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Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?

Many products used in the home, garage, and garden contain hazardous ingredients and need to be used and stored safely. These products include non-water-based paint, stain and varnish, motor oil, cleaning solvents, pesticides, weed killers, antifreeze, rechargeable batteries, gasoline, aerosol cans, waxes, and wood preservative. Once these products are no longer needed, they become HHW that require proper disposal. See a more comprehensive list.

It makes sense to collect HHW separately, thus keeping it out of landfills. This keeps garbage collectors and landfill workers from being injured by exploding cans, splashed chemicals, fumes or fires created by mixed chemicals. It enables some of the wastes to be recycled or used as energy-saving fuel. HHW should never be poured onto the ground or down the gutter because it will wash into the storm drains. Water in the storm drains flows directly into the streams, and this can result in the pollution of surface water, groundwater, and wildlife habitat. Such wastes should not be flushed into septic systems or into the sewer drains because this may kill the active bacteria in the wastewater processes.
Important Update About Electronic Waste Disposal

As of July 1, 2013, Colorado residents are no longer able to dispose of most electronic waste (e-waste) in household trash because of the new Electronic Recycling Jobs Act. The new law bans landfills from accepting e-waste.

The Act applies to televisions, CPUs, computer monitors and peripherals, printers and fax machines, laptops and notebook computers, DVD players, VCRs, and all video display devices with screens larger than four inches, radios, stereo equipment, and video game consoles.

Several big-box retail electronics and office supply stores will take your old items off your hands at no charge, and no purchase is necessary. Talk with retailers or check their websites to see who offers this service. Some limitations may apply.

Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

Broomfield residents have two options for disposal of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). First, the City and County of Broomfield typically hosts two one-day drop-off events each year—one in the spring and one in the fall.

Broomfield residents are also welcome to use the year-round permanent Hazardous Materials Management Facility (HMMF) in Boulder. There is no charge to the individual for this service. A driver's license or other proof of residency is required. Through an intergovernmental agreement with the communities in the region, Boulder County operates the program. Please note that the HMMF does not accept electronic waste.

The facility is regularly open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The facility is not open on public holidays. Reusable products are available FREE OF CHARGE to the public during regular hours of operation.

Residents should call the HMMF at 720.564.2251 for closure information before delivering any waste.

To get more information on the Household Hazardous Waste Program, call the Boulder County Resource Conservation Division at 720.564.2220.

What should I do with my Latex Paint?
It is perfectly safe to dry out or solidify spoiled latex paint and dispose of it with your regular trash. Latex paint is not hazardous and, once solidified, can be safely sent for landfill disposal.

Here are some helpful tips for drying out paint.
  • For cans almost empty: Remove the lid and allow the paint to dry. You may need to mix it up to be sure it dries all the way through. This works well for small quantities and may take several days.
  • For cans half full: Mix an equal amount of absorbent material (cat litter, sawdust, newspaper or vermiculite) into the paint, mix well and allow it to dry. Paint hardening products can also be purchased at the hardware stores. Once there is no free running liquid, you can dispose of the cans with your trash.
  • For full cans that have soured: Line a cardboard box with a sturdy plastic bag free of holes. Pour the absorbent material into the box; slowly mix the paint into the absorbent. Once completely dry, dispose of the bag with your regular trash.

Once the paint is completely solidified and dry, it can be thrown away with your regular, household trash. Be sure to leave the lids off so your waste hauler knows the contents are not liquid. If the lids are left on, your waste hauler will not take it.

As an option, Broomfield residents can take latex paint to Boulder County's HMMF. In 2013, the HMMF partnered with a local company and is now diverting most of the latex paint it collects. The Englewood-based company collects paint that hasn't solidified or been frozen and combines like colors. The paint is then mixed, filtered, and repackaged as recycled content paint sold at select retailers. In 2014, the HMMF diverted 20,595 gallons of paint from landfills.

What should I do with my Household Batteries?
  • Alkaline batteries come in many sizes and are commonly referred to as disposable or single-use batteries. Since the early 1990’s, manufacturers stopped adding mercury and cadmium to alkaline batteries, making them safe for landfill disposal. The majority of alkaline batteries are non-hazardous and can be safely disposed with household trash. Alkaline batteries that are more than 15 years old should be brought to the HHW collection event. (downloadable battery information sheet)
  • Button batteries often contain metals and other hazardous ingredients and should be returned to the manufacturer when purchasing a new battery. Many shops that replace watch and hearing aid batteries accept your batteries for recycling at no charge. You may also bring your button batteries to a HHW collection event.
  • Lithium batteries contain lithium metal compounds and should be recycled. Again, exchange lithium batteries at the time of replacement purchase or deliver them to a HHW collection event.
  • Rechargeable batteries are environmentally preferable because they last longer and can be easily recycled. However, they contain metals and other hazardous ingredients and should NOT be disposed of with household trash. Exchange them at the time of replacement purchase or bring them to a collection event. Some rechargeable batteries look like alkaline batteries. However, they contain Nickel and Cadmium and will be clearly marked with the words "nickel and/or cadmium. These should be recycled. If in doubt, bring them to a collection event.
  • Car/motorcycle batteries contain lead and acid and must be recycled. Many businesses allow you to trade-in your old battery to avoid a fee (core charge). Lead-acid batteries can pose serious dangers if disposed of with the household trash and should not enter the landfill. They may also be delivered to a HHW collection event.

Is it true that Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL's) should not go in the trash?

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL's) contain a small amount of mercury and therefore should not be disposed of in your household trash. Check with the retailer where you purchase the CFL's to see if they offer a recycling service. You can also dispose of these as you would other HHW materials, either at Broomfield's HHW events scheduled in early May or early October each year, or at the Boulder HMMF.

Tips to help reduce the amount of HHW generated:

READ LABELS: Read and follow directions carefully!

THINK SMALL: Use the correct amount of product recommended. For example, with pesticide use, twice as much is not twice as effective and may be twice as toxic!

NON-TOXIC ALTERNATIVES: Purchase the least toxic product available. Danger, Caution, Warning, Harmful, Poison, Toxic, Corrosive, Volatile, Flammable, Inflammable, Combustible or Explosive—these words should alert you to the hazardous nature of the product. Choose water-based products over solvent-based ones. Avoid aerosols if you can. Avoid products containing chlorinated compounds, petroleum distillates, phenols and formaldehyde.

STORE PROPERLY: Always store products in their original containers with labels. Store unsafe products away from small children and pets.

DON’T MIX: Some household products, when mixed, can form dangerous fumes or may become explosive. Never mix anything with products containing chlorine or ammonia.

PLAN AHEAD: Buy only what you need to avoid or minimize waste. Don’t be tempted to buy a gallon if you only need a cup. Think about how you are going to dispose of any materials you have left over. Give leftover products to a responsible neighbor or friend who can use it up rather than throwing it out.

Boulder Facility Accepts HHW Year-Round

Broomfield residents can take their household hazardous wastes* to the Boulder County Hazardous Materials Management Facility year round! There is no charge for this service. The facility is located at 1901 63rd St., immediately west of the Boulder County Recycling Center. It is open Wednesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call the facility at 720.564.2251 for more information.

*Electronic waste is NOT accepted at this facility.

If you have additional questions or need more information, please call Shirley Garcia, Environmental Coordinator for Broomfield, at 303.438.6329, email her, or contact the Boulder County Resource Conservation Division at 720.564.2220.