Household Hazardous Waste

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Waste Prevention Tips
Hazardous Products and Guideline
Upcoming Events

The next scheduled event is Saturday, May 4. The deadline to register is Friday, April 26.

Some of the products you use at home are potentially hazardous. Safe handling and proper disposal of these materials will protect you, your family and our environment.

This section provides instructions for proper disposal of residential household hazardous waste products and tips for minimizing their use in the future. The Waste Prevention Tips is probably the most helpful and valuable section. You can avoid having to dispose of hazardous products if you buy only what you need and use it all, and whenever possible, use nonhazardous alternative products.

Commercial businesses and industrial operations must comply with City, state and federal regulations for disposing of their hazardous waste. See the State Department of Health List of Hazardous Waste Haulers

Waste Prevention Tips

The best way to handle household hazardous waste is to prevent it in the first place. By learning more about which types of products are hazardous and about ways to use less, use it up and use nonhazardous alternatives, you can significantly reduce the generation of this type of waste right at the source.

Before you buy a product, read the label and make sure it will do what you want.
Once you buy something, you are also responsible for disposing of it properly.

Buy only what you need, and use it all up.
Be conservative in selecting the product container size. A large container is not a bargain if you don't use it all.

Give away unwanted leftover products.
Ask friends, neighbors or non-profit groups if they can use the products.

Look for nonhazardous alternatives.
Safer substitutes, like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, salt, borax, olive oil and cedar chips, used alone or in various combinations can get the job done as well as their more hazardous counterparts. Consider the following suggestions for nonhazardous alternatives:

  • To keep drains clear and fresh smelling, mix and apply 1/4-cup baking soda and 1/2-cup vinegar. Let stand in drain for 5-10 minutes. Flush with hot water.
  • Windows can be cleaned with a mixture of 2 cups each of vinegar and water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Use newspaper for a lint-free finish.
  • An ice cube can be used to harden chewing gum before scraping it from carpet.
  • For a rug deodorizer, mix 2 parts cornmeal to l part borax. Sprinkle over rug and leave for l hour, then vacuum.
  • To polish furniture, combine 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice.
  • Processed manure or fish emulsion is a good substitute for chemical fertilizers.
  • Mulch and compost are great soil enrichment products. You can purchase them locally, or you can make it yourself from your yard trimmings.
  • Select water-based latex and non-toxic paint products over oil-based paints and varnishes.
  • Instead of mothballs, use cedar chips or dried lavender.
  • Instead of bug sprays, use baited traps.
  • Use glue or spring traps instead of rodent poison.
  • Clean copper pots and stainless steel with salt and vinegar.
  • Clean stains from coffee cups and dishes with baking soda and vinegar.
  • To clean, disinfect and deodorize, use a mixture of 1/2-cup borax and 1 gallon
    hot water.

Hazardous Products and Guidelines

  • Dispose on your own -- in the trash or down the drain. Many types of products can be conveniently and safely disposed of in the City’s existing refuse and sewage systems. The City’s H-POWER waste-to-energy facility and wastewater treatment plants can effectively and safely manage small quantities of specified materials. For example, most types of household cleaners can be safely flushed down the drain with plenty of water. Items such as paint and used oil can be safely disposed of with our rubbish, once they have been dried out or absorbed with materials such as rags, newspaper or sawdust.
  • Special Handling -- call for an appointment.
    Materials which present serious health and safety hazards, including pesticides and highly flammable substances like gasoline and kerosene, require special handling. Oahu residents can call 768-3201 for an appointment to drop off these materials at the hazardous waste handling facility contracted by the City. Drop-off days are coordinated every two months. Before you call to schedule a drop-off, please take an inventory of the materials you wish to dispose of (including type and quantity of material).

Review the lists under Special Handling and Dispose on your own to determine the proper way to handle your items. The lists reflect the more common items found at home and are not complete.

But before you get to the details, here are a few basic rules and guidelines for safe handling and disposal:

The disposal guidelines in this section apply only to small quantities disposed of by residential households. Households with large quantities of any type of hazardous waste must call the City's Refuse Division for disposal instructions. Commercial businesses and industrial operations must comply with City, state and federal regulations for disposing of their hazardous waste.

  • Read product labels carefully for handling and use instructions.
  • Keep all hazardous materials out of children's reach.
  • Keep all hazardous materials in their original containers and labeled for proper identification.
  • Keep all hazardous materials out of the storm drain system.
    The water in storm drains flows directly to streams or to the ocean. Hazardous materials could seriously contaminate our environment.
  • Carefully follow the disposal guidelines in this section.
    Only pour chemicals down the drain or put materials in the trash that are so designated. Improper disposal could injure workers, damage processing equipment, or harm the environment.
  • If you are unsure about how to dispose of a material, or the material is not listed, call the Household Hazardous Waste Line at 768-3201.

Special Handling

The following materials require special handling at the drop-off event, scheduled every two months. The next day is set for Saturday, May 4. Call 768-3201 no later than one week prior to the event to schedule an appointment. Please prepare an inventory list of your items which includes the material you wish to dispose of and the volume of the container (i.e., acetone/two quarts). Requests for appointments must be made no later than one week prior to each event. Drop-off dates are scheduled every two months. Next drop-off dates for 2019: May 4, July 6, September 7, November 2.

