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Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste

What is Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste?

Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste includes produces with any the following warnings on the label:

DANGER, FLAMMABLE, POISON, TOXIC, CORROSIVE

or
DANGER, FLAMMABLE, POISON, TOXIC, CORROSIVE icons

These types of materials, though useful during their life, can cause serious environmental damage if not disposed of properly. The Region of Durham is devoted to diverting as much of this hazardous or special waste from landfills and waterways as possible. By disposing of these materials properly and not simply putting them in the regular garbage or pouring them down drains and sewers, we are helping to protect our environment.

What types of products are accepted at Durham Region waste transfer stations?

Acceptable items

Residential products currently being accepted include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerosol Containers regardless of product content
  • Antifreeze and its related container
  • Batteries - single-use and rechargeable
  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
  • Fertilizers and their containers
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Flammable material such as camping fuel, kerosene, gasoline, cigarette lighters, driveway sealer, etc.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes  
  • Mercury switches
  • Oil Containers of 30 litres or less for a wide range of oil products
  • Oil Filters and air filters for items such as household furnace fuel filter, storage tank diesel fuel filters, transmission or internal combustion engines, etc.
  • Paints, Coatings, Paint Thinners, Varnish, Stains, Shellac etc.
  • Fungicides, Herbicides, Insecticides and their containers
  • Pharmaceuticals prescription and non-prescription
  • Photography Chemicals
  • Pool and Spa Chemicals
  • Propane Tanks and other Pressurized Containers
  • Reactive material such as metal powders that may explode with contact to air and or water
  • Solvents (such as paint thinner, turpentine, paint stripper or nail polish remover)
  • Syringes and needles used in the administration of health care (human and veterinary)
  • Thermostats or any switches containing mercury
  • Used Oil Filters

Unacceptable items

  • Ammunition and explosives
  • Asbestos waste
  • Fireworks
  • Flares
  • Pathological material
  • PCB waste
  • Radioactive waste

How can unwanted paint be recycled and reused?

The Paint Reuse Centre, which operates out of the Region's Waste Disposal Site in Oshawa only, offers residents good re-useable paints and stains for free.
For residents wishing to dispose of unwanted but useable paints or stains, this special program encourages other residents to reuse these materials, increasing their useful life and limiting their impact on the environment.

Where can I dispose of expired medications?

You can now safely dispose of unused and expired prescription and non-prescription medications at your local pharmacy counter as well as at the Region of Durham Waste Management Facilities.

The Health Products Stewardship Association administers the Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP), allowing unused medication to be safely disposed of at participating local pharmacies.

More than 90% of Ontario pharmacies voluntarily participate in this collection network. Visit www.healthsteward.ca and enter your postal code to find the six closest participating pharmacies.

How can I dispose of automotive waste properly?

Used oil filters, used oil containers of 30 litres or less, left over automotive antifreeze and containers, automotive batteries, brake, transmission, windshield washer fluid and other automotive fluids are considered Hazardous waste and can be disposed of at any of the Region's Waste Management Facilities.

Where can I take Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste for disposal?

Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste can be taken to any of Durham Region's Waste Management Facilities. For maps, phone numbers, and hours of operation, see the Waste Management Facilities page or visit www.makethdrop.ca to search by postal code for the take back facility nearest you.

*Only 100% Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste Loads are Exempt from Disposal Fees*
*There is a 50 litre load restriction per day*


What is the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program?

The Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program is an important waste diversion program managed by Stewardship Ontario. The MHSW program is a “stewardship” program that aims to divert Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste and other materials that require special handling away from landfills sites, incinerators, and our waterways.

Under this program, companies that manufacture and market the MHSW products are taking stewardship responsibility and sharing the cost of recovering left-over product or waste for reuse, recycling, or proper disposal.

For more information on the MHSW program please visit:

What are some safe alternatives to Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste?

Choosing safe alternatives to hazardous waste has a positive effect on our environment and your family. Here are some suggestions for possible alternatives:

Tub and Sink Cleaner: Baking soda, liquid soap
Sprinkle baking soda on the porcelain fixtures and rub with a wet rag. Add a little of the liquid soap to the rag for more cleaning power. Rinse well.

Window and Mirror Cleaner: White vinegar, water
Place a quarter of a cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle and fill with water. Spray on the surface you wish to clean and rub with a lint-free rag. For outdoor windows use a sponge and wash with warm water and a few drops of liquid Murphy’s or Castile soap. Rinse well and squeegee dry.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Baking Soda, liquid soap
Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl as you would any scouring powder. Add a couple drops of soap also. Scrub with a toilet bowl brush and finish outside surfaces with a rag sprinkled with baking soda.

All Purpose Cleaner for spots on woodwork, tile and linoleum: Murphy’s liquid soap
Add a few drops of liquid soap to a wet washcloth and rub surface briskly.

Oven Cleaner: baking soda, water
Mix one cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Apply to oven surfaces and let stand. Use a scouring pad for scrubbing most surfaces. A spatula or bread knife is effective to get under large food deposits. This recipe will require more scrubbing and effort, but is not toxic. Do not use this cleaner recipe on self cleaning ovens.

Drain Cleaner: Baking soda, white vinegar, boiling water
This recipe will free minor clogs and help prevent future clogs. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a ½ cup of vinegar. Let fizz for a few minutes. Then pour down a kettle full of boiling water. Repeat if needed. If the clog is still stubborn, use a plunger. If very stubborn, use a mechanical snake.