Hazardous waste

Waste is hazardous when it contains substances or 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 toxic, though some can be. By improving the way in which we manage all wastes classified as hazardous, we reduce the risk they might pose now and in the future.

The most common types of hazardous waste produced by householders are shown below. Devon County Council provides facilities at all recycling centres to handle reasonable quantities of hazardous waste produced by householders.

  • Bonded asbestos products (eg sheets, pipes and tiles)

    Asbestos is not classified as household waste and as such Devon County Council is not obliged to accept any asbestos for disposal. However, a chargeable service is provided at recycling centres whereby small quantities of asbestos may be disposed of. See Asbestos for further information.

  • Spent engine oils and vehicle batteries

    Engine oil (up to 5 litres) and car batteries are acceptable at recycling centres.

  • LPG gas cylinders

    These may be taken to your nearest recycling centre for disposal. Alternatively, they may be returned to an agent/retailer of the LPG supplier.

  • Old paint

    Reasonable quantities of old paint can be accepted at recycling centres. Up to 5 litres of hazardous paint (e.g., oil-based, limewash) will also be accepted.

    If the tin contains sufficient paint of a standard which may be used by others, please bring this to the attention of the operator at the recycling centre.

    If the partially empty or old paint tin (whether oil based or emulsion) is of a standard which cannot be used, then please doubled-wrap each tin in plastic bags. This will help avoid spillage if it is crushed during the disposal process.

  • Hazardous/Toxic wastes, eg weed killers, solvents, bleaches, petrol, diesel

    Up to 5 litres of these wastes can be accepted from householders at recycling centres, where measures to handle and store such wastes are in place. All wastes in this category must be handed over to the site operator at the recycling centre in a suitable, secure plastic container, with the contents clearly marked or they will not be accepted.

    Please note that only household petrol/diesel can be accepted at the recycling centres (e.g. from lawnmowers/household appliances and not from vehicles/boats). Up to 5 litres of petrol/diesel can only be accepted and it must be brought to the recycling centre in a proprietary fuel container which will need to be left on site (decanting facilities are not available). You may wish to consider giving surplus fuel to a neighbour to use.

    Old medicines should be handed-in at your local pharmacy who may dispose of it on your behalf. Old medicines will not be accepted at recycling centres.