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Many of the products used around the home like paint, cleaners, and pesticides are poisonous and should not be thrown in the trash or dumped down the drain. Even the dead batteries from toys, radios and cell phones cannot go in the trash. We call these kinds of things “Household Hazardous Waste.”

If these things are put into the trash or dumped in the sink or toilet, they can cause pollution and harm fish, animals and people.

If you come across any bottle or can with the words “DANGER” “WARNING” OR “HARMFUL” or Poison tell your parents that they cannot be thrown in the trash and should be taken to a special collection center.

Also, any old batteries, cell phones, computers, TVs, DVD players or other things that run on electricity should not be thrown in the trash. Ask your parents to take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center.

Common Household Hazardous Products

Bathroom Cleaners
Car/Household Batteries
Drain Cleaner
Dust Sprays
Furniture Polish
Glass Cleaner
Hair Spray
Laundry Bleach
Laundry Detergent
Model Paint
Motor Oil
Nail Polish
Paint Thinner
Pet Flea Collars
Room Deodorizer
Scouring Powder
Silver Polish
Slug Bait
Spot Removers
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Upholstery Cleaners
Weed Killers

How Do I Know That These Products Are Hazardous?

Federal law requires that any household product containing hazardous substances must be labeled accordingly. They are rated through a system of the following four words:


Indicates the highest hazard level of the group, and means that a product is highly toxic, and can cause injury or death if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin.


Means that a product is either highly toxic, flammable or corrosive.


Both indicate that a product is toxic, corrosive, reactive or flammable.

How Can I Create Less Hazardous Waste?
(Below are some tips to create less hazardous waste)

  1. One of the best ways to create less hazardous waste is to use safer alternatives.
  2. Buy the smallest amount you need for a specific job.
  3. Buy the product with the lowest level of warning on the label. Buy “caution” instead of “poison”
  4. Use up the hazardous products you have first before purchasing more. If you can’t use it up give it to someone who will.
  5. If you must dispose of hazardous waste take it to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility on Johnson Canyon Rd. or Sun St. in Salinas.

What Makes a Household Product Hazardous?

Contains chemicals that are capable of causing injury or death if they are ingested through eating, drinking or breathing or being absorbed through the skin. Examples include insecticides, fertilizers and antifreeze.

Chemicals in these products can burn, or eat away living tissue (skin) or other materials like metals). Examples include oven, drain and toilet cleaners, chlorine bleach and car batteries.

Can react with air, water or other substances and result in explosions or the generation of toxic fumes. An example is mixing chlorine and ammonia.

Burns easily if exposed to a spark or flame, or may burst into flames at relatively low temperatures, thereby presenting a significant fire hazard. Examples include paint thinners, rubber cement, hair spray and furniture polish.

Liquid chemicals used to dissolve or thin oil-based paints, clean brushes, dilute varnish or clean up after painting. They can cause nervous system damage, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, and damage to internal organs if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.