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Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

What is HHW?

Household hazardous wastes (HHW) are materials found in residential wastes that would be regulated as hazardous wastes if they were generated outside of a household. Industries dispose of chemical wastes that, because of the dangers they pose, are regulated as hazardous wastes and are subject to stringent management standards.

Household products may contain some of these materials, but all household wastes are exempt from State and federal hazardous waste regulations.

Homes, sheds, basements and garages can contain potentially hazardous chemicals that should be handled and discarded with special care. Examples of HHW include oil-based paints, pool supplies, automotive fluids, home hobby chemicals, and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

Why is HHW Important?

When handled improperly, these products can be harmful to the environment and public health. You can find additional information about household chemicals at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Household Hazardous Waste website (available under "Links Leaving DEC's Website" on the right hand side of this page).

Many households discard these wastes in the trash or store them for a long time, unless their local government sponsors a special HHW collection program.

Types of HHW Collection Programs

A Permanent HHW collection and storage facility can receive HHW from residents on a regular basis. These photo of an HHW Collection Dayfacilities must receive a permit from the NYSDEC. Collection of HHW in New York State is also accomplished through one-day or two-day collection events, where residents can bring HHW to a central location to be packaged and transported. In order to hold a HHW collection day, a plan for the event must be approved in advance by the DEC.

Funding Availability for Municipal HHW Collection Programs

For municipally-run HHW collection programs to effectively reduce HHW, they must be readily accessible to residents, and must be accompanied by both promotion of the collection program and education about source reduction. To help achieve these goals, New York State's Environmental Protection Fund provides financial assistance to local governments.

State funding is available from the Environmental Protection Fund for up to 50 percent of the costs of municipal HHW collection programs. For more information about State funding, please review the HHW State Assistance Program webpage or contact DEC at 518-402-8678 or email us.

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