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Household Hazardous Waste

What are hazardous wastes?

Hazardous wastes are substances that can harm the environment, and affect the health of people and animals. Hazardous wastes are harmful because they are:

Explosive, flammable, reactive, toxic, corrosive or infectious

Hazardous wastes are produced by factories, users of toxic products, (such as people who use cleaning products and chemicals) and even households. Potentially hazardous wastes are about 1% of household rubbish bags and transfer station waste, but even though this is only a tiny amount, it can still cause problems.

Hazardous Wastes in the Home

Many of the products and substances we use in our homes can be hazardous if we do not use and dispose of them properly. Products such as bleach, moth balls, garden sprays, oven cleaners, paints, insect sprays and household cleaners can be dangerous.

Together these products can add up to be a considerable source of pollution. The environment can be damaged when they make their way into the air, water and soil. People's health can also be affected.

Look in your cupboards, sheds, garages, laundry and workshop for products that may be hazardous.

What to do about Hazardous Wastes?

Reduce the amount of Hazardous Wastes by:

  • Buy only as much as you need
  • Use all of the product or see if someone else can use up the leftovers
  • Buy products that are made from natural or non-toxic materials

Safe Use and Storage

Most substances are only dangerous when not used properly.

  • Always follow instructions and use carefully. Never use more than the manufacturer's instructions recommend
  • Store in original containers so that you can check instructions and contents
  • Keep the lid tightly closed
  • Store in a cool, well ventilated place, out of the reach of children and pets
  • Don't store bleach close to ammonia or acids as these could react and create a poisonous gas
  • Don't use old containers to store other products.

Disposal Options

Hazmobile collection in Napier 2009.Don't tip down stormwater drains as these empty directly to local streams causing pollution and killing wildlife. It is illegal to put hazardous wastes into stormwater drains. Never tip oil onto the ground or use on unsealed driveways. It will contaminate and pollute the ground. Don't burn as some substances give off toxic fumes.

  • Only biodegradable detergents should be allowed to soak into the ground
  • Carefully seal empty containers and dispose of them in your normal rubbish
  • For any unwanted products - mix an absorbent material (e.g. kitty litter, sand or sawdust) into the original container. Tightly seal and place into a plastic bag for disposal with other rubbish


  • Allow used brush cleaners to evaporate, or use as a weed killer
  • Wash out paint brushes in a sink or gully trap
  • Allow unwanted latex and water based paint to dry then dispose with normal household rubbish


  • Take to your local chemist for proper disposal.
  • Syringes - Needle exchange - for needle exchange please contact the needle exchange program.

Needle Exchange Program

+64 6 843 8725


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