Hazardous waste - the things you just can't bin

We use hazardous chemicals and materials in our homes every day – think batteries, paint, aerosol cans and gas cylinders – usually without thinking twice and without obvious risk to our health.

But when these items (known as household hazardous waste or HHW) reach the end of their useful lives, we need to take special care to dispose of them. They’re often flammable, toxic, explosive or corrosive and can’t be disposed of in household bins.

man in chemical suit with hand up to say stop

So how do you dispose of…

Here’s a list of 5 common HHW you may need to dispose of and how you can do it.

Batteries

The only time we tend to think about batteries is when they go flat and we need to replace (or recharge) them. Whether they are from a watch, toy, remote control, mobile phone, torch or car – batteries need to be taken to the right place for recycling.

Batteries are the most common form of HHW disposed by Australian households. A huge 97% of disposed batteries end up in rubbish bins and are sent to landfill – but they shouldn’t be... 

Bag of used household batteries

Batteries should never be placed in your general waste bin.

Old household batteries – AAA, AA (single use and rechargeable), C and D size, button batteries (like those used in watches), 9V and 6V (like those used in lanterns/torches) can be dropped off at any one of over 150 battery recycling bins around Perth, including a Planet Ark battery recycling bin or into free dedicated battery recycling bins within IKEA, Battery World and Aldi supermarkets. Some local governments and schools also have collection points.

Nickel–based batteries (including most rechargeable batteries) can be taken to a local HHW facility.

Lithium and lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used for energy storage systems, can be dropped off at Battery World.

Mobile phone batteries can be recycled through the MobileMuster program.

Computer batteries are accepted in the Battery World,  MRI e-cycle solutions  and  SUEZ programs.

Motor vehicle batteries, which are lead acid, can be recycled through a national network of Battery Recycling Centres (free service) and at many garages.

Find out where you can recycle the various types of batteries.

Paint

There’s no doubt a bit of paint left in the tin can be handy for touch-ups – and empty tins and spray cans can be used for some crafty projects around the home! – but eventually you’ll probably want to get rid of those left-over tins of paint.

There are a few options to get rid of old paint.

First of all, consider if the paint could be used – to brighten up a tired space, refresh outdoor furniture, or let the kids use water-based paints for an arts and crafts session…

3 open cans of paint

Paint (and the containers it comes in) can be recycled through specialist recycling programs

But if you can’t use up the last bit of paint in the tin, all paint types can be dropped at your local HHW facility (see the directory below). Paint stripper, thinner and empty tins can also be recycled here.

Paintback also has 18 WA drop off points and will accept up to 100 litres of paint stored in up to 20-litre containers per person, per visit.

Aerosols

Whether it’s a can of deodorant, whipped cream, paint or insect repellent, chances are the aerosol cans around your home have a recycle symbol printed on them. Yes, aerosol cans are made of recyclable materials like aluminium and steel. But no, they can’t go in your recycling bin. Why? Because even if they are ‘empty’ they generally contain residual flammable liquids, which can cause fires and explosions at the recycling facility.

Aerosol can spraying

Aerosols – due to their flammable content - cannot be recycled in your yellow top bin

Instead, take them (empty or otherwise) to your local HHW facility (which accepts all aerosol cans including CFC-based flammable paint and flammable pesticide). It’s a free service.

Gas cylinders

Aussies are a nation of ‘foodies’ and this often means we buy gas bottles so we can fire up the barbie or gas cylinders so we can enjoy a meal in the great outdoors.

Most gas bottles and cylinders can be re-filled, so take them back to the supplier or to one of the hundreds of Kwik Gas cylinder exchange sites or SWAP‘n’GO participants for a re-charge.

Many portable gas suppliers will also dispose of the bottles/cylinders. You can also take the bottles, along with one-time use cylinders (like helium), to a local government-run HHW facility too.

Gas cylinders of different sizes all lined up

Non-refillable gas cylinders need to be returned to the supplier or dropped at a Household Hazardous Waste facility

LPG, propane and butane gas cylinders need to be taken to Tamala Park Recycling Centre.

