Taking Care of Household Hazardous Waste in OC Homes


What You Need To Know About Household Hazardous Waste Removal in Orange County

Hazardous waste is not just something faceless experts in hazmat suits deal with at nuclear power plants. The average U.S. household generates more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year. As much as 100 pounds can accumulate in the home, often remaining there until the residents move out or do an extensive cleanout.

You would be surprised how many times the OC Junk Hauling crew comes upon a pick-up project at a home or business in Orange County and finds items, such as batteries, paints, grease & rust solvents, oils, rat poisons, and pesticides just lying around. Under certain conditions, these could start fires or even have explosive potential.

This goes without saying, but how many times do you really read the instructions on things like drain cleaner or silver polish? The information is there to protect you on the proper use and storage of these and other chemical-based items. Store in a cool place? Store in a dark place? Store standing up only? Do you need to ventilate the area?

Advice from the EPA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is charged with overseeing that “all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work.”

To that end, the EPA offers these directions in dealing with Household Hazardous Waste products.

  • Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.


  • When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.


  • Even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain, so handle them with care also.



Don’t pour down the drain. If you take one bit of advice away from this article, refrain from the drain.

Pouring any of these following Household Hazardous Waste items down the drain or toilet, or even into storm sewers, can contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems. Certain types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, so no throwing out with the trash.

  • Adhesives
  • Antifreeze
  • Batteries
  • Broken thermometers
  • Cosmetics
  • Drain Openers
  • Fuel injection and carburetor cleaners
  • Fungicides and wood preservatives
  • Grease and rust solvents
  • Household polishes and cleaners
  • Insecticides, herbicides, and rat poisons
  • Latex and oil-based paints
  • Lighter fluids
  • Nail polish and removers
  • Oven cleaners
  • Paint thinners and strippers
  • Used oil and oil filters
  • Wood and metal cleaners


While OC Junk Hauling does not handle HHW, according to the OC Waste & Recycling website, “Orange County residents can dispose of their Household Hazardous Waste items for FREE at any of the County’s four Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers.  Please note, the OC Hazardous Waste Collection Centers are not permitted to accept waste from businesses, churches, schools, non-profit organizations or government agencies, or from residents outside of Orange County. Additional HHW services may be available through your city.  Contact your city’s recycling coordinator to find out other ways to dispose of your HHW items in your community.”

For additional regulations, locations and contact info, go to the County website

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