Don't Dump It, Drop It Off

posted 2/18/2019

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, we want you to know where it should go and bring hazardous materials to us. 

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 material 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 any place that drains into a storm drain like yards, driveways, etc.)  goes straight into our rivers, lakes, and streams, without 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. For example, aerosol paint and rechargeable batteries are 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 and 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.

  1. Metro Hazardous Waste Drop-Off - Located outside of Bondurant, 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 year-round by appointment or 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 Hazardous Waste Drop-Off not only ensures your hazardous waste is safely handled, it’s likely to get recycled too.