Hazardous Waste

The next Orcas Household Hazardous Waste Clean-up will be in June 2023. Dates TBD. Sign up for our newsletter for alerts!

Round-ups are County/ORS funded events for HOUSEHOLDS only. If you are a business you must register in advance.

Household hazardous waste is a small percentage of every islander’s total waste, yet its proper disposal makes the greatest immediate impact on our air, water, and soil quality. When you take a little extra time to identify and separate hazardous items, or use alternatives, you make big strides toward our goal of a zero waste community.

What is hazardous waste?

It can be difficult to determine. Products are hazardous in different ways based on their specific danger. A product, like pesticide, is “toxic” because it causes illness. “Flammable” means the product burns easily, like paint thinner. Waste that is “corrosive,” like oven cleaner, eats through other materials. A hazardous item like fireworks might also be “reactive,” because it causes a dangerous reaction when exposed to heat, air, or water.

When in doubt, look for labels that emphasize these words: combustible, warning, caution, danger, harmful is swallowed, and keep out of reach of children and pets.

What to do with it?

We only accept hazardous materials from businesses during our annual summer pick-up event. Similarly, we only accept gasoline & diesel at the summer event. Also, we NEVER accept latex paint during round-ups; but now have a recycling program for latex, you can read about it here.

Break the Habit

Did you know you can remove rust with sour milk? Or adding one cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda to the final rinse of your laundry is a fabric softener? Stop buying household products containing hazardous materials. Commit to finding alternatives instead. If it is too intimidating to imagine revamping your entire house in one audit, try one room per month until your entire house is hazmat-free within the year. It is the best thing you can do for the environment on Orcas Island.

Do you have your own non-toxic secret recipe? Share it on our Facebook page.

Every item above that has a link associated with it is recyclable at The Exchange. Some items, like gasoline and diesel fuel can only be dropped off at our summer event. Others link to ideas for natural alternatives. Everything else can be dropped off at the Hazardous Waste Pick up days, which are roughly every quarter. If you still can’t figure out what to do, contact us.

What do we NOT accept?

Do you have any of these?

Do quick audit of your home. Separate them from your garbage and comingled recycling cans.

  • Cooking oil (recycle it)
  • Batteries (recycle it)
  • Bleach
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Disinfectants
  • Drain openers (alternatives)
  • Floor wax
  • Oven cleaner (alternatives)
  • Polishes
  • Toilet and tub cleaners
  • Water softeners
  • Window cleaners
  • Fluorescent bulbs (recycle it)
  • Thermometers
  • Electronics (recycle it)
  • Hypodermic needles (bring these in hard plastic containers with lids)
  • Auto and boat repair products
  • Antifreeze (recycle it)
  • Degreaser
  • Motor Oil (recycle it)
  • Propane tanks
  • Rust remover
  • Glues
  • Oil-based paint
  • Paint thinner
  • Wood preservatives
  • Batteries (recycle it)
  • Latex Paint (recycle it)
  • Fertilizers (alternatives)
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Slug and snail bait (alternatives)
  • Weed and moss killer