Preparing products found in your garage for disposal

On this page: AntifreezeIgnitable liquids | Motor oil and filters | Pesticides | Solvent- or stain-contaminated rags

Swimming pool and spa chemicals | Tires | Fertilizer | Propane cylinders and canisters | Wood preservatives

Disposing of unwanted household chemicals and other products at a household hazardous waste collection event or facility is always the preferred option, but that option isn't available everywhere. The following information may be used to make small quantities of household wastes safer for landfill disposal.

Disclaimer 

These guidelines are only for wastes generated by households and may not be used for wastes generated, collected or confiscated by businesses, schools or government agencies. We have no liability or responsibility of any kind to any user or entity as a result of these guidelines. Using any or all of this guidance is solely at your discretion. Use this guidance only for the specific waste and purpose as presented. If you have mixtures of materials, do not use the procedures described unless you have a thorough understanding of the chemistry of the materials involved.

Antifreeze

Households on septic systems should not dispose of antifreeze down the drain.

  • Even in a diluted form, antifreeze can overwhelm and destroy the bacterial action in your septic system and drain field.
  1. Provide adequate ventilation by opening windows and doors and/or turning on a room fan.
  2. Carefully pour about 1 gallon of diluted antifreeze down the drain, flushing with large amounts of water. Failure to dilute antifreeze may damage pipes or other parts of your plumbing.
  3. Continue disposing in 1-gallon batches until completely gone.
    • Don't mix products.Wait several hours between disposing of different types of products.
    • The best time to do this is during the working day, when the sewage system is in full use, so this material passes through the municipal sewage system faster.
    • Contact your wastewater treatment facility to make sure it can accept the waste before using this method.

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Ignitable liquids

Always use extreme care when handling ignitable liquids.

  1. Work outdoors. Avoid inhaling fumes and stay away from ignition sources.
  2. Wear protective gloves, eye protection, boots and clothing that covers exposed skin.
  3. Mix a small quantity of the liquid with cat litter or other clay-based absorbent in a plastic tray or bucket until the absorbent is moist but not dripping.
  4. Set the mixture outdoors in a well-ventilated area away from potential ignition sources, children and pets.
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. If you have additional liquid, this procedure can be repeated, reusing the dried absorbent.
    • Never reuse the same absorbent for more than one type of ignitable liquid waste, however.
  7. Wrap the dried absorbent in double trash bags.
  8. Store the packaged waste safely away from children and pets.
  9. Place the packaged waste in your trash the day it is picked up or taken to the landfill.
  10. The empty cans or containers the product came in can also be placed in the trash.
    • Leave the lids off so your trash hauler knows the containers are empty.

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Motor oil and filters

Used oil is prohibited from disposal in a landfill. Motor oil should never be mixed with solvents or antifreeze.

Recycling

  • Service stations offering oil changing services, specialty oil changing service facilities and auto parts retailers may accept up to 5 gallons of uncontaminated used motor oil for recycling as a service to their customers.
  • Some county maintenance yards and household hazardous waste collection programs will accept limited quantities of uncontaminated used oil from residents of their county.
    • Always call first before bringing oil to a potential recycling site.
    • Please don't abuse these resources by abandoning used oil or other wastes at these facilities after hours or you may be charged with illegal disposal.

Used oil filters procedures

  1. Hot drain the used oil filter after removing it from your vehicle.
    • Puncture the filter dome end or anti-flowback valve, crush or dismantle the filter.
    • Place over a drain pan or bucket and drain for 24 hours.
    • Oil removed from the filter should be saved and recycled with the rest of your used oil.
  2. Wrap the well-drained oil filter in a plastic trash bag.
  3. Place the packaged waste in your trash.

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Pesticides

The best way to dispose of pesticides, including restricted pesticides, is to follow the application directions on the packaging.
  • If you can't use the product up, you may have a neighbor or relative who can.

Wrap dry pesticides in double trash bags.
  1. Wrap small containers (less than 1 gallon) of liquid pesticides in several layers of newspaper and wrap in a strong plastic bag or double trash bags.
    • It's generally more hazardous to try to stabilize liquid pesticides, especially for chemically sensitive individuals.
  2. ​Store the securely wrapped pesticides away from children and pets.
  3. Place the packaged waste in your trash on the day it',s picked up or taken to the landfill.

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Contaminated rags

Rags contaminated with solvents or some wood preservatives and stains should be handled very carefully because they may spontaneously burn if the rags aren't stored properly.

Not all solvents and wood preservatives pose this danger, but it's better to be over-cautious.

