DDPHE Blog: How to Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Published on March 29, 2024

When you think about hazardous waste, it might conjure up images of a hundred corroding barrels of chemical waste leaching into backyards, basements, pools and the local school in the community of Love Canal in 1978. This environmental disaster became the nation’s first Superfund site. Today, there are regulations in place to prevent improper disposal of chemicals that are toxic, corrosive, flammable and reactive. At your home, these wastes are considered household hazardous waste. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) reminds residents that household hazardous waste must be disposed of properly to protect the environment and the health of our residents. The information below will guide you in the proper disposal of chemical waste generated at home including cleaners, paints, automotive fluids, pesticides, and electronics to name a few.

Household hazardous waste

Denver residents are eligible for curbside Household Hazardous Waste Collection. To participate in the collection program, you need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • The household has at least 3 different types of materials listed under the list of acceptable items. Batteries no longer count as one of the 3 minimum types but may still be included.
  • The household has at least 25 pounds of one material listed under the list of acceptable items.

Appointments will not be scheduled for paint only collection. A list of acceptable and unacceptable items can be found online. To make a make a collection appointment, visit the WM At Your Door website or call 800-449-7587. 

Electronic waste

Denver Recycles offers year-round discounted electronics recycling disposal for Denver residents with an "E-cycle Coupon" for televisions, monitors, and other electronic items. There is a limit of one coupon per household, per calendar year. Bring your electronics and e-cycle coupon to Blue Star Recyclers 953 Decatur Street, Denver from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday. Denver residents only can request an e-cycle coupon online. Disposal of laptops, tablets, CPUs, and desktop units are free through this program, but some items have additional fees:

  • Televisions and monitors: 1st and 2nd unit are $10 each and $0.55 for additional units with $0.60/lb. (There is an additional $10 fee for televisions or monitors brought in with broken glass or missing components).
  • Small appliances, printers, scanners, and other electronics are $5 up to 10 units (for example 1 toaster + printer = $5; 12 printers = $10)

Paint disposal/PaintCare

Over 200 retail stores in Colorado participate in the free paint recycling program known as PaintCare. Although many household hazardous waste programs accept paint, there are year-round opportunities to recycle your paint for free. If you need to dispose of water based, oil based, enamel, acrylic, deck coating, primers, sealers, undercoats, stains, shellacs, varnish, undercoating, lacquers, field and lawn paint, or waterproofing sealers, visit a PaintCare program near you.

For a complete listing of what is accepted at a PaintCare store, visit their website. To find a PaintCare location near you when you’re ready to toss your unused paint.

If you need to get rid of a waste immediately

If you need to dispose of household hazardous waste including electronic waste, the Rooney Road Recycling Center accepts waste from all communities (fees apply). If you have hard to dispose of items, contact 311 for additional guidance. All recycling programs in Denver managed through the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

DDPHE Environmental Quality (EQ) team

The DDPHE EQ team empowers Denver’s communities to live better, longer by creating and sustaining a healthy environment through science, service, and policy. Learn more about the DDPHE EQ team and the work they do on their website.