Don't Dump It, Drop It Off

posted 7/27/2016

Few household tasks are more daunting than cleaning-out an old storage closet, the cabinets way in the back of the garage or tackling that corner of the basement with stacked up paint cans. It’s hard work that often uncovers items you’re not sure how to get rid of, including hazardous products.  While it may be tempting to get into throw-mode and just dump and toss, the safe and smart option is to identify hazardous products and take them to a drop-off location.

Identify Household Hazardous Waste

To identify hazardous products, look for labels that read corrosive, toxic, flammable, reactive or Keep Out of Reach of Children. These are indicators that the maternal contains chemicals that should not be disposed of in your regular trash or down a drain.

Don’t Dump It

Down the Drain- Whether it’s the bathroom drain or your neighborhood storm drain, dumping hazardous chemicals has serious health and environmental consequences.

  1. Dumping several products down a sink drain at the same time can cause chemical reactions, releasing toxic gases that pose a health risk. It may also result in contamination of waterways. Waste water from homes, connects to city sewers, and then goes through a waste water treatment facility where it is treated before it’s discharged into rivers and streams. Some hazardous products don’t break down in the system due to the chemical makeup.
  2. Material that is dumped into a storm drain (or anyplace that drains into a storm drain like yards, driveways, etc.)  goes straight into our rivers, lakes and streams without any treatment for direct contamination.

In the Regular Trash - Throwing hazardous waste in the garbage can pose a health risk to sanitation workers and anyone else who may come in contact with remnants of the material. Aerosol paint for example is highly flammable and under the right conditions can explode. Family and pets can also be effected if materials leak out of the garbage cart or truck get tracked back in the home.

Drop It Off

There are two convenient and free options for residents to properly dispose of unused household hazardous waste in Central Iowa.

  1. Metro Hazardous Waste Drop-Off - A year-round hazardous waste drop-off facility located outside of Bondurant (half mile off of I80 and Highway 65). It is open to residents for disposal of unused hazardous products free of charge up to 75 pounds. See hours and a full is of accepted items.
  2. Northwest Drop-Off – Open the second Saturday of the month from March-Dec., the site offers residents in the northern and western suburbs a convenient location with consistent drop-off hours. See hours and accepted items.

If you live outside of the Des Moines Metro, click here or contact your local solid waste agency to inquire about a drop-off event in your community.

When you take your hazardous products to a Hazardous Waste Drop-Off, Environmental Technicians are available to take your materials, answer questions about other hazardous products, and ensure your material is disposed of safely and responsibly. Utilizing a Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off not only ensures your hazardous waste stays out of our waterways, but it’s likely to get re-used through the Swap Shop. When a resident brings in unused household hazardous material, our techs inspect the product, and if it’s in good condition, it goes onto the Swap Shop shelves. The general public is welcome to shop the shelves and take items free of charge.

For more information about safe, smart disposal visit or call 515.244.0021.