Most household cleaning products are not considered household hazardous waste, so it is important to know which ones are and how to dispose of them safely. Please follow these guidelines:
- The best way to reduce waste is to use up cleaning products. If you are unable to do so, consider sharing with a neighbor or donating to charity. Cleaning products are expensive, and every little bit of savings helps.
- Read the label carefully. Toxic or hazardous products should be marked as such. In general, any product that is solvent-based or includes corrosives, reactive agents, ignitables or known toxins is considered hazardous waste. These products should be taken to one of our Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Events.
- Leftover products which are not hazardous can be disposed of easily. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the label. If there are no specific disposal instructions, keep in mind that you can usually dispose of the product in the same manner that you would use it. So, if you would normally use the product with water, then you can usually safely rinse or flush the product. This is especially true for liquids. Solids, such as cleanser and soap, can be disposed of in small quantities with running water, or in larger quantities can be placed in to the garbage.
- Never mix products together during disposal -- even under running water.
- Non-hazardous expired products can be disposed of in the same way as newer ones.
- Empty paper or cardboard, plastic bottle, glass and metal containers from non-hazardous cleaning products can be recycled. Empty aerosol cans can also be recycled.
- Containers with products still in them cannot be recycled. Use up the product first, donate it, or place it in the garbage.
Remember, cleaning products which are solvent-based or includes corrosives, reactive agents, ignitables or known toxins are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of at a Hazardous Waste Drop-off Event.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute has, for over 100 years, been evaluating products of all kinds to determine whether they perform as intended and live up to the manufacturer's claims. In 2009, they introduced the Green Good Housekeeping Seal to "help consumers sift through the confusing clutter of "green" claims on hundreds of products on store shelves today." Their website has a listing of products that have earned this seal.
Earth911 - Recycling Household Cleaners offers information on recycling and disposal as well as helpful links to information on substitute cleaning products, making your own, and preventing allergies.
American Cleaning Institute is an industry association of product manufacturers. Their Charter for Sustainable Living is a voluntary lifecycle-based framework that promotes a common industry approach to sharing and reporting best practices for sustainability. The Clean Living section of their website includes detailed in formation for the Home, Work and School environments, as well as information on understanding ingredients and cleaning safely.