Hazardous Household Waste Disposal Guide

Hazardous household waste products (HHW) are items containing chemicals that are flammable, reactive, corrosive or toxic.  These products can be harmful to you, your family and the environment if not disposed of properly.  They can be in the form of gases, liquids or solids.  Below is a guide to disposing of the most commonly asked about HHW.  For items not listed, call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687).

For recycling information, and for information on household chemical collection events, contact St. Louis County Department of Health at 314-615-4130 or visit them on the web at www.stlouisco.com/doh.


20 lb. Propane Tanks (for BBQ grills, campers, etc.):  Drop off at Lowe’s, Home Depot or other propane sales centers.  We recommended that you use as much as possible to empty the tank before disposal.  DO NOT discard old propane tanks in the trash, whether empty or not.

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers:  Fire extinguisher companies will take your old fire extinguishers; or you can empty them and discard them in the trash.  Empty fire extinguishers outside only – preferably into a trash can or other container.  Stay upwind of the discharge.  The dry chemical used in fire extinguishers is not considered hazardous, but can cause choking (just like dust) if inhaled.  DO NOT discard fire extinguishers in the trash unless the gauge indicates that there is no pressure.

Old Gasoline:  Pour, up to a gallon at a time, into an almost full vehicle gas tank.  Old gasoline, if adequately diluted by fresh gasoline, should not harm your vehicle engine.  DO NOT discard old gasoline into a storm drain or sanitary sewer – this can create an explosion hazard.

Old Motor Oil:  Auto parts stores such as Advanced Auto Parts, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Auto Zone, etc. will take used or old motor oil.

Old Latex Paint:  Dry out and discard in trash.  Dry out by mixing equal parts paint and either oil-dry or kitty litter and allow to dry out.

Compact Florescent Bulbs:  Compact florescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury.  Home Depot will accept your old compact florescent bulbs, or you can save them for disposal at the St. Louis County household chemical collection events.

Other HHW such as pesticides, solvent based paint products, cleaning chemicals, etc. should be stored in a safe place in their original containers, and disposed of at household chemical collection events held in the spring and fall by St. Louis County Department of Health (www.stlouisco.com/doh or 314-615-4130).