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: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity or reactivity. (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 requlated separately and may not be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste Program.
Household hazardous waste is best managed when it is collected separately from regular municipal solid waste so that it can be sent to facilities capable of properly disposing of hazardous wastes. If handled properly, the likelihood that these potentially-harmful compounds will enter the environment is significantly decreased.
The safest way to dispose of household hazardous wastes 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: Car, Button, Rechargeable (NiCd), Mercury and Lithium-ion 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,Thermometers, and Thermostats
- 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 household hazardous waste sites.
- 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.
- Illegal 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. 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 Police Non-Emergency Number at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
- Compressed Gas Cylinders: Contact local supplier.
- Keep products in their original containers. Do not mix products. Make sure lids are tightly sealed. Label materials that are not in their original containers.
- Place leaking containers in a larger, plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Secure products upright in cardboard box so that they do not tip over in transport. Do not transport products in plastic bags.
- Transport products in the back of a pickup truck or in a car trunk. Ensure adequate ventilation if transported in car passenger compartment.
- Keep flammables out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat, spark, flame or ignition. Do not smoke.
ONLY leave waste during operating hours.
Businesses or Fairfax County Government agencies that generate small quantities of hazardous waste may qualify as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQGs). This program provides a legal and affordable solution to hazardous waste disposal. The benefit of the program is that it offers prices well-below the normal cost of disposing of hazardous waste directly with a hazardous waste disposal contractor. Additionally, the program eliminates painstaking recordkeeping requirements to businesses and institutions that contract for disposal directly with hazardous waste disposal service providers.
Fairfax County offers six CESQG events each year.
CESQG Event Dates:
- Wednesday, January 24, 2018
- Wednesday, March 21, 2018
- Wednesday, May 2, 2018
- Wednesday, July 18, 2018
- Wednesday, September 5, 2018
- Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Events run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. Business/commercial hazardous waste may only be disposed of on a scheduled business disposal day by small businesses that meet federal and state requirements.
Five steps to participate in the CESQG program:
First determine if you have met the requirements to qualify as a CESQG by making a waste identification.
The hazardous waste identification process is the crucial first step in the hazardous waste management system. Correctly determining whether a waste meets the RCRA definition of hazardous waste is essential to determining how the waste must be managed. The waste generator has responsibility for determining if a waste is a RCRA hazardous waste (See: 40 CFR 262.11).
View the EPA's steps for identifying hazardous waste. Still note sure? Call the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 703-803-9614, TTY 711, 703-803-6158, TTY 711 or send an email.
Start the process for a ONE-TIME sign-up for enrollment.
Prior to the event, complete a copy of the CESQG Liability of Waiver form. The liability of waiver form will need to signed by the owner, generator, or acting agent of the participating business. The signed copy of the liability of waiver form will then need to be Notarized. This is a one-time requirement for participation. After the initial sign-up, this step will not be necessary for future disposal visits.
You must provide a copy of your Business, Personal Property, State, or County Business License as proof that your business is located in Fairfax County (including cities or towns located within the county).
Secure all materials for safe transport.
Prior to arrival, place all chemicals or other items requiring disposal in secure containers, boxes, or drums. Drums larger than five-gallons cannot be accepted. A full 55-gallon drum would need to be emptied prior to the event and delivered in eleven 5-gallon containers.
Make sure that all items are labeled properly for identification. If there are multiple contaminants mixed list all of the used (spent) chemicals or constituents in the mixture to ensure proper disposal.
Ensure all containers are secured tightly including lids or caps to prevent leakage or spills from occurring.
It is a quick reference pamphlet outlining some of the important steps required for participation in the program. Bring completed paperwork to the event.
Show up with your required paperwork.
What if I exceed the amount of hazardous waste allowed under the CESQG statute?
If you exceed the amount of hazardous waste allowed under the federal and state requirements, your business will not be eligible to participate in the Fairfax County, Virginia CESQG disposal program. Refer to the Virginia Hazardous Waste Management regulations for details.
If a CESQG exceeds the allowable generation rate in a calendar month due to a unique occurrence or an unforeseeable/infrequent event, this may qualify as an episodic generator. If episodic generation of hazardous waste becomes a repeated occurrence, changing the hazardous waste generator status will be required. Until the hazardous waste is removed from the site, the hazardous waste generator must comply with the more stringent regulations applicable to businesses or institutions that qualify as small or large quantity hazardous waste generators. The business or institution can return to CESQG status after the hazardous waste is transported off site for disposal and as long as it does not generate more than 220 pounds in any one calendar month during the next 12 months.
For more information about this matter, see the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's requirements for CESQGs. If you fail to meet the participation requirements of a CESQG, you may utilize the services of a hazardous waste disposal contractor and transporter. Another source of information about how to properly manage hazardous waste generated by businesses or institutions is at www.knowtoxics.com.
Fees vary depending upon the quantity and type of material. Pricing quotes can be obtained by calling at least two weeks in advance of an upcoming event if the generator provides information on the contents and sizes of all containers. Any deviation from the reviewed and approved quote will result in pricing changes.
All payment for disposal services rendered is due upon arrival. A copy of your receipt will be provided to you by Fairfax County Government upon completion of the service. Businesses paying by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) may also have the option to receive a receipt emailed to them electronically.
Acceptable methods of payment:
- Make checks payable to Director of Finance, Fairfax County Government
- Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard)
- Intercompany Agency (Fairfax County Government Agencies only). Fairfax County Agencies wishing to pay via intercompany agency must provide a Cost Center # and Fund Number. Failure to do so will disqualify the agency from paying in this manner.
Universal waste is a subset of hazardous waste and contains mercury, lead, cadmium, copper and other substances hazardous to human and environmental health. Universal wastes are generated from a wide variety of sources (i.e., individuals, government agencies, hospitals, businesses, etc.) in a variety of settings, not just in traditional industrial settings.
In 1995, U.S. EPA developed an alternate, streamlined management program to encourage the collection and recycling of these commonly generated hazardous wastes. The federal universal waste regulations can be found in 40 CFR Part 273. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has adopted the federal universal waste regulations by reference with a few additional requirements. The DEQ regulations can be found at 9VAC20-60-273.
Managing qualifying hazardous wastes as universal waste is optional. Generators have the choice to manage hazardous wastes that fit into the categories of universal waste as universal wastes in Part 273 or under the full set of hazardous waste regulations. For a full understanding of the regulatory requirements of universal waste, read VADEQ Universal Waste Management & Regulations.
Examples of Universal Waste Include:
- Batteries (Lead Acid)
- Batteries (NiCd / NiMH)
- Batteries (Lithium / Lithium Ion)
- Batteries (Mercury)
- Batteries (Silver Oxide)
- Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) or Tubes (Mercury)
- Mercury Containing Equipment
- Mercury Thermostats
- Metal Halide Bulbs (Mercury)
- PCB Ballasts or Transformers
- Sodium Vapor Bulbs (Mercury)