Hazardous waste in your home

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Some commonly used household items are potentially hazardous to the environment due to their corrosive, flammable or reactive properties. These can include household cleaners, aerosol sprays, automotive supplies (including oil), paints and thinners, batteries, photographic chemicals, pool chemicals, and pesticides.

If misused, accidentally spilled or not disposed of properly, they can cause harm to the environment. Below are some tips regarding safe use, handling, storage and disposal of some common household items.

Tips for the safe use, handling and storage of household items

  • Purchase the smallest pack or bottle size which best meets your needs to avoid having to store unused chemicals.
  • Ensure the label on the container is intact.
  • Read the label before using the chemical and follow the instructions. Pay particular attention to safety precautions.
  • Do not use date-expired chemicals.
  • Handle chemicals in a well ventilated area.
  • Do not prepare chemical mixes in areas where an accidental spill could run into the stormwater drain.
  • Only prepare the volume of spray mix necessary to complete the task to avoid having to dispose of unused portions.
  • Wash hands and remove protective clothing prior to eating or drinking.
  • Keep chemicals only in original containers, closed tightly and labelled.
  • Check chemical containers frequently for leaks, deterioration and tears or loose lids.
  • Take precautions against potential fire hazards when using flammable, hazardous chemicals.
  • Store pesticides, pool chemicals and flammable chemicals in a storage shed away from the house. Store other chemicals such as cleaning agents in a locked cupboard out of the reach of children. Do not store any chemicals near food storage areas.
  • Some chemicals must not be stored together (check the label).

Banned chemicals

The following chemicals are either banned or require a permit to use: 2,4,5-T, Ethylene dibromide, Arsenic compounds, Cyhexatin, Tributyltin, Phenyl mercuric acetate, DDT, Heptachlor, Endrin, Lindane, Chlordane, Aldrin, Chlordimeform and Sodium fluoracetate(1080). If you suspect you may have one of these chemicals, please contact the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) by calling Access Canberra on 13 22 81 for advice on disposal.

Disposal old unwanted non-banned household chemicals

Household chemicals can be dropped off free of charge at the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre. Businesses should contact the EPA for advice.

Alternatives to household chemicals

For information on simple ways to reduce the use of chemicals in your home and garden visit the Safer Solutions website at www.safersolutions.org.au

Recycling and disposal of household items

The Planet Ark website provides information on where to drop off items for recycling in your area at www.recyclingnearyou.com.au.

List of recycling and disposal options




Pesticides (unwanted, banned or out of date), Solvents, Cleaning agents/detergents, Paint thinners, Paint containing lead, Printing and photographic chemicals – laboratory waste

Free drop off area at Mugga Lane

TAMS (by calling Access Canberra)


13 22 81

Fire extinguishers (since 1996, it has been illegal to have yellow BCF extinguishers, except on aircraft

Your local fire brigade

Collection bins inside landfill gates


Mobile phone batteries

Return to local mobile phone outlets and selected ANZ branches and regional recycling centres


Alkaline rechargeable batteries

Battery World Phillip

Aldis stores

6282 9884

Car batteries

Collection area at Mugga Lane and
Mitchell Resource Management Centres

MetalMart Fyshwick

Access Recycling Fyshwick

Sims Metals Hume

6239 2422

1800 727 276

6280 9920

Used motor oil and heating oil

Oil recycling depot at Mugga Lane and Mitchell Resource Management Centres


Nationwide Oil

6297 8185

0422 611 343

Cooking Oil

Collection areas at Mugga Lane and
Mitchell Resource Management Centres


Waste Away

1300 629 476

6260 1288

Petrol (old and used)

Hill & Co, 15 Barrier St Fyshwick (8L limit)

1300 305 136

Brake fluid (householder quantities)

Local service station

Collection areas at Mugga Lane

13 22 81

Gas cylinders

Collection area at Mugga Lane and
Mitchell Resource Management Centres


Radioactive material excluding domestic smoke detectors

Radiation Safety Section, Health Directorate

6205 1700

Domestic smoke detectors

EPA (by calling Access Canberra)

13 22 81

Unwanted medicines and other pharmaceuticals

Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) or you
Local chemist

1300 650 835 or

Paint – dried

Crush and place in household recycling bin or normal garbage


Paint – liquid

Collection area at Mugga Lane and Mitchell Resource Management Centres (10L limit)


Printer and photocopier cartridges

Planet Ark

Or your local Post Office

1800 242 473 or


Used compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes (household quantities)

Collection areas at Mugga Lane and Mitchell Resource Management Centres.

13 22 81

For more information

Contact the EPA by calling Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or email environment.protection@act.gov.au