  1. Conduct all activities outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Wear protective clothing such as chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection and long sleeves.
  3. Hang contaminated rags outside or spread them out to dry on a nonflammable surface outside away from your house and other outbuildings. The area must be away from potential ignition sources, children and pets.
  4. When completely dry, the rags can be placed in a trash bag.
  5. Store the trash bag outside away from children and pets.
  6. Place the trash bag in your trash on the day it's picked up or taken to the landfill.

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Pool and spa chemicals

  1. Work outdoors or provide adequate ventilation by opening windows and doors and/or turning on a room fan.
  2. Make sure there are no potential ignition sources like pilot lights or sparks of any kind.
  3. Wear protective clothing, such as chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection and long sleeves
  4. Be careful not to breathe any fumes.

Procedure

  1. Dilute the chemical per instructions.
    • Always add the acid to the water and not the water to the acid.
    • Failure to dilute the concentrate may seriously damage pipes or other parts of your plumbing.
  2. Pour the diluted solution slowly down the drain, flushing with large amounts of water and taking care not to splash.
  3. Continue disposing in small batches of diluted solution until completely gone.
    • Don\'t mix products, and wait several hours between disposing of different types of products.
    • The best time to do this is during the working day when the sewage system is in full use so this material passes through the municipal sewage system faster.

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Tires

Waste tires are prohibited from disposal in a landfill

  • Some household hazardous waste collection events and programs collect waste tires but may charge a per-tire fee.
  • Some tire retailers, wholesalers, tire collection facilities and tire recycling facilities may accept your waste tires but may charge a per-tire fee.

Procedure

  • Turn in your used tires at the time you purchase new tires.
    • Colorado law requires that tire retailers collect $.55 for each new tire purchased.
    • The retailer may collect more than the state-required fee but can\'t claim state law requires more than $.55 per new tire.

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Fertilizers

The best way to dispose of common fertilizers is to follow the application directions on the packaging

If you can't use the product up, you may have a neighbor or relative who can.

  1. Wrap dry fertilizers in double trash bags.
  2. Wrap small containers (less than 1 gallon) of liquid fertilizer in several layers of newspaper and place in a strong plastic bag or double trash bags.
    • Liquid fertilizers and pesticides are the only liquid wastes that are allowed to be placed in the trash, because it's generally more hazardous to try to stabilize these wastes, especially for chemically sensitive people.
  3. ​​Store packaged waste safely away from children and pets.
  4. Place the packaged waste in your trash on the day it's picked up or taken to the landfill.

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Propane cylinders and canisters

Never put a propane cylinder or canister in the trash.

The preferred (and often only) method for the management of old propane cylinders and canisters is to recycle them.

  • Propane cylinders and canisters must be completely empty before recycling.
    • If it isn't empty, connect the cylinder or canister to a propane-burning device such as your camp stove or grill to burn off the residual propane.
    • Avoid cutting the cylinder with a torch or cutting wheel. The cylinder may still contain propane and is a potential fire and explosion hazard.
  • Some household hazardous waste collection programs will accept a limited variety of propane cylinders and canisters for recycling.
  • Some local propane distributors and larger propane retailers may accept old propane cylinders for recycling as a service to their customers.
    • Contact propane distributors and larger retailers in your area to see whether they offer this service.
  • Some propane exchange companies will take your old cylinder and charge a one-time upgrade fee in exchange for new equipment.
  • Some local scrap metal dealers accept propane cylinders and camp stove canisters for their scrap metal value.
    • Always call ahead to confirm that the dealer will accept propane cylinders and/or canisters for metals recovery.

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Wood preservatives

Treated wood should never be burned in a fireplace or campfire because of the chemicals it contains.

  1. Work outdoors or provide adequate ventilation by opening windows and doors and/or turning on a room fan.Stay away from potential ignition sources like pilot lights or sparks of any kind.
  2. Wear protective clothing, such as chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection and long sleeves.
  3. Take care not to breathe any fumes.
  4. For small quantities, apply the unwanted wood preservative to scrap wood or cardboard outside in a well-ventilated area away from potential ignition sources, children and pets.
    • Allow it to dry, then put the material in the trash.
  5. For larger quantities, mix the wood preservative with cat litter or other clay-based absorbent in a plastic tray or bucket until the absorbent is moist but not dripping.
    • Set the mixture outside in a well-ventilated area away from potential ignition sources, children and pets.
    • Allow to dry.
    • If you have additional liquid, this procedure can be repeated using the dried absorbent.
    • Wrap the dried absorbent in a trash bag and put it in the trash.
  6. Empty product cans can also be placed in the trash.
    • Leave the cans open so your trash hauler can tell they're empty and/or dried.

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