Many common household and car products can be dangerous if not properly stored, handled, used or discarded. Solvents, automotive materials, flammables and electronics – collectively known as items for our SAFE Disposal Events – should be treated with extra care.
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Handling Harmful Products
Stay safe by following the below tips when discarding, purchasing, and using potentially harmful products, and learn more here.
Learn which items you can’t discard in the trash. Although you can legally throw away certain other harmful products, such as fluorescent bulbs, paints, pesticides, and cleaning products, there may be better options for disposal.
Different rules apply to businesses, which generate larger quantities of harmful materials.
Read product instructions for disposal guidelines.
All liquids must be dried out. Use an absorbent material, such as kitty litter or newspaper, to soak up fluids before placing them with garbage.
For the safety of DSNY workers, double-bag harmful products before discarding these products in your regular garbage.
Recycle empty glass, plastic, and metal containers with regular recycling unless they're marked "DANGER — CORROSIVE".
Donate working electronics and usable paint.
Residents may also contact a private hazardous waste vendor equipped to deal with harmful household products. This is especially encouraged for highly corrosive or flammable liquids when SAFE Disposal Events are not a viable option.
Look for hazard levels on product labels. Look for the signal words DANGER and POISON, which indicate high-level hazards, while WARNING and CAUTION represent lower hazard levels.
Don’t buy more than you need. It’s better to purchase smaller containers as needed, rather than one large container, to avoid having to store and dispose of excess material.
Follow product instructions. Use products only as directed and only when necessary.
Never mix products or chemicals. This is especially true for ammonia and bleach, which can cause respiratory problems when combined. Store potentially harmful products out of the reach of children and pets, and use child-proof cabinet locks or containers.
Post emergency phone numbers (fire, medical assistance, poison control center) by your phone and teach children how to use them.
If you think a family member or pet has been exposed to a harmful product, call the 24/7 NYC Poison Control Center Hotline at (212) POISONS (764-7667) or toll-free at (800) 222-1222.