Household Hazardous Waste

What Are Household Hazardous Wastes (HHMs)?

Household Hazardous Materials are a real threat to our environment, our water, and our families. Why be concerned? The number one cause of accidental poisonings in children is HHMs. HHMs are common household items that are one of the following:
  • Corrosive
  • Flammable
  • Reactive
  • Toxic
Examples of Pesticides
They contaminate our rivers, lakes and groundwater, result in emergencies involving toxic fumes, fires and explosions, and are responsible for nearly 10,000 poisonings in Iowa each year.

For more information, call the Iowa Poison Control Center Hotline at 800-222-1222.

Examples of HHMs


Examples of Household Hazardous Materials include:
  • Aerosols
  • Antifreeze
  • Batteries
  • Cleaners and Solvents
  • Fertilizer
  • Fluorescent bulbs and tubes
  • Gasoline
  • Herbicides
  • Motor OilPaint Thinner
  • Oil Based Paints
  • Paint Thinner
  • Pesticides
  • Varnish
  • Waxes and Polishes
Examples of Latex Paint
Examples of Paint Thinner and Stripper

How You Can Help


We can lower the amount of these items that are finding their way into our streams, soils, groundwater, and us. The best thing we can do is reduce the amount of toxic materials that enter our homes.

1. Buy Environmentally Safe Products


  • Buy the least hazardous product needed to get the job done.
  • Watch labels. Avoid labels with Caution, Warning, Danger or Poison. Look for safer words like non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-petroleum-based, free of ammonia, phosphates, dye or perfume, readily biodegradable, and non-fuming.
  • Avoid aerosols.
  • Watch for environmentally friendly labels like the green leaf.

For Household Hazardous Materials that do enter your home, careful attention must be taken by following the steps below.

2. Store HHMs Properly


  • Carefully read the storage warnings and store in appropriate container and location to protect children, pets and home.
  • Always store in the original container or properly labeled container.
Warning Label on a Hazardous Product

3. Use HHMs Properly

  • Carefully read the safety directions on the product. Pay special attention to ventilation.
  • Wear gloves or other protective equipment when recommended.
  • Follow application guidelines and warnings.
  • Never mix chemicals.

4. Dispose of HHMs Properly


  • Do not dump. HHMs should not be dumped in a ditch, sewer, or sinkhole-this leads directly to our water and environment.
  • Avoid dumping toxic chemicals down the drain-again this leads directly to our water and environment.
  • Do not throw in trash to avoid fire, explosions, and chemical reactions
  • Use up what you buy. Buy small quantities to avoid storing for years under a sink.

Collection Centers & Events


Find a Household Hazardous Materials Collection Center or Collection Event to dispose of your Household Hazardous Materials. Clayton County does not have a Household Hazardous Materials Collection Center. Watch for future Household Hazardous Materials Collection Events.

Some businesses collect recyclable HHMs like batteries, light bulbs, and motor oil. Check local businesses and hardware stores for recycling programs.

Visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Website to learn more about HHMs or to locate Household Hazardous Materials Collection Centers in Iowa.

Non-HMM Wastes


Below items now fall below federal and state hazardous waste standards and are not considered HHMs:
  • Lead-Free Latex paint (after 1990): Dry out paint, remove lid, and throw away.
  • Regular household alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 6V, 9V) and lithium batteries (3V, 6V, 3V): These may be thrown away, but it is better to recycle them. Most other button batteries, rechargeable batteries and larger batteries are considered toxic and are not safe for the trash.