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How to Dispose of Household Products

Learn how to safely toss dead batteries, old paint, electronics and more

Dispose of Household Products

When it’s time to say goodbye to dead batteries or that old can of paint, make sure you do it right. Many common supplies — paints, cleaners, pool chemicals, pesticides for the garden, batteries and more — may be harmful to the environment, pets or people if tossed in a regular trash can or poured down the drain. Other items are better off being recycled than cluttering landfills. This guide will teach you how to dispose of the most common household products.

Basic Disposal

Upcycling old paint by giving it away, and recycling batteries courtesy of a local disposal program are some of the easier ways to get rid of potentially harmful items.


  • Try giving away or trading unused or leftover paint with a neighbor or friend.
    • Check online for a hazardous waste collection facility nearby or to see if your town offers special collection drives.
      • Use inexpensive paint hardener to solidify acrylic or latex paint right in the can, making it safe for household disposal.


        • Car batteries, as well as household (AA, AAA, D, C) and button (used in watches and hearing aids) batteries, may contain certain metals that can contaminate the ground or air if disposed of improperly.
          • Many communities offer places to recycle batteries – check with associates as your local Home Depot, grocery store or shopping center to see if they have a disposal location.
            • Consider using rechargeable batteries whenever possible to reduce waste.

              Leaves and Lawn Clippings

              • Some municipalities require that yard waste (leaves, branches and grass clippings) be separated from other household trash and recycled because they can release harmful gases as they decompose in landfills.
                • Consider leaving grass clippings on the lawn — here, they return nutrients to the soil as they break down.
                  • Or gather lawn clippings in a durable bag that you can easily pull around the yard as you work, then dump everything into a compost pile or a brown paper lawn bag for proper disposal.

                    Computers, Eyeglasses, Cell Phones

                    All of these items can be recycled or repurposed. Search online to see which local organizations accept them — many retail stores across the country collect cell phones for donating or recycling.

                    Food Scraps

                    • Put food scraps in a composter and use the results later to enrich your garden soil.
                      • With other food waste, choose a trash can with a secure lid so pets, raccoons and other animals won’t be able to get into garbage and make a mess or eat something that could make them sick.

                        Household Cleaners

                        • Some cleansers and disinfectants, including some bleach and certain kitchen and bathroom cleaners, can be dangerous to the environment if poured down the drain or toilet.
                          • Check the product’s label for disposal information. If none is found, try to give the product away or find another purpose for it.
                            • If you have a large amount of hazardous product to dispose of, you can contact a household waste disposal company for information.
                              • To avoid this problem in the future, try to use the least hazardous products when cleaning. Baking soda or vinegar can be used for basic cleaning projects to various degrees of success.