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Warning! It’s Illegal to Throw Away These 8 Items

You don't want to get in trouble for these!

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Certain waste can be hazardous

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers some of these products a hazard due to potential fires, explosions or toxic chemicals coming from these disposed products. In order to avoid hazardous situations, the EPA gives guidelines for safe management of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). The specific products are listed on a state-by-state basis, so for this article, we focused specifically on New York City guidelines.

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We all know that asbestos can be harmful if it’s not removed properly, especially for your lungs. Asbestos can be incredibly harmful for the environment (and overall air quality) if not properly disposed. Contact a hazardous/chemical waste company for safe disposal. If you want to get rid of your popcorn ceilings (which could have asbestos in it), your best option may be to cover it with drywall.

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car batterygangnavigator/Shutterstock

Automotive batteries

Did you know that when you buy a car battery, you pay a $5 surcharge? You can get money returned to you if you return the battery for proper disposal. Car batteries are wet-cell batteries that most commonly have lead-acid in their chemistry type. If it’s time to swap yours out, here’s how to change a car battery.

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gasFamily Handyman


Gasoline can cause all sorts of hazardous injuries and accidents. Gasoline can cause severe eye injury if it’s splashed in your eyes. It can cause irritation on your skin and gastric tract if ingested. As a material, it can easily spread fires. Be careful to only purchase the supply that you need, and do not add it to your curbside trash. Contact a hazardous/chemical waste company or find a disposal drop off event near you. Here are 10 more things you need to know about gasoline.

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oil Ensuper/Shutterstock

Motor oil & transmission fluid

Since motor oil needs to be routinely replaced (here’s how to change the car’s oil), you’ll have to deal with the “waste oil” every now and then. Do not dump it down the drain—it’s actually illegal to discard it this way! Water and oil mixed can actually cause contaminates, which can stop sunlight and oxygen from getting into the water (which affects aquatic life). Instead, return the motor oil or transmission fluid to a service station, who can take it off your hand and properly dispose of it.

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rotating tires tire rotation schedulel i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock


Tires can cause potential tire fires, which will produce acid smoke that is harmful for humans and the environment. If it’s time to change your tires, you can either retread or add new tread to your existing tires, or return the tires to a shop. Some businesses are actually required to take in the same amount of tires that they sell!

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Rechargeable, button, and UPS Batteries

Batteries include materials that can be toxic for the surrounding environment if not properly disposed. These materials include acid, nickel, lead, lithium, cadmium, alkaline, mercury and nickel metal hydride. Akaline batteries are no longer classified as hazardous, but other batteries such as rechargeable, button or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries could cause fires.

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phoneEugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock


Electronics are complex contraptions that could contain hundreds of materials within them—some hazardous to the environment. These could include lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium and more. Compared to some of these other materials, there are a ton of options to properly dispose of electronics. This includes donating, take-backs, mail-backs, e-cycles, e-waste events, drop offs, and even curbside appointments. Here’s what do with your old cell phone and your old computer.

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Thermostats & thermometers

Some thermometers and thermostats contain mercury, which is incredibly hazardous across the board. Some states even ban the sale of mercury thermometers and require digital thermometers with chargeable batteries instead. Mercury is a toxic chemical that can cause harm for the nervous, digestive and immune systems. It can even effect lungs, kidneys, and could be fatal. Switch to a digital thermostat, and find a proper place to recycle mercury thermostats at Some contractors are even required by law to recycle mercury thermostats, so make sure to ask them the proper way of disposing of these products if you’re working with someone.

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Buy safer products

Before even buying the listed products, look for hazard levels or product labels on the product. If it says “DANGER” or “POISON” that means high-level hazards, while “WARNING” and “CAUTION tend to mean lower levels of hazard. Avoid hazard altogether by finding products with green seals, epeats, MPI green performance, or US. EPA stickers.

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