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Household Hazardous Waste

When tossed in the regular garbage, household hazardous waste can be harmful to sanitation workers and can contaminate groundwater. Household chemicals may also affect the functioning of septic systems and wastewater treatment plants when poured down drains or toilets. If dumped on the ground or down sewer drains, these chemicals can contaminate ground and surface water. 

Using nontoxic or less toxic products helps eliminate household hazardous waste. If you purchase a chemical product, use up all the product for its intended purpose, give the remainder of the product to someone else to use if it is still usable, or bring it to a household hazardous waste collection event for proper disposal. 

  • Never burn, bury, or dump leftover oil, pesticides, or other hazardous products. Burning may produce toxic gases and hazardous ash and smoke. 
  • Do not pour leftover products down the sink, storm drains, or on the ground.
  • Do not wash chemicals down impervious surfaces, such as driveways, streets, or sidewalks.
  • If a chemical spill occurs, read the product label for exposure and spill information. Cover the spill with absorbent material such as cat litter, sawdust, or sand. Keep the area well-ventilated. Wear gloves and protective clothing. Sweep and scoop the material into a container with  a lid or doubled plastic bags. Secure it well. Wash the surface with soap and water, if so advised by the product label. Properly dispose of the waste (see below). 
Proper Disposal—How do you get rid of hazardous products?

The Franklin County Solid Waste Management District provides an annual collection event for household hazardous wastes. This event is typically held in the fall. Other areas in the region also host collection events open to Franklin County residents. Disposal is usually free for residents.

The District operates three “Super Sites” that accept oil-based paint, paint related products (thinners, solvents), stains, varnishes, polyurethane, used motor oil, oil filters, and antifreeze. Fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermometers and thermostats, and rechargeable batteries are also accepted at these sites. These “Super Sites” are located in Bernardston, Colrain, and Conway. Some disposal charges may apply. Call the District at (413) 772-2438 for more information, locations, and hours of operation. 

You can bring mercury-containing products such as thermometers and thermostats, rechargeable batteries, and cell phones to the District office for proper disposal. The District also has a list of hazardous products accepted at municipal transfer stations.

When participating in a hazardous waste collection event or transporting products to a Super Site, keep products in their original containers so that they can be easily identified. If the material is not in the original container, label it (if the material is known). The container should be tightly closed and not cracked or leaking. If the container is leaking, transport it inside another empty container or a bucket. Materials should be transported in the trunk, if possible, standing upright, and in a box to prevent spilling. Never mix chemicals; this can be dangerous or may prevent recycling of certain products (such as used motor oil). 

Empty containers from hazardous products, including motor oil containers, should be discarded in the trash, NOT the recycling bin. Never reuse chemical product containers. 

Water-based latex paint can be safely and legally disposed of in regular household garbage if it is completely dried out. Mix the paint with kitty litter, concrete-mix, sawdust, or soil to speed up the drying process. Empty or dried-out cans of paint should be discarded in the trash, NOT in the recycling bins. 

Contact the District at 774-2438 for more information about household hazardous waste disposal options or check the District website at www.franklincountywastedistrict.org.

Franklin County Solid Waste Management District
50 Miles Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Tel: (413) 772-2438
MA Relay for the hearing impaired: 711 or 1-800-439-2370 (TTY/TDD)
Fax: (413) 772-3786
Staff email addresses  

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