Hazardous waste is unwanted material or products that can cause illness or death to people, plants and animals.
Correct dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) is important to prevent the spread of chemicals in our soil, air and water. When HHW ends up in landfills, it can leech out and contaminate our soil and groundwater.
Proper disposal ensures waste workers are not exposed to the risk of inhaling toxic substances and reduces the chance of fires or explosions. Never pour or flush HHW substances down the drain where they will enter the sewage system. Chemicals can corrode plumbing and cause failure in septic systems before they make their way to our waterways and oceans.
Some examples of HHW are: acetone, ant/wasp spray, barbeque starters, antifreeze, car waxes and polishes, glues, hair colouring, aerosol hair spray, lye, nail polish remover, paint thinners, rechargeable batteries, shoe polish, spa and pool chemicals, weed killers and windshield washer solution.
Some examples of household cleaners considered to be HHW are: abrasive cleaners, aerosol air fresheners, all purpose cleaners, ammonia, bleach, disinfectants, drain cleaners, fabric softeners, glass cleaners, laundry starch, laundry stain removers, mildew removers, oven cleaners, rug and upholstery cleaners, toilet cleaners, and tub and tile cleaners.
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Each Canadian province has instituted a household hazardous waste collection program to make it easy for Canadians to dispose of these toxic items with minimal environmental impact.
Before locating a depot near you:
- Keep materials in their original containers, or ensure that the containers are well labelled
- Do not mix different products together
- Tightly cap all containers
HHW disposal in Alberta
A HHW collection program called "Round it Up" is coordinated through Alberta Environment and administered by Alberta Recycling. There are several permanent collection sites and household hazardous waste round-ups done every year across Alberta. Materials collected at sites and collections are safely shipped and disposed of at the Swan Hills Waste Treatment Centre.
HHW disposal in British Columbia
Municipalities are responsible for the collection and disposal of household hazardous waste. Metro Vancouver residents can locate collection depots using the Metro Vancouver Recycles database and iphone app. Outside of the Metro Vancouver region, residents can contact their municipalities or visit municipal websites for HHW disposal options.
Provincially, the Recycling Council of BC provides HHW disposal information on their website and via the Recycling Hotline at 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253), or drop-off select HHW products at Product Care Paint Plus Depots.
HHW disposal in Manitoba
The Manitoba Government contracts the Miller Environmental Corporation to collect and dispose of HHW. Collection events occur periodically in Winnipeg and throughout the province. In Winnipeg, HHW can also be dropped off with an appointment to the depot at 1803 Hekla Avenue, or visit Green Manitoba's Household Hazardous Waste page.
HHW disposal in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Waste Reduction organizes frequent HHW collection events in Saskatoon. Contact local municipal offices to see when an HHW event is scheduled near you, or find out how to organize a collection event.
HHW disposal in Quebec
Municipalities and regional county municipalities (RCMs) are responsible for waste management within their jurisdictions. Some hold occasional HHW collections, while others can do direct drop-offs to an Éco-centre. To find out when and where HHW is recovered near you, contact Recyc-Quebec.
HHW disposal in Ontario
Use Ontario's comprehensive contaminant recycling program, The Orange Drop, and search for a HHW drop spot by postal code. Fully funded by industry under a model called extended producer responsibility (EPR), the businesses that produce and market the products managed under the Orange Drop program cover the costs of collection and disposal once the consumer has finished using their product.
HHW disposal in Nova Scotia
Search HHW disposal options by seven different solid waste-resource management regions, or contact HHW disposal facilities by city.
HHW disposal in Prince Edward Island
Six HHW depots are located at Waste Watch Drop-off Centers across the province. Contact Island Waste Management Corporation for more details at 1-888-280-8111.
HHW disposal in Newfoundland and Labrador
Collection and disposal of HHW is managed by Multi Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB). They organize regular municipal roundups and there are several permanent HHW Collection Depots across the province.
HHW disposal in New Brunswick
South West Solid Waste Commission has a permanent HHW depot at the Hemlock Knoll Landfill Site in Lawrence Station. This depot disposes of HHW in an environmentally friendly manner, free of charge.
HHW disposal in Yukon
HHW disposal in Nunavut
No on-going HHW collection or diversion program is currently operational in Nunavut. Inquire directly to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what to do with your HHW.