Hazardous waste can harm people, waterways and wildlife when disposed of improperly. Proper hazardous waste management makes good business sense, and can reduce your liability for cleanups, lower insurance costs and protect workers.
Metro offers businesses safe disposal of small amounts of hazardous waste. A business that qualifies is known as a Very Small Quantity Generator, or VSQG.
Is your business a VSQG?
Estimate the waste you produce each month and inventory the hazardous waste you currently have on hand. You may qualify as a VSQG if you:
- produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste each month (approximately 25 gallons of liquid waste with a weight similar to water)
- produce less than 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste each month
- store no more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste on site.
To participate in Metro’s VSQG program, and apply for credit, complete the registration process.
If your organization exceeds any of these limits, you are not eligible for this program and you must manage your waste according to stricter regulations.
Are you instead looking for a transfer station credit account? A transfer station credit account is different than a Metro credit account. Learn more
What kinds of businesses generate hazardous waste?
If you use products that are corrosive, ignitable, reactive or toxic, then you likely generate hazardous waste. Businesses and organizations that create hazardous waste include:
- construction and painting contractors
- equipment repair shops
- furniture refinishing shops
- dry cleaners
- metal manufacturing operations
- vehicle maintenance and auto body shops
Safe disposal of hazardous waste
Hazardous waste should always be disposed of through a designated hazardous waste management or recycling facility. Hazardous waste should not be disposed with ordinary garbage, poured into the sewer system, down storm drains or onto the ground. Oregon law prohibits these acts. In addition to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 164.775, ORS 164.785, and ORS 164.805), many local jurisdictions have ordinances against illegal dumping and littering.
These items are accepted at Metro’s hazardous waste facilities:
- laboratory chemicals
- paints, thinners and solvents
- pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and poisons
- cleaners, pool and spa chemicals
- printing and photo chemicals
- batteries (automotive, nickel-cadmium, button cells) – (by pound)
- aerosol spray products – (by count)
Metro does not accept these materials through the Very Small Quantity Generator program:
- compressed cylinders except fire extinguishers, adhesive cylinders and propane cylinders
- biological waste – (sharps, tattoo needles, acupuncture needles, etc.)
- radioactive waste
- regulated PCB material
For more information about what is considered hazardous waste, download a fact sheet from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ is a co-sponsor of the VSQG program.
Other businesses may want your unwanted materials
You may give unused products that are still in good condition to others. Any products you give to other users are not considered waste, and do not count toward your total waste generated. The Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX) provides a listing service for a variety of unwanted chemicals and other materials throughout the Northwest. Visit IMEX to list your items.