Schedule an appointment if you have these:

Oil change boxes, sold in local retail stores, not only make changing your motor oil easier, they can also be used to dispose of other items listed under Dispose on Your Own.The absorbant material in the box can work well for the items with "absorb and trash" instructions.

Boric Acid
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)-large quantities
Fertilizers (liquid)
Fluorescent Tubes-large quantities
Hydrochloric Acid
Lighter Fluid
Muriatic Acid
Paint Stripper
Paint Thinner
Paris Green
Photographic Chemicals
Rust Remover
Swimming Pool Chemicals
Wood Preservatives (may contain arsenic, creosote, pentachlorophenol)

Safely Dispose of on Your Own

Aluminum Cleaners Flush down drain
Ammonia Cleaners Flush down drain
Antifreeze Absorb and trash
Auto Battery Return to retailer
Auto Repair Products Trash can
Bathroom Cleaners Flush down drain
Batteries - Household Trash can
Batteries - Rechargeable Return to retailer
Brake Fluid Absorb and trash
Bug Sprays Sprays
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)-small quantities Trash can
Diesel Fuel Absorb and trash
Disinfectants Flush down drain
Drain Cleaners Flush down drain
Fertilizers (granular) Trash can
Fiberglass Trash can
Fire Extinguishers Drop-off
Floor Care Products Absorb and trash
Fluorescent Tubes-small quantities Trash can
Furniture Polish Absorb and trash
Hair Permanent Lotions Flush down drain
Hair Relaxers Flush down drain
Lubricants (for motors, tools, etc.) Absorb and trash
Medical (sharps) Trash can
Medicine (liquids) Absorb and trash or Take Back Program/Drop Box
Medicine (pills)* Trash can or Take Back Program/Drop Box
Metal Polish with Solvent Trash can
Oil products (motor oil, cooking oil, etc.) Absorb and trash
Oven Cleaner Trash can
Paint (see also Sprays) Absorb and trash
Primer Absorb and trash
Propane Tank Drop-off
Shoe Polish Trash can
Smoke Detector Trash can (*small amount of radioactive material)
Toilet Bowl Cleaners Flush down drain
Transmission Fluid Absorb and trash
Tub & Tile Cleaners Flush down drain
Varnish Absorb and trash
Water Sealer (like paint) Absorb and trash
Window Cleaners Flush down drain
Wood Stain/Finish (like paint) Absorb and trash

*For child safety, tape containers and double-bag before tossing.

Flush down drain: Flush down the drain with plenty of water; rinse and throw empty container away in trash container.

There is no reason to leave batteries on the roadside or let them pile up in your carport. Retailers are required to take your old battery when you purchase a new one and recycle it. Many retailers will take them without a sale. Or you can drop-off old batteries at City Drop-off Convenience Centers.

Sprays: Place absorbent material in a plastic bag, spray until can is empty, being careful not to inhale the fumes; leave can in bag, then tie and throw bag away in trash container.

Trash can: Close container securely to prevent spillage, then throw away. Wrap light bulbs in newspaper before disposal. Encase medical sharps in a rigid screw-top plastic container before disposal.

Drop off: Take to a Drop-off Convenience Center. Propane tanks may be empty, or fully/partially full. Or you can take tanks (empty or containing gas) to Air Liquide, Air Gas or Refrigerant Recycling (fees may apply). Air Liquide: 842-4125 (Kalihi) or 682-2100 (Campbell Industrial Park). AirGas: 842-2142. Refrigerant Recycling: 682-1555.

Absorb and trash: Pour liquid into a plastic bag with absorbent material, such as shredded newspaper, old rags or sawdust. Once liquid is absorbed, seal the bag, then throw away in trash can. An oil change box provides the same results. Paints can be hardened in the can, then thrown away.

Return to retailer: Retailers of auto batteries are required by law to accept your old battery when you purchase a new replacement. For excess auto batteries, call a battery recycler or ask retailers if they'll accept additional batteries.

Drop off rechargeable (non-lead acid) batteries from cell phones, laptop computers, and power tools in collection boxes at Best Buy ( or Batteries + Bulbs (Pearl City). Home Depot accepts rechargeable batteries from power tools. Also recycle batteries at Aloha Aina and Going Green Events. Click the following links for information on battery and e-waste recycling.

Take back programs: National Medication Take Back Day-April 27, 2019. 10:00am-2:00pm. Click here for more information and locations.

While some medicines can be disposed of safely on your own, events for disposal of unused medication are periodically.

Medication Drop Box Program: Year round drop-off for excess or unused prescription drugs. Oahu's drop box is located at the State Narcotics Enforcement Division - 3375 Koapaka Street, #D-100, Honolulu. Visit the State Department of Health website or the Hawaii Opioid Initiative website for more and up-to-date drop box locations.

For more information on proper disposal year-round visit or call 541-1930. Or visit or call 837-8470. Look for National Drug Takeback Day in 2019.

© 2005 City & County of Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services.