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Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program

The District partners with the 59 communities in the county to offer local, more frequent collection events for disposal of household hazardous wastes (HHW).  The Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program is free to all Cuyahoga County households. The program provides for the environmentally-safe disposal of hazardous, poisonous or toxic household products that cannot be disposed in the regular trash.

Household hazardous waste is collected from residents by the city service department and is delivered to the District’s year-round Special Waste Convenience Center.  Collection events are held only at city service departments; the District's facility is not open to the general public.  This program is for Cuyahoga County residents only. Most communities will only accept and manage waste from their own residents.

Looking for recycling information for your community? Find details here.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Items

Household hazardous wastes are materials that are marked dangerous, caustic or flammable.  The District can only accept materials that originated from a household and not a commercial source.  In accordance with Federal Law, our contractor is not allowed to accept or transport business waste with household waste due to EPA classifications.  Currently, household hazardous wastes are not regulated and are exempt from RCRA classification. 

"Household” sources are defined as single and multiple residences.  The law defines “non-household sources” to include schools, farms, universities, churches, doctor and dentist offices, government facilities, non-profit organizations, hospitals, commercial businesses (both small and large), and manufacturing facilities.  Non-household sources should call the District's Business Recycling Specialist for disposal recommendations at (216) 443-3732.

The following household items are accepted in this program:

Household materials accepted

Oil or solvent-based paint, sealers, primers, or coatings (aerosols or liquids)
Varnishes, polyurethanes, shellacs
Paint thinner, mineral spirits, turpentine
Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
Caustic household cleaners
Pool chemicals
Automotive fluids, motor oil, car batteries
Adhesives, roof tar, driveway sealer
Kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid
Mercury, fluorescent bulbs (6 ft. length max.)

Materials NOT accepted

Latex paint
Explosives, gun powder, ammunition, flares
Medical waste, pharmaceuticals, medicine, sharps
Radioactive waste (smoke detectors)
Electronics, appliances
Business or commercial waste

Proper Disposal of Hazardous Household Products and Special Wastes brochure (PDF)

Disposal of Latex Paint 

The District does not accept latex paint in this recycling program.  Latex paint is comprised mostly of water and is not a hazardous material.  To dispose of latex paint, solidify and place in your curbside trash.  For detailed instructions, see our page on disposal of latex paint.

Dried out paint and/or empty paint cans are not hazardous and should be placed in the regular rubbish.

Disposal of Fluorescent Bulbs

Ace Hardware, Lowe's Home Improvement, The Home Depot, and TrueValue Hardware have national compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) recycling programs. Customers can simply bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulb, and place it in the store' s proper recycling container for free.

Residents of Cuyahoga County can recycle fluorescent tube bulbs (6 ft. length max.) in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.  If you cannot wait for a free collection and have an immediate need to dispose of your bulbs, you can contact a private companies for disposal information including pricing and specifications.  Prices for disposal range from $0.65-$1.00 per bulb.

Bulbs from businesses are not accepted in our Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program.  For a list of bulb recyclers that accept fluorescents from businesses, visit our Recycling Directory for Business & Industry. Use the drop-down box to highlight “Fluorescent Bulbs.”  For more information about mercury and fluorescent lighting facts, log onto Businesses can also call the District's Business Recycling Specialist for recommendations at (216) 443-3732.

Cleaning up a Mercury Spill

In December 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released new guidelines on how to deal with mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that break in the home.  CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home. To minimize exposure, the EPA offers these guidelines on dealing with a broken bulb:

  1. Homeowners should 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.
  2. All broken glass and visible powder from the bulb should be placed in a sealable container, along with anything used to clean up the broken bulb. The container should then be placed in an outdoor trash container or covered area until the materials can be disposed of properly.
  3. For several hours after the breakage, continue to air out the room and leave HVAC systems off.

For detailed information on proper CFL disposal and for printable brochures, click here.