Reduce Household Hazardous Waste & Have A Healthy Home, Too!

A number of commonly used household products are actually very toxic and should be avoided.  Residue from these wastes are among the most difficult problems associated with landfills.  Additionally, many of these products raise serious health concerns around the house. These products can also cause problems for emergency responders should there be a fire or other emergency.

Bug Killers Petroleum insecticides are all toxic. Some also cause long-term health problems associated with the nervous & reproductive systems.  A few also increase cancer risk Biological controls

Plant-derived insecticide prevention

Weed Killers & Lawn Chemicals Most herbicides are proven or suspected cancer causes.  Phenoxy2 (an Agent Orange relative) also causes nervous & Reproductive problems. Hand pulling of weeds or higher cutting discourages broadleaf weeds.  Enjoy spring time color of dandelions
Oil Paints, Paints, Varnishes & Nail Polishes Most solvents in these products are central nervous system depressants. Latex (water-based) paints, solvent free paints.
Solvents & Thinners Many of these can cause nervous system and liver damage. Biodegradable solvents.

Water based products.

Treated Wood & Preservatives Creosole & Arsenic compounds are known cancer causers Rot-resistant woods. Recycled Plastic "Lumber"

Natural Wood Treatments

Disenfectants, Mothballs & Furniture Polish Benzene and ethylene glycol chemicals cause liver and kidney damage. Borex and hot water, cedar chips, lemon juice & vegetable oil.
Motor Oil Pollutes surface and groundwater. Contains benzene & heavy metals. Never dump on ground or in water, recycle. Take car to service stations.
Drain Openers Cause severe skin burns or eye irritation Baking soda & vinegar plungers.
Alkaline Batteries Emit mercury if burned Place in regular trash use rechargeable
Lead Acid Batteries Contain lead and sulfuric acid Recycle, never store outside
Ni-Cad Batteries (rechargeable) Contain Cadmium Recycle at Wal*Mart & Radio Shack.


Not all batteries are the same, so they need to be disposed of differently.  Alkaline batteries, used mostly in toys and flashlights, can be thrown away with your regular trash.  Nickel Cadmium batteries (Ni-Cads) can be recycled.  Drop-off locations is at Radio Shack and Wal-Mart.  Lead-acid batteries (automotive, motorcycle, etc.) should be taken to any store that sells lead-acid batteries.  If you are purchasing a new one, a discount may be given off the purchase of the new battery when you return the old one. 


Paint is the most common household product that becomes household hazardous waste. Paint contains harmful substances that can be dangerous to our health and the environment if not used, stored, and disposed of properly.

Oil-based paint can be good for up to 15 years.  Latex paint is usable if it is less than 10 years old and has not been repeatedly frozen and thawed.  If the paint will mix when you stir, it is probably usable.

The best way to dispose of paint is to use the paint.  If you cannot use the paint, try giving it to someone who can.

  • Theater Groups

  • Church Groups

  • Shelters for people in need

  • Community organization

Tips For Storage & Disposal of Liquid Paint

  • When storing paint, make sure lids are on tight.  Label the top of each can with the color name and date purchased.

  • Do not pour paint down household drains.  Many of the chemicals in paint cannot be treated by sewage treatment systems or septic systems.

  • Do not throw liquid paint in the trash.  There is always the possibility that the paint will be released from the can.  Then the paint could be exposed to certain chemicals and cause spontaneous combustion.

  • Solidify first, then dispose of paint.  Paint is hazardous in its liquid form.  If only a small amount of paint is left, simply remove the lid (outside, with good ventilation) and let dry. Then the empty can may be put out for trash disposal, or, if recycling is available, the can may be recycled with metal cans.  If you have more paint than will dry easily, there are various ways to dispose of it.

  • Get a sturdy cardboard box and fill with clay-based kitty litter, pour the paint onto the kitty litter and let dry.  Then dispose of this dried mixture with your trash.

  • Some local hardware and paint stores carry a paint solidifier.  Simply purchase, follow directions and when paint is dried put out for trash collection.

For more info contact
Lou Ann Shontz
Huntingdon County Recycling Coordinator
233 Penn Street
Huntingdon, PA 16652
(814) 643-3091 ext. 206