Many products in the home that are used for cleaning or automobile and home maintenance can be classified as a household hazardous waste. It's important to dispose these items correctly in order to protect us, our water supply, and other natural resources.

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Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste Safely

Almost every home has hazardous household products. These are used in cleaning, automobile maintenance, and other activities. A hazardous product is one that is corrosive, ignitable, toxic, poisonous, infectious, or it can react or explode when mixed with other substances.

It’s important that we dispose of these products properly. You can’t just simply dump them on the ground, or down the drain. When products are no longer wanted, or you have unused product left over, it becomes household hazardous waste.

For example, paint can be one of those hazardous products. Oil based paint can last for fifteen years if stored properly. Latex paint can last for ten years. It’s important that you buy just the amount of product that you need. If you have unused product left over, you should consider sharing it with your neighbor. Most of these products have a long shelf life.

Many Kansas communities have household hazardous waste collection sites. Check with your local solid waste officials to find out locations near you.

Used automobile oil can be recycled. Many automotive centers will take those items and recycle them. They’ll take used oil, kerosene, antifreeze, and other liquids.

Most empty containers can be disposed of directly into the trash. Containers that have liquids in them should not be disposed. However, containers that have liquid that has hardened can be disposed directly into the trash.

Check with your solid waste officials before throwing away any hazardous waste product. By properly storing and disposing of household hazardous waste, we can help insure the safety of our homes and environment.

This feature story prepared with Krista Harding, Kansas State University Research and Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, Southwind District. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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