Hazardous Wastes

Household Hazardous Waste

Many products used in our homes contain hazardous chemicals. It is important to handle these products with care to prevent harm to yourself, other living things, and our environment.

Household hazardous waste includes household items that usually carry words like caution, warning, danger, corrosive, poison, flammable, combustible, and explosive.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is accepted at no charge at the City and County transfer stations only from residential customers and only when the materials have come from a private home or vehicle. The City's transfer station at the Waste to Energy Facility accepts HHW during all open hours – 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. The County's North County and Valley transfer stations accept these wastes on Saturdays and Sundays only between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Materials should be in leak-proof containers with the contents labeled on the outside. No containers greater than 5 gallons. If you would like your gasoline, waste oil or antifreeze container returned, just ask the attendant. Other waste containers cannot be emptied and returned. Here's a quick guide (PDF 4.2 MB) to items accepted at the City and County facilities.

Compact Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are more energy efficient than incandescent lights, but they do contain mercury. They should be disposed of properly. One broken fluorescent bulb can contaminate 7,000 gallons of water with mercury.

Fluorescent bulbs should not be placed in residential garbage or recycling carts. We ask you to accumulate burned out fluorescent bulbs and other household items containing mercury and deliver them to the Household Hazardous Waste section at the transfer stations. Disposal is free. Other drop-off locations for mercury-containing lights can be found by going to www.lightrecyclewa.org.

For businesses needing information on safe disposal options for fluorescent lights and other items containing mercury, contact the Recycling Hotline at 509.477.6800.

Residential Sharps & Pharmaceutical Waste

You can prevent injury and illness by following simple steps when disposing of residential or home health care sharps and pharmaceuticals.

Sharps

All needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects should be placed in a puncture resistant container (coffee can, liquid detergent or bleach bottle) with a label noting that the container holds sharps. Once secured in a container, sharps can be disposed of at the Household Hazardous Waste area at transfer stations.

Please do not flush sharps down toilets and never place sharps containers in recycling carts. Visit the Center for Disease Control website for additional information on safe community needle disposal.

Medications

Never flush medications or pharmaceuticals down toilets or pour down drains.

Recommended disposal:

  1. Make medicine unusable (add to wet coffee grounds, mix with used cat litter, or add to dirt or cayenne pepper)
  2. Remove identifying information from containers
  3. Dispose of in regular garbage

Medicine return locations are available at the Take Back Your Meds website.

Some prescription containers may be recyclable. Check with the Recycling Hotline, 509.477.6800, for current information before disposing of the empty container in the trash. Soiled bandages, disposable sheets, and medical gloves should be placed in securely fastened plastic bags before placing them in the garbage can with household trash.

Hazardous Waste from Businesses

Business waste cannot be accepted at the household hazardous waste facilities. Disposal options for hazardous wastes generated from businesses depend on the amount the business generates.

“Small Quantity Generators” are businesses that generate less than 220 pounds of dangerous waste or 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste per month. Get more information on Small Quantity Generators.

“Large Quantity Generators” are businesses that generate more than the above amounts of hazardous wastes per month. Disposal for these businesses is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology. Get more information on Large Quantity Generators.

Technical Assistance/Education

A comprehensive directory options for businesses and residents is available on the EnviroStars website.

Information Library - Hazardous Waste

Chemical or Hazardous Spills

  • Emergencies: Fire or Police, Call 9-1-1
  • Spills to Sewers: Daytime 509.625.4600; After Hours 509.625.4610
  • Spills to Ground or Surface Water: 24-hour Response 509.329.3400

Get Help with Hazardous Waste Emergency Planning for your Business:

Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP)
800.437.7430
ahmpnet.org

EnviroStars
509.535.7084
envirostars.org

Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
509.477.2204
spokanecounty.org/emergencymgmt/

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
541.948.3146
nfpa.org

North America Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA)
877.292.1403
nahmma.org

Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)
360.668.6592
swananw.org

Spokane Fire Department
311, or for outside city limits, 509.755.CITY (2489)
spokanefire.org

Spokane Valley Fire Dept.
509.928.2462
spokanevalleyfire.com

Washington State Department of Ecology – Eastern Regional Office
509.329.3400
ecy.wa.gov

Washington Refuse and Recycling Association (WRRA)
360.943.8859
wrra.org

Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA)
206.244.0311
wsra.net


Chemical or Hazardous Spills

  • Emergencies
    Fire or Police, Call 9-1-1
  • Spills to Sewers
    Daytime 509.625.4600
    After Hours 509.625.4610
  • Spills to Ground or Surface Water
    24-hour Response 509.329.3400

Waste Disposal Directory

A comprehensive waste disposal directory is maintained by the EnviroStars program.