Automotive LPG cylinders and large household cylinders should be returned to the supplier, as they are not accepted at most HHW facilities.

E-waste

Can you imagine life without your mobile, laptop, TV box, flat screen TV, tablet, gaming console or camera? We love our digital ‘toys’ and upgrading them is a bit of national pastime. But e-waste (the devices themselves and all the paraphernalia that they come with like cables and chargers) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams.

One of the best ways to deal with your unwanted electronics is to give them to some who does want them (make sure to delete any personal info before you give the item away).

If your hand-me-downs can’t find a new home among family, friends or strangers, see if your local council offers e-waste collection (either on-demand, on special drop-off days at recycling centres or via bulk verge collections), take them to a dedicated recycling drop-point like MobileMuster or to a National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme participant.

Domestic quantities of e-waste can be dropped-off for free, 7 days a week at Balcatta Recycling Centre and Tamala Park Recycling Centre.

Total Green Recycling and Perth E-Waste also offer an e-waste recycling service (fees apply), together with a data destruction service.

Pile of computer Rams

E-waste components are almost entirely recyclable – so long as they are kept out of landfill.

Household Hazardous Waste Facility Directory

There are 13 Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Permanent Facilities in WA. Open 7 days a week, you can safely dispose of your unwanted household chemicals and hazardous materials for FREE (and you don’t have to live in the local government area where the facility is located).

METROPOLITAN FACILITIES

HHW Facility Managed By Location Hours of Operation Contact
Armadale Landfill and Recycling Facility City of Armadale 145 Hopkinson Road Hilbert (entry from roundabout at Gloaming Way)

8:00am-4:45pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday, and closes by noon on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve)

9399 3935
Balcatta - Recycling Centre City of Stirling 238 Balcatta Road, Balcatta

7:30am-4:00pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9205 8555
Canning - Waste Transfer Station City of Canning Lot 502, Ranford Road, Canning Vale

8:00am-4:30pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

1300 422 664
Henderson Waste Recovery Park City of Cockburn 920 Rockingham Road, Henderson

8:00am-4:30pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9411 3444
West Metro Recycling Centre Western Metropolitan Regional Council Cnr Lemnos Street and Brockway Road, Shenton Park

7:30am-3:45pm Mon to Fri 10:00am-1:00pm Weekends 7:30am-1:00pm Public Holidays

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9384 2544
Red Hill Waste Management Facility Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council 1094 Toodyay Road, Red Hill

7:00am-4:00pm Mon to Fri 8:00am-4:00pm Sat 10am-4:00pm Sun

(Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9574 6235 or 9574 6447
Rockingham - Millar Road Landfill Facility City of Rockingham Millar Road West, Baldivis

7:30am-4:00pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)

9528 8550
Tamala Park Waste Disposal Facility Mindarie Regional Council 1700 Marmion Avenue, Mindarie

8:00am - 4:45pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9306 6303

NON-METROPOLITAN FACILITIES

HHW Facility Managed By Location Hours of Operation Contact
Albany - Hanrahan Road Waste Minimisation Facility City of Albany Hanrahan Road, Albany

8:30am-4:15pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)

9842 1916
Bunbury - Stanley Road Waste Management Facility Bunbury – Harvey Regional Council Stanley Road, Australind

8:00am-5:00pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9797 2404
Geraldton - Meru Waste Disposal Facility City of Greater Geraldton Landfill Lane, Off Goulds Road, Narngulu

7:30am-4:30pm 7 days

(Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday)

9923 3188
Mandurah Waste Management Centre City of Mandurah 80 Corsican Place, Parklands

7:00am-4:00pm Monday to Friday 8:00am-5:00pm Weekends and Public holidays

(Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)

9550 4700
Toodyay - Railway Road Transfer Station Shire of Toodyay Railway Road, Toodyay

8:00am-12:00pm 7 days

(Closed Good Friday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

9574 2661

This information is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change. Source: Wastenet

If you know of anywhere else to dispose of Hazardous Household Waste or would like to learn more on a particular topic please send us an email.


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