Household Hazardous Waste
Residents may take their household hazardous waste to one of the permanent collection sites.
What is Household Hazardous Waste?
Household hazardous waste refers to used or leftover contents of consumer products that contain materials with one of the four characteristics of a hazardous waste: toxic, ignitable, corrosive or reactive. (See the Virginia DEQ Household Hazardous Waste Fact Sheet for more information.) Household hazardous waste should not be disposed of in the regular trash.
The Fairfax County Household Hazardous Waste Program accepts hazardous materials from residents free of charge and disposes or recycles them according to all local, state and federal regulations. Hazardous wastes from businesses are handled separately.
Household hazardous waste is best managed outside of the regular municipal solid waste stream. If handled properly, it will decrease the likelihood that these elements will enter the environment.
The safest way to dispose of household hazardous waste is to carefully pack them up and bring them to one of the county's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites. NOTE: This service is available to Fairfax County residents only.
Materials Accepted at HHW Locations
- Aerosol Sprays
- Batteries: Button, Rechargeable (NICAD), Mercury and Lithium Batteries are the ONLY household batteries accepted by this program. Rechargeable batteries may also be taken to additional collection points. Dispose of Alkaline batteries in the regular trash.
- Brake Fluid
- Coal Tar Products
- Cooking Oil
- Creosote Products (wood sealers and wood treatment products)
- Driveway Sealers
- Floor Care Products
- Fluorescent Lamps, Unbroken
- Glue (solvent-base)
- Inks & Dyes
- Mercury Products
- Moth Balls
- Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover
- Paint (oil-base)
- Paint Thinner
- Pool Chemicals
- Rechargeable Batteries
- Rust Removers
- Weed Killers
- Windshield Wiper Fluid
- Wood Preservers
See instructions for packing and transporting household hazardous waste, at the bottom of this page.
Materials That May be Poured Down the Drain
- Ammonia-based Cleaners
- Most Bathroom Cleaners
- Diluted, Mixed Photographic Chemicals
- Drain Cleaners
Materials That May be Disposed in Regular Trash
- Batteries labeled Alkaline
- Empty Containers of any kind
- Glue (water-based only)
Latex Paints (dried)
- Let the latex paint air dry and throw container in trash. (Tip: You may pour the paint onto newspaper. Once it dries, roll up the newspaper and dispose of it in the trash.) If you are unable to let the latex paint dry, you may take the container to one of the permanent household hazardous waste sites or to a scheduled collection event.
- Permissible Fireworks/Flares (thoroughly soaked in water first)
- Shoe Polish
- Smoke Alarms (remove battery first)
- Medicine - May be mixed with water, coffee grounds or kitty litter to make unusable.
- Syringes, Needles and Other Medical Sharps: Place in plastic container with screw-on top. Mark the container "residential sharps."
Other Materials NOT Accepted at HHW Locations
- Ammunition: Call the Police Non-Emergency Number: 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
- Fireworks: Contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 703-246-4849, TTY 711.
- Propane Tanks: Common 20 lb. barbecue-style propane tanks are accepted at the metal recycling area for a fee of $3 per tank. Larger tanks must be returned to a local supplier.
- Explosives: Call the Police Non-Emergency Number: 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
- Radioactive Materials: Call the Department of Public Safety Communications: 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
- Compressed Gas Cylinders: Contact local supplier.