Disposal of hazardous waste and electrical items

Waste is hazardous when it has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment. The term 'hazardous' does not always mean that such waste is immediately harmful, though some can be.

Types of waste that may be hazardous

Domestic wastes that may be hazardous include:

  • asbestos
  • pesticides
  • fluorescent tubes
  • oils
  • some paints
  • some household and car batteries
  • batteries and discarded electrical equipment such as TVs and computer monitors, fridges and freezers

Disposing of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste should not normally be disposed of in the mixed municipal waste collection, such as household and garden waste. In some cases, your local council may be able to collect the waste from you. There may be a charge for this. Alternatively, you may be able to take it to a household recycling or civic amenity site free of charge. Your local council will be able to advise you on where to take all types of hazardous waste in your area.

Oil

You must make sure you store and dispose of oil safely and legally. You are also legally responsible for making sure that your oil doesn’t cause pollution.

If your waste oil is a lubricating oil, for example from a vehicle, put it into a container that isn’t damaged and has a secure lid. Dispose of it at your nearest waste oil bank. Never pour oil down a drain or onto the ground.

If you have waste fuel to dispose of, you need to be aware of the risk of fire or explosion. Don’t try to get rid of waste fuels yourself. Contact your local council for disposal advice.

Asbestos

Asbestos can become dangerous if it's broken. For advice on how to deal with asbestos, you should contact the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) Asbestos Advisory Service

You can also contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' hazardous waste unit.

More information on asbestos can be found at the following nidirect page:

Paint

Leftover paint can be disposed of safely through your local council or donated to a national network of paint reuse organisations.

Batteries, mobile phones and printer cartridges

For advice on disposing of and recycling batteries, mobile phones and printer cartridges, visit the following nidirect page:

Illegal dumping of hazardous waste

If you spot hazardous waste being dumped illegally, you should contact your local council or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Find out how to do this in 'Report polluted land and water'.

Disposing of electrical items

Electrical equipment can contain chemicals such as lead and mercury, which, if not disposed of carefully, can get into the environment and harm people and animals. The ‘crossed out wheelie bin’ symbol found on many electrical items means that they should not be put with normal household rubbish.

When buying a new electrical item, retailers are obliged to either take back the old item you are replacing or tell you where you can take it for recycling.

Local councils may collect unwanted bulky white goods from your home but they may charge for the service.

You can also take unusable items to a recycling centre.

Energy saving light bulbs

Energy saving light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and are classed as hazardous waste. You should not throw them into your normal rubbish or household recycling bin.

In most parts of Northern Ireland, they can be recycled at your local council’s household waste recycling centre.

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