Once you decide to discard these products, or no longer have a use for them, they become Hazardous Household Waste (HHW).
If disposed of incorrectly or released into the environment, HHW can cause harm to people, animals and our residential areas.
Click on any of the links below or scroll down to find out more about how you can avoid and dispose of HHW safely.
What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
Identifying HHW material
Why can't HHW be put down the drain or into rubbish bins?
So what can we do to A.V.O.I.D. the hazard?
Guidelines for safe disposal of HHW
Recycling tips for HHW containers
Alternatives to HHW
Where can I dispose of HHW?
Useful contacts for HHW
Household Hazardous Waste are household chemicals or items which may be toxic, flammable, reactive or corrosive and not suitable to go into our household bins to landfill or be released into the environment.
Hazardous Household Waste is usually found in the following places around your home:
In the bathroom
Cleaners (window, shower, tile), disinfectants, hair colours and bleaches, medicines & prescription drugs, pharmaceuticals, nail polish and nail polish remover.
In the kitchen
Drain cleaners, window cleaners, bleaches, disinfectants, oven cleaners, metal, (silver) polishes, furniture polishes, fire extinguishers, floor care products.
In the garden
Pesticides, fertilizers, fungicide, weed killers, mouse and rat poisons, lawn chemicals, herbicides, insect repellents, insecticides.
In the garage or workshop/shed
Contact cements, thinners, lacquers, paint/stain strippers & removers, stains, varnishes, roof tar & other water proofing agents, oil-based paints, chemical strippers, photographic chemicals.
Car waxes, starting fluids, repair products, auto batteries & battery fluid, transmission fluids, rust removers, brake fluid, wood preservative, glue, degreaser, petrol, motor oils, kerosene, lighter fluid, dye, gas cylinders (from BBQs, camping stoves and lamps), pool chemicals, insect repellents and insecticides.
A substance is HAZARDOUS if it can catch fire, react or explode when mixed with other substances, if it releases dangerous vapours or odours or if it is corrosive or toxic.
FLAMMABLE materials contain substances that can burn easily or catch fire or explode.
Look for warnings on the labels like:
CORROSIVE materials can burn skin, harm your lungs and eat away the surface of other materials.
Look for warnings on the labels like:
TOXIC products, even in small quantities, can cause immediate poisoning, injury and death. Repeated exposure can cause long-term health problems like cancer, birth defects, illness and death.
Look for warnings on the labels like:
CAUTION REACTIVE materials can react with other substances to produce poisonous fumes or explode.
Water pollution is caused by industry, landfills, sewage disposal and our everyday activities.
Drainage systems carry rain and sprinkler runoff from streets and private properties and discharge it to local creeks, rivers and ultimately into lakes and the ocean. Some of this water also seeps down into the groundwater finding its way into our precious drinking water supplies.
Many household wastes contain substances that have the potential to harm life in our rivers and lakes, and contaminate our drinking water and the food chain. It is important that HHW are disposed of appropriately.
If you live in Perth’s Eastern Region, the contents of your yellow-topped wheelie bin are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Here material is recovered for recycling into new, useful products such as bottles and cans. If you have a green waste collection container, the products are processed into high quality compost for use in local agriculture.
HHW in your bins will contaminate compost, mulches and recyclable packaging. It may harm the people who collect, process and turn your household waste into a useful resource. It may also be flammable and pose a fire danger to staff on the landfill site.
Besides ensuring that you don't dispose of your HHW down drains, on the ground or in your bin, there are a number of other simple things you can do to avoid the hazard. Here are five simple steps to help you prevent the danger to your family and the environment!
Assess – do you really need the Hazardous Product? ASSESS the risks of using Hazardous products and think hard about the necessity of doing the job at all!
Variety – when shopping, seek safer or less hazardous VARIETIES whenever possible. There are a number of environmentally safe product varieties appearing on the market. Remember that the decision buyers make, affects the way manufacturers design products!
Only buy small amounts – Reducing the amount of HHW discarded can make a big difference. Make sure you know how much you need for the job and ONLY buy this amount so that it’s all used up and no HHW is generated.
Inform – inform your neighbours, family and friends, local charities and community organisations that you have spare or leftover HHW products that they may be able to use.
Check to see if your HHW container can be used for refills, exchanged or taken back at the place of purchase (E.g. gas cylinders, car batteries).
Paint tins and containers
Try to wipe/squeeze as much paint as possible from the brushes, trays and rollers back into the paint tin for future use.
Useful tip! Keep a small amount of paint in a small sealed jar to fix chips and scratches and other marks on walls and ceilings etc for future use.
Left over paint that can’t be used or is no longer required should be removed from the can and allowed to dry outside on a plastic sheet, newspaper or old cloth. Once it is solid it can be disposed of in your green bin and the clean empty tin recycled.
For more information on safe paint disposal, please download the brochure below.
Download Safe paint disposal fact sheet.
There are green alternatives to pesticides, chlorine, ammonia and phosphate-based cleaning products.
Many effective products can be made from everyday items that are kept in your pantry or laundry, such as vinegar. Supermarkets also stock a wide range of non-hazardous products - just make sure you check the label first.
If your supermarket, hardware or nursery don't stock the green alternatives you require, contact one of the specialist shops below:
Perth Eco-Shop (Environment House), King William Street, Bayswater
Ph: (08) 9271 4488
One Earth Outlet, Balcatta
Ph: (08) 1300 327 841
People and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Ph: (08) 9228 2435
You can also obtain publications from your local library, bookstore or online with ideas for household products or practices. Some examples include:
For further information, go to: www.shannonlush.com
Greeniology, Tanya Ha
For further information, go to: www.tanyaha.com/greeniology.html
There are a number of permanent drop-off facilities throughout Perth for residents to safely dispose of hazardous items which must not go into your green-top rubbish bin. It is free to take a combined total of 20kg/20L maximum of items to any of the locations listed in the table below.
The Waste Authority site lists locations across WA as well as the products that can be disposed at these drop off locations.
The main drop off facility in Perth's Eastern Region is:
Red Hill Waste Management Facility
1094 Toodyay Road, Red Hill
Tel: (08) 9574 6235
(Oils, coolants, oil filters, tyres). Contact the Motor Trade Association of Western Australia on (08) 9453 7900 or visit www.mtawa.com.au and click
For LP Gas refills and cylinder re-testing call Kleenheat Gas on 13 21 80 or visit:
Fluorescent light recycling
Visit EMRC's fluorescent light recycling program to find a recycling drop-off point near you.
Household (dry-cell) batteries
Visit EMRC's household battery recycling program to find a recycling drop-off point.
Mobile phones and mobile phone batteries
All makes and models can be recycled. Visit Mobile Muster for a drop-off point near you.
Phone: 1300 730 070