If we look around our homes most of us will likely find some type of hazardous waste, and nobody wants to have hazardous waste sitting around. Sometimes it’s challenging to get them to a facility that can handle them safely.
If you have quite a bit of hazardous waste in your home, making a trip to one of Metro’s two household hazardous waste facilities may be your best option, but for many household hazards, there are other options. Here are a few examples that may save you a trip:
- Old medications in nearly any dosage form such as pills, liquids, and sprays, can be safely and legally disposed of through a statewide safe drug disposal program. Drop sites can be found using the Med Take Back Oregon search tool.
- Personal medical sharps such as syringes, lancets, auto-injectors, needles, needle connectors and infusion sets can be difficult to get rid of. But there are several sharps collection boxes in the Portland metro area. You can find the nearest one to you by visiting the Multnomah County sharps website.
- Rechargeable batteries are found in many everyday objects. They power things like toothbrushes, power tools, cameras, laptops and phones. Sometimes they can’t be removed from the devices they power. These batteries are especially dangerous if damaged and should always be taken to a recycler. The Call2Recycle program offers free, safe drop-off at many retail businesses.
- You can dispose of unwanted architectural paint and many related materials at retail locations through Oregon's PaintCare program. Materials must be in the original containers with legible labels.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs are so yesterday! These mercury-containing illuminators are quickly being replaced by LED lamps. But many people still have the CFLs in lamps in their homes or stowed in a box. If the thought of stashing mercury in the linen closet doesn’t appeal to you, you can unload CFLs at many home improvement and hardware stores. Please note that most of them do not accept long fluorescent tube lamps because of their fragility.
- For many residents of our region, motor oil in small quantities can be picked up by your garbage hauling company with other recycling. Place your oil next to your bins in clear plastic bottles or jugs one gallon or smaller. But if you live in an apartment or condo, if you have a bit more than one or two gallons, or if you can’t come up with a clear jug, there are alternatives such as several O’Reily Auto Parts and AutoZone stores. Call ahead to check that if your nearest store participates.
- Many household electronics contain hazardous materials – think arsenic, lead, cadmium, and many others. Metro’s hazardous waste facilities are not equipped to handle these materials, but the Oregon Ecycles program provides an extensive network of drop-off locations where we can drop off defunct televisions, computers, monitors and more.
Removing hazardous items creates a safer living environment and greater peace of mind. If you have questions about handling these items or other hazardous materials from your home, visit the Ask Metro webpage or call Metro’s Recycling Information Center at 503-234-3000.