Hazardous Household Wastes
Keeping hazardous materials out of landfills reduces potential pollution liability and protects groundwater. Orange County can assist citizens and businesses to manage or reduce the use of these potentially polluting materials.
Medical or infectious wastes, radioactive wastes, and explosives are prohibited. Residents can bring unwanted pharmaceutical medication to local law enforcement drop off locations. Do not bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste collection. Residents can ship smoke detectors to be properly managed and recycled to Curie Environmental Services. Do not bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste collection.
There are two Household Hazardous Waste collections in Orange County:
- Eubanks Rd. and Walnut Grove Church Rd. Waste and Recycling Centers
Anyone using either one of these facilities with more than 20 gallons of paint or 25 pounds of other hazardous waste material should contact our office first to set up an appointment. Call 919-968-2788 or email recycling.
Business Hazardous Waste
Businesses that generate less than 220 pounds of Hazardous Waste per month can use the Orange County Hazardous Waste Collection at the Eubanks Road facility only at no additional charge. Businesses using this facility must call ahead for an appointment at 919-968-2788 or email recycling and they must sign an affidavit that states they are a "Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator."
Federal Law divides commercial generators of hazardous waste into three categories: Large Quantity Generators (over 2,200 pounds per month), Small Quantity Generators (220 to 2,200 pounds per month) and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (under 220 pounds per month). Federal Law regulates the first two types of hazardous waste generators. Only Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators are permitted to use the facility at the Orange county Landfill.
The following items are accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection:
- Aerosol cans (if aerosol spray cans are completely empty they can be recycled with residential or drop-off recycling)
- All batteries (also accepted at Waste and Recycling Centers)
- Anti-freeze and other automotive fluids (antifreeze and used motor oil are also accepted at Waste and Recycling Centers)
- Automotive chemicals
- Fluorescent light bulbs, including tubes and compact fluorescent ("twirly") lights
- Helium tanks up to 3 gallon size
- Household cleaners and chemicals
- Lawn, garden, and pool chemicals
- Propane tanks 1 gallon size only
- Thermostats and thermometers containing mercury
- Used cooking oil and many other items in your home that may be toxic, flammable, caustic, or otherwise hazardous.
Bring items in their original containers with original labels intact whenever possible.
Do not mix wastes. Do not bring explosives, infectious wastes, or radioactive materials.
- Antifreeze: Recycle in a separate yellow tank at the Waste and Recycling Centers. Do not mix it with motor oil.
- Batteries: All types of batteries can now be recycled at Waste and Recycling Centers.
- Wet-cell batteries such as automobile batteries can be stacked on pallets located at each center. Auto-battery retailers in North Carolina are also required by law to take these batteries back. Please do not place lead-acid batteries in the dry-cell battery receptacle.
- Dry-cell batteries of all types, flashlight, button cell, hearing aid, camera, etc. can be dropped off at special containers now located at each Waste & Recycling Center.
- NEW RULES FOR LITHIUM BATTERIES. Please separate and tape the ends/terminals (if button cell, tape the entire battery), before bringing to drop off sites. Please only place Lithium and Lithium-ion batteries in receptacles labeled for Lithium batteries.
- Batteries of all types are also collected at the following locations:
- Town and Country Hardware (Timberlyne Shopping Center)
- Weaver Street Market (all 4 locations)
- Southeastern Camera at 205 W Main St., Carrboro
- Fluorescent tubes and bulbs contain mercury and should not be broken or disposed in a landfill. Households and businesses that produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per year may bring these lamps, including compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection. While households are exempt from any Federal or State regulations on hazardous waste disposal, businesses and institutions such as schools, churches or social service agencies are not. Therefore, make sure any business, church, agency or school you are associated with has a proper fluorescent lamp disposal policy. Contact our office if your Orange County agency needs assistance with this.
- Fluids: Kerosene, transmission fluid, gear oil, heating oil, and diesel fuel gasoline, solvents, mixed gas, and brake fluid. Bring these fluids directly to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection buildings.
- Oil Filters: These filters can be recycled at the Waste and Recycling Centers. The steel is recovered to make new steel and the paper and oil are burned for fuel. Each filter, even after being hot-drained, can contain as much as 4 ounces of motor oil that may still leak out. The State of North Carolina has banned Oil Filters from being disposed of in North Carolina Landfills.
- Paint: While we encourage citizens to take their leftover paint to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection, there are other methods for getting rid of small amounts of latex paint. If all you have is a small amount of paint, it may help you avoid having to go to the HHW.
- Small amounts of paint may be safely dried out and landfilled by simply air-drying the can if there is less than 1/2 inch of paint, or adding an absorbent such as kitty litter or sand to the can contents. When dry, dispose the can with household waste, by leaving the lid off the can, so the waste collectors can see that it is empty and filled with a drying agent.
- If the can is metal, and is completely empty with only a dried residue of paint, it can be recycled at drop-off sites with other metal cans. Paint cans will not be recycled at the curb, even if empty.
- Used Motor Oil: Oil collection tanks are located at all five Waste and Recycling Centers and at the Hazardous Household Waste collection facility. The used oil we collect is cleaned and used as boiler fuel. Some is reprocessed into lubricating oil. It is unlawful to dispose of motor oil in landfills, down drainage ditches or into storm sewers. Please recycle your motor oil! One gallon of motor oil when dumped into fresh water can foul 1,000,000 gallons of drinking water supply.
Alternatives to Hazardous Cleaners & Pesticides
The best, cheapest alternative is prevention or reduction of the use of hazardous materials. New non-toxic substitutes are being invented every day. Old reliable cleaners such as baking soda and lemon juice are being rediscovered. Sometimes they require a little more time or elbow grease, but the savings to your pocketbook and the earth can be worth the 'trouble'.