Household Hazardous Waste

Many products that you use every day like household cleaners and batteries are hazardous. Look for common warning symbols such as corrosive, poisonous, explosive and flammable on hazardous products.

Corrosive material hazard symbolMaterials causing immediate and serious toxic effects hazard symbolFlammable and combustible material symbol

Hazardous waste should never be put in the garbage or poured down drains or storm sewers. Household hazardous waste is not picked up at the curb. Hazardous waste should be taken to a Community Recycling Centre.

Hazardous waste tips

  • You must live in Hamilton to drop off household hazardous waste at a Community Recycling Centre. Commercial, industrial and institutional properties may not drop off household hazardous waste.
  • There is no charge to drop off household hazardous waste. Empty containers are not accepted. Containers must have leftover hazardous waste in them.
  • Needles and syringes must be placed in a plastic or metal container with a lid such as an empty detergent bottle or metal coffee can. Write "syringes" on the outside of the container. You can also get a container for needles and syringes at most pharmacies. Needles and syringes in glass containers will not be accepted. Please contact your local pharmacy to inquire about needle/syringe take back programs.
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide alarms will not be accepted. Take the batteries out and place the alarm in the garbage. Take the batteries to a Community Recycling Centre.
  • Containers used for hazardous waste drop-off are not returned. Use only container(s) you are willing to leave at the CRC.

Each time you visit you can bring a maximum of:

  • 40 kg (90 lbs) of hazardous waste or 40 litres (10 gallons) of liquid hazardous waste.
  • Eight fluorescent tubes.
  • One thermostat that has mercury in it.

Items that you can recycle in your blue box

  • Empty metal and plastic paint cans and lids go in your blue box or the container recycling at the CRC.
  • Empty plastic paint buckets and lids go in the bulky rigid plastics bin at the CRC.
  • Empty spray paint cans go in your blue box. 

Leftover Exterior Paint Cans

Leftover exterior paint can be dropped off at a CRC to help victims of graffiti.

Each of the City of Hamilton's Community Recycling Centres has a reuse shed that we stock with cans of paint we think can be reused. The sheds are open from spring to fall. You can take home up to four cans of paint for free!

Find out more about the reuse program.

You can drop off household batteries (single-use and rechargeable) and cell phones at various locations throughout Hamilton.

The following batteries need to be placed in a plastic bag or cover both battery ends with tape to make sure that the ends do not touch and spark a fire:

  • lithium
  • button cell
  • 9 volt
  • corroded or leaking batteries
  • cell phones

Store all batteries in a cool and dry location before you bring them to a Community Recycling Centre or Municipal Service Centre for recycling.

There are a number of less toxic alternatives to hazardous products that you use on a daily basis.

Be sure to take proper precautions when handling and using the things listed below.

Commercial product Less toxic alternative
Bleach Borax (available in the detergent section of most grocery stores)
Dish detergent grease cutter 1/2 cup baking soda and lemon juice
Drain cleaner Plunger followed by 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 litres of boiling water
General household cleaner (abrasive) Baking soda
Grease remover Borax on a damp cloth
Ink spot remover Cold water, 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Linoleum floor cleaner 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 litres of water
Mildew remover Equal parts vinegar and salt
Oven cleaner 2 tablespoons of liquid soap, 2 teaspoons of Borax and warm water
Spot remover Club soda, lemon juice and salt
Toilet bowl cleaner Paste of Borax and lemon juice
Tub and tile cleaner 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and warm water
Window cleaner 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 litre warm water

 

Illegal dumping of hazardous waste should be reported to the Ministry of Environment’s Pollution Hotline at 1-866-663-8477.

Spills of hazardous waste should be reported to one of the following:

  • Ministry of the Environment Spills Action Center 1-800-268-6060
  • City of Hamilton Spills Reporting Line 905-540-5188

Both of these lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When calling, note the date, time, location of the spill, what was spilled and the approximate quantity (if known) and any other details you can make note of.

  • Acids or bases
  • Adhesives (all types)
  • Aerosol cans that are full or partially full
  • Alkyd and lead-based paints/stains
  • Antifreeze
  • Automobile batteries
  • Barbeque propane cylinders (large and non-refillable)
  • Batteries (single use)
  • Bleach
  • Blueprint ink
  • Brake fluid
  • Car care products
  • Car wax
  • Chemicals
  • Chlorine
  • Cleaners and detergents
  • Drain cleaner
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Energy efficient light bulbs
  • Fertilizers
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fluorescent light bulb/tubes and ballasts
  • Fluorescent tube light (whole) (8 per day)
  • Fuel
  • Garden chemicals
  • Gas
  • Glue
  • Grease (automobile)
  • Helium tanks
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Kerosene
  • Lancets
  • Light bulbs (residential):
    • Fluorescent bulbs
    • Halogen bulbs
    • HiD lamps/bulbs
    • Sodium lamps/bulbs
    • UV lamps/bulbs
  • Lighter fluid
  • Medication
  • Mercury thermometers/thermostats
  • Motor oil
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Nail polish
  • Oil filters
  • Oven cleaner
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Paint cans that are full or partially full
  • Paint thinner
  • Perfume
  • Pesticides
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Pool chemicals
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Salt (driveway)
  • Solvents
  • Syringes
  • Toner/ink Cartridges
  • Transmission fluid
  • Turpentine
  • Varnish
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Ammunition, explosives or fireworks (are best handled by contacting the Hamilton Police).
  • Asbestos
  • Biohazardous waste / biochemical wastes (can be taken to a company listed in the Yellow Pages).
  • Radioactive waste (must be called in to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited).