Common and Hazardous Household Waste Disposal

Many household products contain hazardous substances.

These products are harmful to our environment and aquatic life when disposed in drains, toilets and storm drains.

Toxic household waste chemicals often find their way into local creeks, including the South Platte River through spills, run-off and over-application. They can also enter the sewer system through disposal. Long term exposure these chemicals can cause harm to children and wildlife’s nervous systems.  

South Platte River
South Platte River

Examples of common and hazardous waste are: 

Used spray cans

Paints & solvents 

Toxic cleaner


Gas can


Man spraying pesticide


Bottles of antifreeze


Used motor oil

Used motor oil

Oil filter

Oil filters 

Used batteries

Household & automotive batteries

Caution icon

If you must dispose of products, please contact your city, municipality or county for disposal options. Discharges to storm drains are not treated and are a major source of pollution in the South Platte River. 

Home and Automotive Maintenance 

Here are ways YOU can help to minimize the impact of caring for your home and vehicles! 

  • Look for alternatives to toxic products.  
  • Read the label; know how to use and store paints, cleaners and solvents.
  • Recycle or reuse when possible.  
  • Use Household Hazardous Waste drop off sites.  
  • Rinse latex paint brushes in the sink. 
  • Be sure your cleaning company disposes wastewater to a sink, toilet or sanitary sewer cleanout – NOT the storm drain. 
  • When working on concrete, cement or mortar, keep materials from blowing or flowing to a driveway, street, gutter or storm drain. 
  • Wash your vehicle at a carwash. They recycle their water and send it through the sewer to the wastewater treatment plant. 
  • Change auto fluids properly. The oil from one oil change can pollute up to a million gallons of water! 
  • Keep your vehicle tuned and leak free so fluids aren’t washed from roadways into storm drains. 
  • Ask about low-copper brake pads. Copper is highly toxic to aquatic life. 
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can be a good source for construction activities and planning as well as Water Quality Control permitting. 

Lawn and Garden Care

Minimize the impact from caring for your lawn, garden, and pets by following these guidelines.   

  • Use less toxic pest control products. 
  • Use a rake or broom – not a hose or blower – to clean up clippings. 
  • Start a compost pile or use curbside yard waste recycling programs. 
  • Divert rain spouts onto grass or landscape. 
  • Pick up pet wastes and put them in the garbage. 
  • Contact Colorado Cooperative Extension Master Gardener for less toxic alternatives. 

Pharmaceutical Disposal

Flushing unused drugs down the toilet introduces them to our environment; currently, there are limited options to removing these drugs during the wastewater treatment process. Don’t flush, try these options instead: 

  • Take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back programs. Some pharmacies will take back drugs they sold, and some will take any drugs back. Contact your local pharmacy or visit the Colorado Household Medication Take-Back Program on the web for more information. 
  • Alternatively, you can mix unused drugs with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or kitty litter and put that mixture in a non-leaking container (empty can or sealable bag). Then dispose the container(s) in the trash.
South Platte River at 120th Avenue