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Identifying Common Household & Business Hazardous Waste

There’s copious amounts of waste in and around our home and workplace. Having more of an understanding of what these wastes are can protect everyone, while adhering to the stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards,

The following information will help you better understand hazardous wastes, how to identify which materials demand a special hazardous waste removal technique, and which common waste materials are a threat to the environment and human health. 

The 6 Most Common Types of Hazardous Waste


Don’t toss out the batteries with the rest of your trash. An estimated 85% of lead in use today goes into batteries. Lead is a chemical element, which has been linked to a slew of serious health problems, including behavior and learning disorders. On the environmental side, lead causes problems from the ground up. It destroys microscopic soil organisms, which negatively impacts entire food chains and ecosystems.

Computer Monitors & TVs

Electronic waste or “E-wasterefers to computer monitors, televisions, VCRs, radios, cell phones, and small appliances. Electronic waste often contains lead, mercury, and other dangerous materials that can cause serious health problems if improperly handled. Mercury, for instance, damages the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain. These toxins are just as deadly for plants and animals as they are for us.

Fluorescent Lamps & Traditional Thermostats

A lamp is considered to be a hazardous waste if it exhibits the characteristic of hazardous waste toxicity. Professionals, also called waste generators, must determine whether or not a lamp exhibits this characteristic by using the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP). 

Both lamps and thermostats contain mercury. Sticking a spent fluorescent tube in the trash is irresponsible, because doing so puts garbage handlers and wildlife at risk. Mercury from fluorescent tubes can trickle into ground water supplies, for example, and kill downstream creatures while tainting water quality.

Paints, Stains, Oils & Old Gasoline

All of these different liquid substances can be found throughout most homes and businesses. Maybe you’ve recently remodeled, or have plans of doing so in the near future. Maybe you’re someone who does your own oil changes and has left over oil after working on your vehicle, or extra gasoline containers with small amounts still remaining. These are substances that can’t be thrown away and instead should be taken to a nearby facility to be disposed of properly, or to be recycled in some way. 

Pesticides, Rinse Materials & Spray Equipment

 The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governs the management and disposal of hazardous wastes, including pesticides. If you have any unwanted pesticide products, store them safely and dispose of them as soon as possible. Be sure to look at the “Storage and Disposal” statement on the product’s label to have a better understanding of how to dispose of them correctly. 

Demolition & Renovation Waste

Construction waste is problematic because it often contains lead-based paint. You’ll need to get your renovation waste to a dump or landfill if some of your items cannot be reused or donated after a remodel, renovation, or demolition. 

Although these are not all of the wastes you can come across, it does encompass most of the waste you’ll see around your home and workplace. Industrial settings often contain more complex and more highly regulated waste materials, listed hazardous materials. 

The EPA offers more information on waste categories, including listed wastes, characteristic wastes, and mixed wastes. Basically, if the material at hand contains lead or mercury, it is definitely hazardous. The EPA also classifies corrosive, reactive, toxic, and ignitable waste materials as hazardous.

You have a larger impact than you might think when you don’t properly dispose of hazardous wastes. Burying hazardous items in the ground can contaminate groundwater and harm soil quality. Dumping hazardous materials down the drain may result in pipe corrosion and water treatment plant problems. 

Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste with WasteXpress

Throwing away hazardous materials with your regular garbage is a no-no since this puts garbage workers at risk. Make sure your hazardous items are taken to the proper landfill or treatment facility. 

Let our team of professionals handle your hazardous waste disposal for you. At WasteXpress, we have provided over 30 years of reliable, compliant, and environmentally friendly services throughout the Pacific Northwest. Contact us today to get a free quote. 

Contact WasteXpress

11615 North Lombard Street, Portland, OR 97203

5812 S Adams St # B, Tacoma, WA 98409