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Household Hazardous Waste

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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As spring cleaning continues around the home, you may run across items no longer needed and that should be disposed of correctly. When cleaning the garage, storage shed or basement areas and find items that should not be put in the trash, put them aside and find out the correct way to dispose of them.

Many items can be recycled. Plastics, cardboard, old magazines, newspapers, glass bottles, #1 & #2 plastic containers and mixed paper can be recycled at local drop off sites in Lincoln and surrounding areas.

Latex paint can be dried out and placed in the trash. If you have more than a half-gallon of latex paint left it can be taken to a paint exchange or some non-profit groups will take it to use.

There are many questions about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), since many people are switching from regular bulbs to CFLs. They do contain a small amount of mercury—burned out CFLs should be taken to a household hazardous waste collection.

Items that CANNOT be taken to a collection site are used oil, tires, electronics and computers, batteries, antifreeze, fire extinguishers, unwanted or unneeded medicine, propane cylinders (gas grills), asbestos, fertilizers, ammunition and explosives, and general household trash.

Items that CAN be taken to the collection site are:

  • Lawn and Garden Products: pool chemicals, rodent poisons, insect sprays, lighter fluid; pesticides, weed killers, etc.
  • Automotive Products: transmission fluid, brake fluid, mixed or old gasoline, power steering fluid, grease removers, etc.
  • Home Improvement Products: turpentine, oil-based paints and stains, paint thinner, wood preservatives, furniture stripper, etc.
  • Household items: fluorescent tubes, mercury thermometers and thermostats, polishes (solvent-based), drain and oven cleaners, mothballs, small capacitors, bleach-based cleaners, etc.

To reduce the amount of household hazardous waste the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department suggests the following:

  • Buy the least toxic product that will do the job.
  • Buy only the amount you need for the job.
  • Read product labels carefully.
  • Reuse or recycle household products, whenever possible

Check your home and make it safe for your family by correctly storing and disposing of household hazardous products.


Ask Lorene

(This resource was added April 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lancaster County
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68528 | 402-441-7180